Museums and the Web, Day 3

Posted by on April 15, 2012 in TechMuse Blog, Technology and Museums | 0 comments

We’re all saying goodbye, heading to the airport, and I’ve got half an hour to catch the shuttle. Another remarkable conference.  Thanks this year to Nancy Proctor and Rich Cherry who led what seems like a seamless transition from the founding leadership of Jennifer Trant and David Bearman, who seem especially healthy and well-rested this year.

In the spirit of the last couple days of bulleted point highlights, here are a few notes, not comprehensive — just a few moments that made an impression on me:

  • Drop-in Clinic for Building Better Mobile Projects.  I came late to this session, but an interesting point came up: there aren’t many science museums here at the conference.  And, science museums haven’t been as invested in mobile projects, probably because there already is so much interaction on the floor, and science museums don’t want to interfere with it.  A major point to consider: mobile devices may be more relevant to science museums outside exhibits, where they may influence visitor behavior at home.
  • Mobile Strategy session.  This was the big one for the day…
    Allegra Burnette/Mark Check (co-presented): QR codes are a stopgap (as we’ve all come to realize).  Many visitors are walking through exhibits with multiple devices (camera, iphone for sharing photos, rented mobile device).  Mobile app vs. HTML5 — promising but hopefully HTML5 will provide more access to device hardware in the future.  MEAP solutions to facilitate authoring multiple platforms. MOS working with ByteLight, a startup company using LED lighting to provide location information for wireless in exhibits — very promising results.
    Charlie Moad: Quoting Rob Stein: “Never create something you can’t re-use.” TourML and TAP as options for creating content for mobile tours. Works for kiosks and other platforms as well since it separates content from the presentation format.
  • Closing Plenary: Epic fail.  They turned off the wifi for this session and we are sworn not to tweet or blog about it in specific, so all I can say is that it encompassed millions on millions of dollars and years of effort on projects ending in “epic failure.”   Hosts Seb Chan and Jane Finnis provided a framework of categories, with psychological intervention by Bruce Wyman. Categories included: poor organizational fit, must-be-invented-here syndrome, feature creep, tech in search of a problem, no user research, pleasing donors and funders, no local context, no backup plan, and not knowing when to say goodbye.   I also noted a few other categories came up: focus on other projects, design for wrong audience, no marketing, institutional fear, and under-qualified providers.
  • (Also, I found a cool pine cone that I fiddled with in sessions all day)

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