It is part of the human condition that we think short term. Our lives are short. Our ability to commit to anything beyond ourselves is often even shorter. So it is not surprising I deal with many individuals, business and organisations unable to look at digital initiatives beyond the immediate fortnightly reporting cycle. But the joy of a measure-everything approach is that the aggregated past will often tell a story that forces us to reassess how we judge success and failure.
In web content there is a strong desire for all our content to win the a reddit race. Organisations are often too quick to judge the success of staff resource allocation to web content creation based on big spike style numbers often associated with content going viral. No doubt as Google moves to rank ‘up to date’ (read, new) information above older information, this trend towards ‘freshness’ seems to reinforce that view of success. Continue reading
Meanwhile back in the office…
As promised during my talk at Museums Australia 2012, the Visitor engagement and Mobile products at the Powerhouse Museum slides are now available. A big thanks to Museums Australia South Australia for allowing me to speak and share the stage with some very talent members of the GLAM sector.
Great User Experience (UX) is seamless and intuitive. It is designed to ensure that no ‘mental heavy lifting’ is required by the user in achieving higher order tasks, decisions and end goals. The mechanisms used to find and engage with content are arranged and labeled (IA) to ensure interaction unfolds with a sense of natural order and logic. There is a distinct lack of friction when achieving goals and being immersed in experience. So what’s with Museums?
Stop on The Rocks tour
With the recent launch of another Powerhouse Museum self guided mobile walking tour, Exploring old Sydney: The Rocks, it is a good time to share some lessons learnt, particularly in contrast to our previous George St tour.
The promise: Start with a strong idea regarding the type experience you want your users to have. It is going to be your promise to them. No matter what, you will be forced to make tough content choices as the product is developed. Know what (and what does not) matter.
IGF2012 exhibition desk layout
Recently I visited the lovely Australian city of Melbourne and being in Rome, took at look at the Australian Centre of the Moving Image (ACMI) amongst . A bit gutted I was too early for the upcoming Game Master exhibition… but I’d also heard good things about ACMI’s Screen Worlds and Best of the Independant Games Festival 2012 (IGF2012) exhibition. I was struck both exhibitions emphasised the importance of interaction in order to engage visitors. For me, the most robust learning is done with play based experimentation and interactive experiences. Continue reading
Photograph by BinaryApe (Pete Birkinshaw)
Atlanta’s The High Museum
recently took out the Museums and the Web 2012 Mobile award
for its ArtClix mobile application
. Developing partner Second Story states that;
As visitors navigate the galleries of the High, mobile device users will have an opportunity to engage with the artwork in surprising ways, using their phone to unlock details about the art… As a photograph is taken, the application automatically detects the artwork and provides details about the piece. The image detection is based on innovative image recognition technology and does not require visible codes.
The surprising way to engage with objects is achieved by combining the mobile app platform with image recognition technology. As a method of connecting an object to the visitors mobile experience, this is brilliant.
Digital experiences should be produced by those who have intimate knowledge of the content. Some would call these people subject matter experts. I call these people Content Owners. I’m an Online Producer… well that is what my business card says…. but I have come to realise that, in most cases, Content Owners are the ones who are best positioned to produce the actual content.
For the majority of the digital products I have a hand in, I’d never see myself as a Content Owner. Experiences are only as rich as the data that is put in. As I have stated on the Powerhouse Museums Open House blog,
[T]hose who own or know the content should be the ones who create and publish it. Always look for opportunities to have standard platforms that are familiar to those making the content.
A Content Owner will provide that content richness… but only if empowered to create and manage digital content themselves. A large part of a Online Producers role is ensuring the projects Content Owners have the tools and skills to product content.
I noticed a post on the Google Blog titled, A new frontier for Google Maps: mapping the indoors a few days ago. How did I miss this product? Surely this next step in mapping the world is a rather critical one. At least a step people in the GLAM sector would be talking about right? Seems not, no waves being made about this product yet (yep, pun intended).
Why? What is right and wrong with this product in the Museum context? Can it fill a gap? According to Google:
When you’re inside an airport, shopping mall or retail store, a common way to figure out where you are is to look for a freestanding map directory or ask an employee for help. Starting today, with the release of Google Maps 6.0 for Android, that directory is brought to the palm of your hands, helping you determine where you are, what floor you’re on, and where to go indoors.
At my Museum, way-finding has been an ongoing source of discussion and debate. Continue reading
At work I’ve been focussed on ramping up awareness and engagement with the wide range of mobile experiences we offer visitors. The Museum has a significant history of quality and boundary-pushing mobile apps and associated digital experiences, but there is still work to be done when it comes to connecting these experiences to the Museum visitor life cycle.
There is often a disconnection between the development of mobile experiences by a technical team and the experiences integration into the Museum experience. In general, as Museums grapple with becoming more digitally engaged, gaps have often developed between those parts of the business that deal with the different aspects of traditional (non digital) operations, internal processes and marketing. For example, how best does one introduce a mobile tour product to visitors? If no one knows about it, how can you hope to achieve engagement? Creating a website talking about it is not enough. This gap motivated me to start firstly with a little backfilling project. The motivation was simple, let us take some of these existing mobile experiences and give them a little more traffic. But why are we doing this again? Continue reading
Ok so this post may not light the world on fire but there is nothing wrong with looking at some web basics 1001. Basics that time and time again I’ve seen online producers forget. I reintroduce to you the humble 301 permanent redirect.
I was recently involved with a project to migrate a online magazine called Dhub from a old custom content management system (CMS) to a WordPress based solution. I’ve already posted about some lessons learnt from this project. However, in this post I’ll be critically evaluating the impact of 301 permanent redirects on the relaunch of Dhub. This analysis is based on analytical data collected between the 21st of November 2011 (when the new CMS and site launched) and the 21st of March 2012. Continue reading