5 Lessons for Improving Your Museum’s In-Gallery Digital Interactives

By September 12, 2015Mobile Bootcamp

1. Target Skimmers, Swimmers, or Divers

Museum visitors tend to fall into one of these categories depending on the amount of time they have and their level of interest. It’s crucial to be clear about who you’re targeting (and who you’re not). It’s OK if Skimmers – those who want a cursory jaunt through the galleries – are never your target audience if what you’re aiming for is a rich experience for swimmers and divers – those who will engage selectively or in great detail, respectively.

2. To Stand or Sit

Requiring your visitors to stand or sit to use an in-gallery interactive makes a huge impact on their perceived investment in the experience. Standing may see a shorter dwell time while inviting the visitor to sit down will encourage those who are committed to truly engage. Adding video and audio to your experience tends to extend dwell time regardless.

3. Learning Curve Must Be Zero

Visitors should be able to orient themselves instantaneously. Navigation around the app should be simple, consistent and intuitive. Reflecting the norms visitors are familiar with on their personal devices – such as scrolling, swiping, and pinching – will go a long way, but also aim to keep menus limited and in a logical (and consistent) place.

4. Be Direct

While most visitors are comfortable interacting with touchscreen technology, some need a direct invitation to touch things in the gallery. If you want them to press a button to start the experience, tell them so with direct language like “Press to Begin” or “Tap to Start”. Animations, pulsating objects and colors make it even more clear where to focus their attention and touch.

5. Involve Your Docents 

It’s easy for docents and guides to seamlessly reference in-gallery digital resources as either a visual aid or as a supplement their narrative. Docents help extend the visitor experience by inviting visitors to linger after the tour to explore more in-depth on their own.