National Gallery, London
In 2006 the National Gallery launched ArtStart, a digital interpretation kiosk providing information and planning tools designed to enable visitors to make the most of their time at the gallery. The digital team asked us find out if ArtStart was still meeting audience needs and, if not, how would it need to evolve in order to do so. They were keen to build on existing quantitative audience research in order to understand the use and impact of ArtStart within the gallery for specific audience segments.
We designed research that would capture visitors’ natural, in the moment responses that would allow us to experience what the visitor sees, feels, selects and responds to, with as little external direction as possible. We used techniques included filming visitors’ use and reaction to the ArtStart system and audio-recording visitors – both those who had and those who hadn’t used ArtStart – as they explored the gallery.
The research gave the National Gallery insight into:
- Which visitor segments were attracted to ArtStart and how it affected their enjoyment and understanding
- Ways the system could be adapted, developed and marketed to enhance its reach
- At what points in a visit do different audience segments need support and the nature of those needs in relation to the experience that ArtStart does now and could in future offer
- The impact ArtStart has on visitor understanding/experience in the galleries
- Which experiences excite visitors and how both static and mobile digital media might be used to provide more of these moments