Weeknotes: 17.2016 – evaluating the Explorer app @AMNH, journey mapping and other workshops, games and culture

On April 29th, 2016, posted in: weeknotes by

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Last week had a lot going on. Alyson and Laura were still in New York working with Bloomberg grantees and were fully immersed in that. Speaking of New York Museums, we can now announce that we are working with the American Museum of Natural History on an evaluation of their Explorer 2.0 mobile app.

Audience reach and impact on the visitor experience are central to the evaluation and part of this will include understanding how visitors are using the App’s location-aware tools to navigate the Museum. We know that location aware tech, whether ibeacons or something else, is something a lot of people (and a lot of our clients) are watching closely, so this should be a really interesting piece of research.

In the UK, we had a couple of workshops to run. The first was at the Science Museum, working up concepts for their Citizen Maths project we mentioned a little while ago. I love looking at real life mechanics from science or maths and thinking about how you could turn these into games, so this was right up my alley. A harder subject than usual to try to do this with though, very pure maths. I’ve learned a lot trying, I must say.

The second workshop was at Battle Abbey, a journey mapping session run by Lindsey, which forms a crucial part of thinking about service design at the site (which is what we’re working with them on), or indeed any similar visitor attraction. It was the first time I’d taken part in one of these and it was fascinating to watch as participants started to dive into the visitor experience and break it down, building a clear picture of the visitor route through the site. It was a great way to begin to develop empathy with the given audience type, and from that, an ability to begin to advocate for them.

Other bits and bobs, the deadline for submitting session proposals to MCN 2016 is Saturday April 30, so, tomorrow. Laura says: “it’s going to be a great conference – not least because you’ll be in New Orleans for Halloween”.

Our games workshop is gathering participants. If you haven’t booked already, you have until the 3rd May (next Tuesday) to use the early bird price. And we’re offering a further 15% off with the code FGW15. I’m really looking forward to sharing the games I have with everyone taking part (I think they”ll find these examples both very entertaining and also somewhat surprising), and seeing what happens when we start to break them apart and have a go at creating our own. I’ve run this a couple of times now as a whole workshop, and bits of it on other occasions too, and it’s always really interesting to see what people come up with.

If you aren’t sure if it’s for you, well, are games something that your audience has an interest in? Do you have great content? If so, games are definitely a potential output you should be looking at. Are you confident you know how they work, what a good game looks like, and how to commission or produce great games? If not, let us help.

Another games event I’m looking forward to being part of is the Continue conference at the National Video Games archive. As the website says: “It’s about exploring and charting the role and value of videogames in contemporary culture. It’s about developing & sharing strategies for driving forward their cultural development and value.” The founder, Iain Simon, has an article in the Guardian today about it, pointing out that “cultural policy doesn’t speaking videogame – yet” and that “the culture sector cannot stand idly by and observe videogames culture growing”. Hear hear.

Finally, two more Museums and the Web links, one from the Auckland Museum, who captured their experience on tumblr. And the other from Paige Dansinger, from person Museum Draw, with a photo journal of her experience.

Update: a bonus video from Paige/Museum Draw from her trip to the Broad!

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