April 13-17, 2010
Denver, Colorado, USA

Sessions: Abstract

The iPhone effect?: Comparing visitors’ and museum professionals’ evolving expectations of mobile interpretation tools.   go to paper

Loic Tallon, Pocket-Proof, United Kingdom
Matthew Petrie, Fusion Research + Analytics/Pocket Proof, USA

The proliferation of iPhones, Smart-Phones and now “Super-Phones” continues to expand the tools available to museums for mobile interpretation and raise the expectations of their audiences. This paper provides a survey of recent trends in the museum industry to adapt to new audience expectations, and, more broadly, to assess the effect of mobile devices, the ubiquitous Internet and social networking on visitor expectations. Addressed from the industry perspective, it looks at the movement of the industry to multi-platform and media experiences as well as the challenges institutions face in developing and launching these new mobile features into the gallery experience. Are these efforts enough? Specifically, how closely aligned are museums’ objectives and their vision of mobile interpretation with the quickly evolving expectations and needs of their audience?

Presented in this paper are the results of two pieces of research. The first set is on cultural and art professionals and focuses on how their institutions have implemented mobile interpretations and how they plan to execute mobile guide strategies in the future. The second is a set of visitor surveys and guide evaluations completed at major US and European museums and historic sites over the past three years.

Session: Mobiles: A Panel [mobile]

Keywords: mobile interpretation, evaluation, future, visitor devices, expectations