How It Works: Visitors use iPads (at kiosks) to explore the exhibit in multiple ways. At one station, participants take a quiz to select a Vishnu avatar to “join” them in the exhibit. At other kiosks, they locate avatars in artworks to gain access to trivia. And a final kiosk enables visitors to choose a favorite piece. More here.
What I Liked: The iPads provide an accessible way for people unfamiliar with Vishnu to approach the material. The quiz is appropriately brisk. The location game is sometimes difficult but draws you into the pieces. The tasks are tightly focused and respectful of the art and visitors’ endurance. The overall experience shoots a jolt of energy into an exhibition that might otherwise sag for some people.
Room for Improvement: Promotion and pathing. Why isn’t the iPad experience promoted on the first Vishnu page you get to via the museum’s mobile site, for instance? In addition, I missed the opening quiz kiosk. (It was tucked away on the left at my entrance point and I walked to the right where the exhibit clearly began.) Simple physical signage could help solve the wayfinding issue. But I would also recommend enabling non-linear exploration where visitors can get a quick intro, choose their avatar, etc. in multiple locations. Forcing people to follow a strict path seems unnecessarily rigid and antithetical to forgiving navigation.
Additional Ideas: Bring versions of the quiz and location games to the Web to spur broader participation. At the final kiosk, provide a map to other related art at the museum that visitors might enjoy next. (No dead ends.) Enable e-mail functionality at all kiosks so that visitors can save a record of their participation wherever it happens. (All suggestions, of course, dependent on resources.)
Bottom Line: As usual, I salute the Brooklyn Museum’s creative energy and tolerance for experimentation. There are a number of things to like here. By using empathic analysis of actual visitor participation as a springboard for further innovation, I think the next version could be significantly refined.
*The 60-Second Critique offers an evaluation of a media experience and is designed to be read in a minute or less. Previously: Do You Know Your MoMA?
*Screengrab included in graphic above taken from brooklynmuseum.org
*Related Content: My 8-Item Interpretive Materials Checklist