Monday, 18 February 2013

Dear Museums: Touch Screens Are Not Enough Any More





So, I went to the Science Museum for the first time last week. While I was there I saw a few  really awesome exhibits including the Apollo 10 capsule which travelled around the moon and back with three men inside. 3d Imax cinemas are great too, but having to pay extra is bound to deter some visitors.


The thing that struck me most when wandering round several of the galleries is that many "interactive" exhibits are little more than touch screens.


There was a time, about five years ago, that touch screens were still something of a novelty. Back then having a touch interface made the content more immediate and the experience more futuristic. How quickly things change.

Today, I have no desire to walk from one terminal to another, queueing sometimes, to view information that I can access from almost anywhere on a phone, PC or tablet.

To ram this point home - the basement of the Science Museum is currently home to Google sponsored "Web Lab". While nicely put together, about half of the exhibits here are being used/controlled/enjoyed by "online visitors" and therefore can't be used by real people who are in the museum.


I expect the touch screens will soon be replaced with mobile tablets and AR apps, but really museum need to find ways to take advantage of their physicality and the shared experience if they are to stay engaging relevant.







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