Improving digital stories through visitor inputs

by Rick Lawrence, Digital Media Officer, Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery

In connection to the GIFT Action Research, we tested if and how visitors will engage with digital stories inspired by objects, collections and donors. We were surprised about their interest in donors – an interesting finding that we can use to improve our digital stories. 

What did you want to find out?

We wanted to find out if visitors will engage with digital stories inspired by objects, collections and donors.

What did you do?

We mocked up an interactive in PowerPoint based on our donor Miss Linter and her mollusc collection. Then asked visitors to give us feedback on what looked interesting and what interested them most. We also used Twitter polls to ask questions about what visitors want to know about donors and what puts them off digital interactives.

Was it successful?

Yes, we got useful feedback both from interviewing visitors and from the Twitter polls.

What did you learn?

That visitors really like to start with the donors and learn about them before moving onto the collection. Good, engaging content is what visitors desire. And working digital interactives that are simple to use and clear in what they do.

One of our Twitter polls. @ Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery.

What surprised you?

We started with the basics of what people want from interactives. We were surprised by Twitter responses that indicated most interest in the donor. With much more material about the collections we anticipated that being the focus. The in gallery interviews supported the donor as the entry point to finding out more and, after the Twitter polls, this was less surprising.

What methods or tools did you use?

We used a mocked up interactive in PowerPoint to let visitors choose what interested them. We used Twitter polls to capture data and also recorded any comments in replies to the poll tweets.

What other resources did you use?

Ideally we would have had an interactive set up in a gallery to observe visitor use but time and staffing prevented that happening.