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The Multi-Platform Museum

A planning toolkit for integrating on-site and online visitor engagement

In the past year, audiences have developed new habits and expectations for accessing experiences remotely at home. Although many people wish to return to physical museum visits, the accessibility and convenience of engaging with culture from home will ensure multi-platform thinking continues to be central to museum planning.

Smartify and CCD Design have come together to produce a planning toolkit that re-looks at museum remobilisation strategies and includes a ‘multi-platform’ approach: the museum functioning both on-site and online. 

This free toolkit offers suggestions on how a multi-platform museum may function by taking a design-led approach: thinking through audience needs and behaviour as a starting point. It is the product of many conversations with a range of museum professionals and researchers, as well as drawing on the combined experience of Smartify and CCD Design in interaction and mobile design in the museum and heritage sector.

Fresh Insights from Experts

Throughout the toolkit, you’ll also enjoy expert interviews that offer insight from industry leaders that are successfully adapting to new visitor experiences, such as:

  • Bolanle Tajudeen, Founder of Black Blossoms School of Art and Culture, shares tips for museums considering paid online classes, such as including different voices, finding the right class sizes and price points, and ways to keep the conversation going.
  • Chris Condron, Head of Marketing new London arts venue 180 The Strand, discusses neighbourhood localism, interactive exhibition design, and ways to infuse the best of retail into the museum experience.
  • Lucinda Blaser, Senior Product Manager at The National Gallery talks about the learnings from reopening in 2020 and the future possibilities of mobile technology in the museum visitor experience.
  • Emily Yates, Head of Accessibility at CCD Design talks us through how accessibility and tapping into the Purple Pound (the spending power of disabled households) isn’t just an ethical choice but a good business model for the future of the sector.
  • Ian Barham, Head of Business Development at King & McGaw discusses the future of museum e-commerce and how to embed a consumer needs approach.

The New Museum Experience

This toolkit takes a design-led approach – thinking through audience needs and behaviour as a starting point. We look at four main areas where audiences expect to interact with the museum: 

  1. At-home online learning and entertainment
  2. Preparing for a visit 
  3. On-site at the museum
  4. Shopping for cultural products (online and on-site)

For each of these areas we ask a design question to provoke your thinking and offer some initial thoughts. Design thinking is helpful because it offers a framework not only to make changes but also to sense how well they are working and iterate on them.

Let’s take a closer look inside with this excerpt from Section 3: 

The Bigger Picture

“Organisations will have learned from this time of experimentation and could emerge as more agile, human-centred and collaborative organisations.”

While the pandemic has had a profound impact on the museums and heritage sector, visitor sentiment research indicates that anxiety is easing and the extensive safety measures put in place by museums have helped to lay the foundations for visitor confidence. In spite of the challenges faced, some organisations have learned from this time of experimentation and could emerge as more agile, human-centred and collaborative organisations – able to provide new opportunities for staff, new ways of working remotely and with a renewed focus on their mission. 

We should expect to see how the multi-platform museum experience can contribute to addressing the needs of visitors and staff in a variety of ways.

Unsure of how to bring digital solutions into your visitor experience?

Join the Smartify team for a collaborative workshop exploring digital content solutions for your museum. You’ll learn more about the Smartify platform, how to develop a content strategy and useful tips to get started.

We’ll focus on your core mission, learning goals, storytelling and audiences in order to co-create bespoke solutions.

Register now for this 4-hour workshop! (500 GBP)

About the Authors

Smartify is a social enterprise with a mission to make cultural institutions accessible for a global audience through innovative technology and engaging storytelling. The platform is a free guide to art and culture and functions across iOS, Android and web browser. It allows audiences to follow tours, scan and identify collection items, and access online learning, events and shop items.

CCD Design is a human behaviour-focused design consultancy with 40 years in practice. Using human factors and behavioural insights, we deliver better experiences and commercial benefits for our clients’ customers. We specialise in wayfinding that helps people to explore and discover their environment with a unique blend of scientific strategy and creative design.

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