A roundup of research into the use of handheld devices at museums and cultural venues across the world, with short case studies of some organisations’ experiences. The author also gives his top eight issues to pay attention to when creating and launching a handheld device operation, including apps, from guarding the quality of the visitor experience to defining objectives, managing expectations and building in sustainability of the product.
So what defines iPhone users (doesn’t have to be by age or socio-demographic)?
Target them by motivation. If you decide to target people who play games on their mobile, and (arguably older) people come to the site and don’t want to use the app because they don’t play games, that’s fine – they’ve understood what it is and that they don’t think it’s for them. Once you’ve defined who the audience is and what the experience will be, use focus groups to test it. This is common when building websites, and should become common with mobile applications. Then you can see how they feel about it.
Once you’ve defined the objectives, there has to be a design brief, to have something to measure against. The design brief shouldn’t make any assumptions about the mobile technology being an app for iPhone, or an iPad application or a mobile website. You just have to say, this is what we want to do, is mobile technology the way to do that. The decisions examined and made at this stage have a disproportionate effect on the success of the project. The design brief may have to evolve as time goes on, but it is essential to have that document.