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Museum Next

June 12, 2014 - Rachel

I’m off to Museum Next shortly, which runs from 18th-20th June in Newcastle.

Jim Richardson has asked me to chair, which I’m pretty excited about. Jim has created a blinding conference – there are some amazing speakers coming along and the schedule looks pretty good too, delving into some of the more interesting questions that our sector has to deal with.

I spoke at Museum Next in 2010, which must have been the second or third year the conference ran – I did a talk titled “Mobile: the next frontier“. This year of course, I’ll be listening rather than banging on myself, but I’m (as always) particularly intrigued about how the mobile landscape is changing in our sector.

"Activate the world" (or: what "mobile" really means)There are lots of reasons why this is clearly important: the most obvious of course is that mobile is a total gamechanger for absolutely everyone who is trying to deliver content via their “normal” website. Anyone who runs a Google Analytics report will have seen the astonishing growth of handheld device views – and this needs thinking about purely so people can actually get to read your stuff.

Secondly though – and for me this is particularly important for museums and visitor attractions – if you’re considering mobile then you also need to think about what “being mobile” means. The obvious things to consider are: small screen sizes, slower data connection, no hover events, etc. But: “being mobile” also means other things. For example: how does the intimate relationship people have with their devices change how people use them?

Or: if someone is actually mobile (as in, walking around), then what are they looking to do that is different to when they’re at their desktop? Or: how about if we know that someone is actually visiting? What could museums do to create gallery-based mobile experiences?

There’s loads of innovation in this space, and clearly some museums are getting on top of how to deal with spime-like gadgetry – so I’m hoping we’ll hear about some of what’s going on at the conference next week…


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