The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) contracted RK&A to evaluate visitors’ experiences using Go Mobile, a mobile website designed to help visitors deepen their experience in the BMA’s galleries. The purpose of the evaluation was to provide the BMA with useful information about the efficacy of Go Mobile in enhancing visitors’ experiences with works of art in the African art galleries and to inform future development of Go Mobile. Specific attention was given to usability, opinions of the style and type of content, as well as whether and what aspects of Go Mobile deepened participants’ experiences with works of art.
How did we approach this study?
RK&A conducted observations and interviews to understand how visitors use Go Mobile, and explored their content preferences, usability challenges, and whether Go Mobile enhanced their experiences with the works of art. RK&A recruited volunteers for the evaluation through social media and BMA sources. Each participant spent up to 30 minutes in the BMA African art galleries using Go Mobile and up to 20 minutes talking with an RK&A evaluator about their experiences. An evaluator informed participants that they would be observed as they used Go Mobile in the galleries.
What did we learn?
Visitors used Go Mobile in various ways that suited their preferences; for example, some used it when they were cued with a Go Mobile logo near a work of art, while others used it to guide their gallery visit from the start. Interviews revealed some usability challenges, and some visitors had internet connectivity problems that interfered with using Go Mobile. Overall, visitors liked the variety of content options available, with audio clips being the most popular feature because it allows dive deeps into the artworks’ cultural significance and an opportunity to hear a variety of perspectives, all without having to stare at their device screens. Nearly all participants said that Go Mobile deepened their experiences with the artworks and prompted them to spend more time in the galleries than they normally would.
What are the implications of the findings?
The findings suggest that participants had a positive experience using Go Mobile, particularly with the audio clips, video, and photographs. While Go Mobile yielded positive experiences for participants, remedial evaluation provided insight to the ways that the BMA can further improve Go Mobile and deepen visitors’ experiences with works of art. For instance, visitors could use more guidance in making connections among the artworks; Go Mobile could include prompts to help visitors compare different artworks or cultural contexts to help “humanize” the artworks. Interviews also suggested several usability improvements that would enhance visitors’ experiences, such as enlarging photographs in the list of artworks and prompting users to scroll through the content on individual pages for more information.
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