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published: March 2004
analytic scripts updated:
November 7, 2010

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0  License

Where handheld devices succeed and fail in a museum environment
Micah Zender, University of Cincinnati, USA

Mini-Workshop: Gain a Skill - 5

The most common problem associated with handheld devices, is the barrier of tactile interaction with the device. While this is a problem, with a whole list of problems associated with it - text size for reading on screen, button size for touch interaction, compact user interface design, etc..

But beyond tactile interaction problems, there are other questions to be addressed, most importantly being

- why haven?t handheld devices made their way into the museum?

Is it the cost of purchasing, maintaining, and sustaining?

The lack of audience ability to use such a device?

Or is it the simple fact that there is not enough information to justify the use of a device?

The simple answer to all three - No.

This presentation outlines the research done at the University of Cincinnati, on audience interaction with handheld devices in a museum setting. From their findings we have formulated a series of potential solutions, and practical applications for handhelds in the museum.

Topics covered:

How to match the right handheld with your museum, and your audience.

How to match the interface to the audience.

What content delivery methods will work best in what situation.

Using the handheld as a way finding device.

Potential applications for the handheld device.

Potential methods of pulling content from your existing on-line, or other data sources to the handheld.

Ways to integrate your web presence to your handheld.

Tracking user interest for future event development.