April 13-17, 2010
Denver, Colorado, USA

Workshops: Description

Designing Platforms for Visitor Participation - FULL

Nina Simon, Museum 2.0, USA

This workshop is now full.

Many museum professionals are familiar with best practices in design for content communication and visitor interaction. But design patterns for social participation are just emerging, and many institutions are still in an experimental phase when it comes to developing contributory and visitor co-created platforms. In this half-day workshop, we will move beyond "guess and check" experimentation by exploring proven design frameworks for participation that can help museum staff more effectively create platforms that will engage visitors, invite them to contribute, and support user actions that satisfy both visitors' and institutional goals. Using museum-based examples, participation and motivation theory, and tested activities, participants will learn explicit design techniques in a hands-on environment. Starting from participants’ own projects and interests, we will dive deeply into design patterns for everything from personal profiles to reputation indices to inform and improve the reach and power of the resulting platforms.

The workshop is grounded in four core components of successful participatory platform design:

  1. Personal entry points, which help participants express their unique self-identities relative to the platform and the content offered by the institution.
  2. Me-to-we network effects, which transform individuals’ personal experiences into both passive and active social activities.
  3. Social object theory, which activates artifacts as the center of diverse visitor dialogue and interaction.
  4. Institutional values, which are woven tightly into platform design so that participants act in accordance with overall museum missions.

The workshop will begin with a one-hour introduction to these principles, using museum examples to illustrate each topic. For each topic, we will do a small-group activity (for example, developing a profile-based recommendation engine for a mobile in-gallery system, or designing an effective technological tool that bridges visitors’ individual experiences) and discuss specific design patterns for success. These activities will be chosen by participants from a larger set so that people are most likely to learn techniques directly relevant to their own work. Finally, using a pre-selected participant’s project in process as a starting point, we will work as a large group to step through the ways that different design patterns could enhance the impact of the proposed platform. Every participant will leave with explicit tools for improving their design and evaluation of participatory platforms, and in many cases, next steps for specific projects in progress.

Workshop: Designing for Participation [Afternoon]

Keywords: participation, design, community, frameworks, personalization, social