April 13-17, 2010
Denver, Colorado, USA

Workshops: Description

Kidding Around: Designing effective digital experiences for families - FULL

Shelley Mannion, The British Museum, United Kingdom
Lorna O'Brien, Victoria & Albert Museum, United Kingdom

This workshop is now full.

Families and mixed-age groups are an important and often underserved audience among museum visitors. This workshop examines technology-enhanced family visits through recent research and real-world case studies. We will review different types and styles of digital activities that can work for institutions of different sizes and those with limited resources. The session includes short game play and collaborative design activities to get participants thinking concretely about how to engage families digitally with heritage collections.

Best practices will be introduced, as well as tips for delivering satisfying experiences while managing the complex infrastructure of ICT learning spaces. We will discuss practical challenges of delivering of digital learning programs such as scheduling, facilitation, inflexible workspaces, and the lack of technology skills. The emphasis will be on-site programs with special attention paid to the use of free web-based applications and social media sites to implement sessions and deliver digital artwork to families.

The workshop draws heavily on lessons learned from two recently opened ICT learning spaces at the V&A and the British Museum. The V&A Sackler Centre’s Digital Studio and the BM’s Samsung Digital Discovery Centre offer ambitious digital learning programs for visitors of different ages. This will be the first opportunity to hear about the outcomes of experimentation during both these Centres’ inaugural years.

Topics include:


  • What do we mean by families anyway?
  • Examples past and present of digital programming for families

Experience design for family visitors

  • Review of relevant research on visiting patterns and habits
  • Human Computer Interaction for family audiences
  • Working with physical spaces and limitations

Principles of successful digital learning programs

Practical logistics
  • Equipment and software
  • Staffing and facilitation
  • Delivering digital artwork online
Activity design
  • Session formats and length
  • Developing ICT skills
  • Digital versus analog
Content design
  • Where to find digital assets?
  • Choosing and preparing digital assets

Measuring outcomes

  • Evaluation and feedback
  • Ideas for small-scale experimentation

Workshop: Digital Experiences for Families [Afternoon]

Keywords: digital, activity, design, family, visitor, informal, education, technology