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Museums and the Web

An annual conference exploring the social, cultural, design, technological, economic, and organizational issues of culture, science and heritage on-line.

Multitouch and Multiuser Design


Multitouch and multiuser exhibits are changing the ways in which visitors interact with computer-based exhibits in museums. This half-day workshop will explore the technology and design aspects of multitouch, multiuser exhibit development.

Multitouch exhibits allow designers to move away from traditional graphical user-interfaces and incorporate more natural and intuitive controls.  Shared surface computing (multitouch, multiuser environments) presents a new complexity in design: encouraging collaboration and communication among multiple visitors may take precedence over traditional interface concepts such as designing efficient ways for individuals to navigate or accomplish tasks.

In this half-day workshop, we'll explore a variety of multitouch technologies including off-the-shelf multitouch-enabled PCs and mobile devices, along with a look under the hood of our newest custom-built large-format touch table. Participants will see a variety of examples and prototypes, including many that use Web-based technologies. We'll see how multitouch technology is used to browse multimedia elements, RSS Feeds, mapping services, and other Web-based applications and mash-ups.

Finally, we'll explore the design challenges that shared surface computing and multitouch technologies present. We'll examine some traditional computer-based exhibits and conceptualize how they might be designed differently with multitouch and collaborative capabilities in mind. Through, an engaging rapid design exercise we'll explore and discuss the conceptual, informational, and user-interface aspects of multitouch and multi-user design.

In addition, we will provide a brief introduction to Open Exhibits (, a free and open software initiative for exhibit development in Adobe Flash and Flex.


Workshop - full or half day


jspadaccini's picture
I am the Director of Ideum, a New Mexico-based multimedia design firm that works with museums, nonprofits, and socially responsible companies. The firm focuses on developing multitouch, multiuser exhibits and online exhibits emphasizing social media. Over the last ten years, Ideum has worked on...
PaulLacey's picture
Biography pending.

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