There is now a significant number of mobile tour app authoring platforms available in the museum field, each one offering a unique approach to tour creation and content presentation, driven by the distinct creative visions and technical solutions of the providers who created them.
In order to help us appreciate what makes each platform special and compelling within the field, MW2014 will host a “Mobile Bake-off”: an opportunity for museum professionals to experience and evaluate a number of mobile app solutions on a level playing field. Each participating mobile app provider will be given access to the same small body of content about cultural sites in Baltimore with which to create a mobile tour demo, and the same amount of time to create a demo app using that content. The content will be a mix of 5-6 stops about local museums and outdoor points of interest, and will include a range of different kinds of media, such as audio, video, text, slideshows, interactives and others. Attendees of MW2014, beginning with the pre-conference tour groups on April 1, will be encouraged to try the demo tour apps. In a special “Mobile Tasting” session on Friday morning, April 4, each demo app will be presented by its creators, and discussed by a panel of mobile experts with questions and contributions from the audience.
In the Mobile Tasting Session, we will not be naming a “winner” of the Mobile Bake-off or otherwise picking favorites. This is meant to be a friendly and colleagial event to showcase a range of mobile solutions available to museums, and to help museum professionals understand the strengths and affordances of each. At the same time, we hope it will be a useful opportunity for mobile providers to hear directly from museums what kinds of experiences and content they want to offer their mobile users. Our aim is to foster greater understanding of the potential for mobile in museums and encourage use of this powerful technology, while helping raise the quality of mobile offerings across the field.
The collection and provisioning of the content is being sponsored by IZI.travel, and managed by Sandy Goldberg with support from Laurie Stepp.
Please let us know if you’d like to participate in the Mobile Bake-off as a mobile tour provider or tester. This is a new initiative for MW, so one we are particularly grateful to have the community’s thoughts and suggestions on how to make it most useful for mobile providers and museums alike.