Opening up to new ideas

We’re in an interesting place in mobile media design for museums.  Technological issues and market penetration are finally getting to the point where we can design experiences that will reach broad segments of our audiences and deliver experiences and foster interactions that would be unthinkable in any other medium. Over the past year, tremendous efforts have been made to establish a level playing field in terms of open standards, led by Rob Stein (another person you should follow @rjstein) at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and others.  The TourML standard currently being developed offers us the promise of not only being able to get out from under the old model of designing content for specific platforms or proprietary systems, but of being able to share open content across applications and even across institutions. Heady stuff!

To generate some thinking around this, a group of us will be running a workshop at Museums and the Web 2011 in Philadelphia, called More Than Tours: radical opportunities in mobile content design and social media.  You should totally sign up! It’ll be great.  Our current lineup includes Nancy Proctor, Sandy Goldberg, Koven Smith, Halsey Burgund, Dave Schaller, and Kate Haley Goldman. If I weren’t going to be helping run it, I’d certainly attend! Here’s the blurb:


New mobile and social media platforms have hugely expanded the ways in which museums can interact with their audiences – and even with each other! Nonetheless, museum mobile experiences still tend not to stray far from the traditional audio tour in experience and content design. This workshop is designed to get us thinking “outside the audio tour box” to devise radical new approaches to mobile experiences for museum audiences.

Led by innovative mobile practitioners and museum experience designers, the workshop will challenge us to transform the relationship with museum audiences by engaging them in doing meaningful, mission-focused work, and being true co-creators of our cultural institutions. We’ll ask how content creation might be shared with audiences and among museums; how new tools like augmented reality and location-based gaming and social media apps can expand the mobile experience beyond the museum’s walls; and what research exists and is still needed to help inform our next generation mobile decisions. Outcomes will include both new paradigms for museum mobile experiences, and concrete solutions for building them.

So here’s my question. When you hear “radical opportunities in mobile content design and social media” what springs to mind?

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