Using a common language to describe our interactives will help us communicate more effectively.

Different classes of interactives present different requirements. These categories highlight key differences between screens that should be considered during scoping and development stages.

It is expected that these classifications will be refined over time, especially as more digital content for exhibitions is created. Currently, screens showing video dominate the interactive screens on the floor.

Video player

  • Low-level of engagement: A particularly low-level of engagement is required. Ideally users should be able to select video content within one or two touches.
  • ‘Serve’ experience: If the video player is placed within the exhibition, it should be as direct and focused as possible.

Design patterns for video

Digital label

  • Object-focused: A digital label refers to a screen used specifically as an Extended Object Label (or Group Extended Object Label) in the exhibition text hierarchy. Its purpose is to tell an in-depth story centred on an object in the wider context of the exhibition’s story. However, the way this story is told could through other media, not just text.
  • Physical-digital relationship: Creating an obvious relationship between the physical object(s) and the digital content is essential. Keep in mind the principle of natural mapping when designing a menu for content selection.
  • Physical environment: Consider the relationship between the object and the screen in the physical space and how to make the most of the dynamic between them:
    • Can the object be lit differently when the screen is focused on it? (Think of the Weapons interactive in Gallipoli that lights various weapons in red while the screen shows a video of how that weapon damaged the body.)
    • Can the object be seen clearly from the position of the screen?
    • Does the screen encourage ‘close looking’ and get close enough to the object to see the detail?
    • Is it clear when looking only at the object that more information about it is available?

Design patterns for digital labels

Digital satellite

  • Not object-focussed: A digital satellite is not particularly tied to an object within the exhibition, but is some way standalone digital content.
  • Visitor approach: An important distinction for a digital satellite is considering the way a visitor will approach the screen. Without an object to ground the screen within the exhibition, it must work harder to answer questions like:
    • Why is this screen here?
    • What will I find if I explore this?
    • Is this worth my time?
  • ‘Surf’ experience: A digital satellite lends itself to a more exploratory ‘surf’ experience. It relates well to a `Unique Graphic Solution in the existing text hierarchy: “Treatment of a topic that requires a predominantly pictorial or graphic approach to aid interpretation (eg, processes, timelines, maps) […] Selective use only, not a dumping ground for leftover ideas, stories, or images.” (Te Papa exhibition text hierarchy document)