Some general factors to consider when generating digital content for use on-the-floor.

Number of choices

  • Limit choices: Too many choices can overwhelm users. Be mindful of the context the screen is in and how this might affect a user’s willingness to consume content. Can you amalgamate any of the choices into one? Be wary of splicing the content into multiple pieces if there isn’t a compelling user reason to. Being too granular and increasing choices can be negative.
  • Discoverability: Remember that more content can mean more navigation, which can mean hidden content. A key principle is ‘out of sight, out of mind.’ If a user has to find the content (under a menu button, for example), they are much less likely to engage with it.
  • Number of interactions required: Think about the number of interactions required to consume all of the content presented. This includes interrupting the screensaver, making a selection, closing this content, making a new selection, etc.
  • Play all? Consider whether or not a Play all action might be useful. (However, if a user starts this and then abandons the screen, this could be detrimental to other users encountering the screen.)

Length of content

  • No one size fits all. The ideal length of content will be based on factors such as the:
    • story being told,
    • expected audience attracted to this content or exhibition, and
    • spatial positioning of the screen and how this could affect a visitor’s propensity to engage (see Context).
  • Grab attention immediately. Content must makes grab visitor’s attention very early. Lead with the conclusion / most interesting point (front-load your content / inverted pyramid) if there is one.
  • Tell a story on the home screen. Tell an interesting story without people having to tap the screen. Some people in the museum will only look at the screen. Consider how you might use that opportunity to tell a story and create an engaging experience for a ‘hands off’ audience. This is most often done using an animated loop on the homescreen.
  • Watch it later. Consider hosting the content online and referencing it from within the museum. This is likely to be particularly useful when there is a lot of related content that is unlikley to be consumed at one time within the exhibition, or content that works particularly well outside of the specific context of the museum (eg, more of a thinkpiece).