An interactive’s physical placement can affect its success. Consider how the following might affect decisions on content and how it is delivered.

‘Surf or serve’

What mode a visitor is in when they encounter an interactive screen might affect its success.


‘Surf’ can be used to describe an experience which requires exploration and autonomy from the user. An example would be a screen in which there are many items of tangentially-related content to consume. The result is similar to a website in which the user has the autonomy to seek out information in a non-defined, non-linear fashion.

‘Surfing’ for content is expected to work best when it is detached in some way from an exhibition. Threshold or intermediary spaces, such as entries & exits, a media lounge, the promenade or the cafes, create a different visitor mode which is expected to be more receptive to ‘surfing’ content.

Long-form / Browsing / Exploration / Self-driven


‘Serve’ describes a more editorial experience in which fewer decisions from the user are required. Content is highly focused and presents a linear narrative. The amount of content is constrained to few items and the user is required to make fewer interactions. An example would be a screen which presents a single video. The user might only make a single interaction, for example pressing ‘Play’. A linear narrative is then served to the user with no further interactions or decisions required.

‘Serve’ content is expected to work best within a full and busy exhibition. The focus of a single narrative which doesn’t require complex, self-driven interaction is analogous to an object placed within a display case: the highly edited narrative is told to the user without requiring them to make choices or decisions.

Short / Sharp / Focused / Edited / Key message only

‘Threat of volume’

Is this interactive in a particularly quiet space of the museum? If so, it is possible that some visitors will be more reluctant to engage with it if they are concerned that it could interrupt the quiet environment.

‘Threat of volume’ refers to this tendency for some visitors to hesitate using an interactive because of the sound it might emit in a quiet space. Consider using headphones or moving the interactive to a less subdued location.