Monthly Archives: April 2015

Whyplaygames

One of my clearest memories of childhood is being beaten soundly at Uno by my uncles and aunts. Strangely, I felt belonging and comraderie. It made me begin to think strategically. It made me want to play more.  In the end, it was the doing that I liked.  We were actively engaging in a shared experience.  We were having fun. (Maybe my aunts and uncles more than me.)
It a time when museum attendance has decreased, the idea of having fun experiences for visitors is appealing.  Games can build good will in audiences and encourage visitation. 

But, games also offer other benefits. Museums often seek to impart information, so games are useful. In games, people learn to learn, acquiring skills, making sense of the game system, and garnering new information. 

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For my other posts on games:

Why play games?

Guide to Museum Games

Game Development Tutorial


Guide to Museum Games

There is no one game solution for museums. In fact, as a game developer it is often fun to try to continue to break boundaries with your museum game.

Some of the things to consider:

The game structure and mechanics are related to the level of social engagement. In some instances, more individual games allow for people to develop individual connections to collections. But, social games can enrich understands of collections in a collective way. 

Galleries can be a great place to play a game, but make sure to maintain your core mission. If your mission is to give people access to real objects, don’t create a game that doesn’t engage with the collection.

There are also rewards earned with games that are played outside of gallery spaces.  Games played in lobbies and family spaces offer opportunities for reflection about and reconnection to collections.

Your game type will be chosen based on a number of factors, like budget and project goals. But, be flexible. Experiment. Start with what you know, but then try new games.  

Games may overlap. A live-action game may have mobile components. A board game may include a live-action component.  This listing above is a way to help you begin to make sense of games.

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For my other posts on games:

Why play games?

Guide to Museum Games

Game Development Tutorial

How do you actually make a game?

MakingAGameDesigning a game? Well, there are many ways to start, but, in essence, you want to think about some big issues:

1. What is your goal? What do you want your players to get out of it? What is your project goal? How does it relate to your game goal?

2. Where are you going to play this? In the galleries, or out? Both? Why did you choose that space? What does the game play have to do with that space? 

3. How much can you spend? Think money and time. Do you have the staff to make the game? Play the game? Maintain the same?

4. Who is playing this game? Who is your audience? What do they like to do? How do you know? What are their limitations? What are their strengths? 

Also, each answer effects the answers to each of the other questions.  In other words, think wholistically. As you answer each question, reflect on your ideas.  

After thinking about those big issues, you then need to expect to take lots of time developing, testing, and iterating.  A seamless game often has hours and hours of prep time to get to that perfect game play.

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For my other posts on games:

Why play games?

Guide to Museum Games

Game Development Tutorial 

#MobileVideo Call To Arms

#mobilevideo

I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have wasted 15 seconds.  For that matter, I think my teenage years were a study in wasting time.   Think of all the time you might waste in your day?  I bet you could find a few minutes that could be put to use to make a video.

The rewards will be great.  Making social media videos helps me refine my ideas and find new ones. I am able to take a risk on something that is very low stakes. I am able to find petty fame.  I get feedback from people who are interesting (and then loads of spam.)  Basically, there are a lot of returns for very little time.

There is also no wrong way to do it.  You might start my mimicking videos that you have seen. (But, be kind and credit your source.) You might start and make the video you have never seen.  Eventually, you might settle on your voice.  In the last few months, I have been focused on stop-motion craft.  It has become my voice.  I don’t know if that will stay that way.  There are a lot of new ideas sort of percolating in my head.

What is nice also, is that it lets you think physically.  You don’t need to storyboard or script.  You can just directly build your story in your app.

Certainly there are practical ways to think about social media (and below you will see many posts about it.)  But, in a big picture way, think of social media video as your chance to create as you wish.

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#mobilevideo 2015 overview

My vines can be found here.

I have written a series of short posts about Vine.  Enjoy:
Vine Video for Museums: Post 1
How can Museum Educators use Vine?
The Right Audience for Vine
Fostering Participation in Vines
Vine to Share the Museum Experience
Narrative in Vine
Looking at Art through Vine
Vine on Your Own
Vine Interface—An Orientation
Vine Basics
Vine and Audio
Stop Motion Tips

I produced these posts as notes in preparation for co-writing this paper for Museums and the Web 2014, with Alli Burness, @Alli_Burnie; Patty Edmonson, @Retrograde_D; and Chad Weinard, @caw_

Our presentation Vine feed is here. 

Our workshop in April, 2014 sparked some good conversation, see the Storify.

Many of our participants made some wonderful Vines, check these out.

 

 

 

#MobileVideo

#mobilevideo infographic

Social media video can be a powerful way to engage people. The statistics are staggering. This is one of those things that everybody is doing–and you should too.

It is direct and easily accessible.  A huge percentage of the globe can access these videos from anywhere.  (It might be helpful to remember that there are more cell phones that people on earth.)  Anyone can do it, and some of us can do it well.  This inherently democratic media can be useful to museums in many ways.

First and foremost, museum people get a chance to capture what they see in real-time to share with their audience.  Get a behind the scenes look at your aquarium’s fish doing the cancan? A picture is certainly not going to work.  (And, that is a video that could go viral fast.)

Second, when museum’s post videos, they are speaking to their audience in a language that their audience already speaks. 1.5 billion videos loop daily.  People are making these videos themselves and consuming them.  There is a powerful message when institutions agree to participate with their visitors where they are.

That said, institutions should be careful to make videos that seem authentic and appropriate.  An exhibition about the civil war might not be the venue for humor. While an exhibition in a children’s space about bodily function might result in videos that are fun for the whole family.

How do you get started? Now social media, including Instagram and Vine, have made it a lot easier.  You can import videos from your camera reel.  If you are really into it, you can make them in GoPro, follow a series of work arounds, and then import them.

I can’t say that I go through all that.  I usually shoot using Vine, and then save it to my camera reel by unclicking post to Vine, and then edit in VideoShop.  Then I reload my videos to Vine.  Vine and Instagram findability are fueled by #hashtags. So, go a little nuts with that.  It will help you be found.

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My vines can be found here.

I have written a series of short posts about Vine.  Enjoy:
Vine Video for Museums: Post 1
How can Museum Educators use Vine?
The Right Audience for Vine
Fostering Participation in Vines
Vine to Share the Museum Experience
Narrative in Vine
Looking at Art through Vine
Vine on Your Own
Vine Interface—An Orientation
Vine Basics
Vine and Audio
Stop Motion Tips

I produced these posts as notes in preparation for co-writing this paper for Museums and the Web 2014, with Alli Burness, @Alli_Burnie; Patty Edmonson, @Retrograde_D; and Chad Weinard, @caw_

Our presentation Vine feed is here. 

Our workshop in April, 2014 sparked some good conversation, see the Storify.

Many of our participants made some wonderful Vines, check these out.

Eyetracking

I am a starer.  It doesn’t help that my eyes are on the large side.  Yesterday, sitting in the airport, I was struck by how many people assumed I was looking at them, when instead I was just staring out into space.  So, I have a natural bias to question eye-tracking studies.  But, there is a real difference between the ways that your face (and your eyes) react when in open-ended learning situations and in information seeking moments.

In websites and mobile devices, you are using these tools for a certain end.  You are seeking something specific.  Much of your interactions with the interface could be summarized by the phrase, “how do I get to the next place, page, part, link, etc.”  In other words, your gaze is often the moment before you take a navigational step.

Eye-tracking studies have real promise in understanding usage in an unmediated way.  Even the smoothest researcher is putting their participant on the spot.  In this case, the participant is acting in a somewhat normal way.  Tools, like the Tobii, do require participants to sit very still–which is not terrible real-world.  But, at least, they are not being artificially prompted by a person.

Eye-tracking studies are not just about where people look, but also understanding this in correlation to time.  What did they look at first? What are the patterns of things they looked at? What didn’t they look at?  In other words, one is assessing behavior.  This can then be correlated with attitudinal data, from their talk alouds, for example.  But, at the core, eye-tracking is about behavior.

More Mobile Testing

I have continued to ruminate on mobile testing.  In thinking about the pervasiveness of mobile, getting mobile right is imperative.  But, at the same time, the testing options have major limitations.  After all, no one actually hugs a laptop while searching for the ideal episode of Gilmore Girls on Netflix on their surface.  And, they probably don’t use a sled when flipping through Pandora on their iPhone.  Most testing scenarios just don’t mimic the real world.  In fact, they are very different from the real world.

It makes me more sure that there has to be someone out there who can create the ideal mobile testing software.  The big challenge with this is that fact that there are many different types of mobile.  There is iOS; both phone and table.  There are Androids and then there are the Windows tablets.  Given the diversity, one might need to create a number of different mobile testing systems.  (Apple has a vested interest in locking down their system.  They have a controlled access mechanism, i.e. with their developer program.)