Today was slightly different to the usual Thursday of seminar’s, as instead of going into university we had a field trip up to London. Whilst we were there, we visited the Science Museum to observe how people interacted and learnt through interactive installations. The trip also gave us an opportunity to do some research on the types of installations we could create as part of the Design Iterations unit.
When we were in the museum, we were particularly interested in observing how and why people interacted with the exhibits, and without being too obvious, try and find trends in how much time in comparison was spent on each one in comparison to the level of interaction that were involved.
The Science Museum was a great place to visit as it contains many interactive elements in attempt to deliver science to all ages through many different ways. Within the building, there was a wide range of different interactive installations through different examples with a range through from touch screens, to sensor activating interactions which was useful in seeing the different possiblilties for what sort of technology I could use in my installation. The touchscreen installations seemed to be the least popular in terms of how popular the exhibit’s were. For the majority of time, if these were placed next to other more immersive technologies, they didn’t get that much attention from people walking through. My opinion on the reason for this result would be that, as touchscreen’s have been around for a long time, and they also appear on devices that we use everyday on smartphones and tablets. People find it more interesting to interact with something that uses different controls from what they are used to from day-to-day life. The one’s that the audience looked to be more engaged with, were those using cameras to relay the information, immersing the user into the installation to the point where they controlled what was appearing on screen though movement.
From looking at others reactions to the exhibits on offer the ones with moving images/graphics with what you can further interact with seemed to draw the most attention from people walking through. This showed that to make an interactive installation a success in open spaces, I need to use some variation on movement on the initial screen to get the attention of the people who are walking by. The only exception to this result, is that the audience who were around middle age to elderly spent more time looking at the textual description of objects rather that engaging with the installations. As a result on this I need to make sure that what I design is appropriate for the target audience. In terms of where we will display our information in one of the university building’s, so I am looking at the age group of around 18-30.
What I did notice for most of the installations around the museum was that the way in which you had to interact with each exhibit was fairly obvious and didn’t require much work to find out how to interact with it. This gave me the basis that I need my interactive installation to be relatively self-explanatory so that no prior knowledge is needed to engage with it.
From this trip, I learnt a great deal about media spaces and how audiences react in interactive environments that will prove useful when designing the interactive installation that I create in the next few weeks. After observing other interactive installations in action, I am confident that I will be able to use what I have picked up today to create almost a checklist of things I need to make sure are compliant with what I have learn’t today.