Interactives and Video

Exhibition Design Reading Topics:

  • Interaction Design
  • Controls for Interactives
  • Film
  • Sound
  • Audio Tours

Interaction Design

Some questions to ask when designing an interactive: “Does it stimulate visitor involvement?” “Is it approachable?” “How quickly can the user understand what’s going on?” “Have you provided reassuring feedback that the interaction was successful (OR not?)” Keep in mind that the important thing is the concept and accuracy of the experience, not weather it is computer or mechanically based. Once the user understands the controls, give them something to use their new tool for immediately to maintain interest. Allow users to create a mental map of the scope of the content and easily navigate it.

Controls for Interactives

The more an interface can be assimilated to an existing interface or real life scenario the user is familiar with, the more intuitive the interaction will be to them. Keeping the interfaces the same throughout the exhibit helps the user feel immediately familiar and knowledgeable. Think about the difference between Xbox and Kinect – I still don’t have the patience to learn how to use the controller but the kinect understands my natural movements. Also, to add, the feedback is more direct with the kinect- only my body can interact and most times the picture of your shadow clues you into what is being tracked- with multiple buttons on the controller, it’s hard to understand what cause and effect match up.


The text says that the  “compulsion to engage with a a subject through screen-based media” is desired by exhibition visitors. I wonder if this will change as we tire of our cell phones? I certainly don’t want to go to a museum just to watch a screen — that I can do on my couch. However, sound and film to appeal to auditory and visual learners, so it is a valid addition if used correctly. Projections are popular to create a “living” backdrop for many exhibits to ass to the “total” immersive environment. Films can communicate the narrative of the exhibit and set up the tone and expectations of how they will engage with the subject. Archive footage, seems to be a really “ok” reason to show video in an exhibit- especially if that footage is directly related to the subject and may not be available online.


Soundscapes in the background can create a subliminal “rightness” as the visitor is immersed in the experience. In our visits to exhibits, I found a few of the soundscapes to be distracting- I would anticipate much discussion over making sure the sounds are not alarming or annoying but still create ambiance. So, take the time to place sound barriers or think about using cloth or foam – audio absorbers.

Audio Tours are AWESOME

I would like to take a moment to pronounce my love for audio tours. Why do I love them? Because they free your eyes to see, and not read! How amazing is it to have the information being pumped into your head at it’s most relevant moment– and no one can block your view! It’s perfect virtual reality without the virtual – you can be touching and looking at real things and still hear commentary from experts. Yeah. Love Them.


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