The Indianapolis Museum of Art will launch its first in gallery mobile tour in the fall of 2009 to coincide with a special exhibiton entitled “Sacred Spain”. The Sacred Spain exhibition will examine the role of religion and belief across the Spanish world during the 17th century. In conjunction with this exhibition, IMA’s New Media team traveled to Spain to document contemporary artisans and religious processions taking place during Holy Week in the spring of 2009.
The IMA plans to make mobile tours available to the public during the exhibition by offering device rentals from our visitors services desk. We are currently planning on using iPod Touch devices pre-loaded with tour content to provide the best possible in gallery experience.
While our immediate focus is on the Sacred Spain exhibition, the IMA team plans on building a mobile platform which can be reused for many different types of content and special exhibitions, and that could potentially be used in a pre-loaded fashion as above or could drive the same content to visitors personal devices. Tours may be offered for free or may include a charge. The possibility of an e-commerce engine underlying the distribution of tour content will be explored.
Our initial desire is to keep the user interface and experience as simple as possible. Both to reduce confusion on the part of the visitors, but also to simplify the task of development within a short time-frame. Figure 1 illustrates some initial pencil sketches of user interface ideas, based heavily off of existing iPhone UI components as well as familiar tour stop keypads.
Figure 2 shows a sample graphics design and branding concept that we are using for our Tour platform. The name TAP will be used for all tours produced for this platform at the IMA and the name will be re-used as above (i.e. TAP into the Art & Nature Park, See what’s on TAP, TAP into the permanent collection, etc…)
The following set of figures demonstrates a few user interface concepts which will be used in building out the tour components. Special consideration is being given to the user interface to ensure that it works in either orientation for the iPhone application.
While we are planning on pre-loading these devices with content (i.e. video, audio, images) we do plan on having a wireless network available in the gallery. We envision a set of polls or questions supporting multiple choice or yes/no feedback from inside the exhibition… the results of these polls will be viewable on the museum’s website and in an in-gallery technology space adjacent to the special exhibition. We are also exploring the possibility of integrating a sign-up for the IMA e-news letter from this device as well as potential incentives like a discount in the store or cafe upon subscrition to e-news.