Science Museum & Media Spaces

Today we visited the science museum in an attempt to understand media spaces and how audiences work within a interactive environment. We also wanted to use this time to look at how information based interactive media artefacts are presented to and audience of a wide age range. This was possible in the science museum as it’s a very playful environment, which houses a lot of interesting scientific and historical information that all generations could understand in some form.

Observation

From observing others within a space moving images and graphics seem to draw the most attention even though there significant and historical value is vastly less. For example there could be an piece of moon rock held in front of a display of display with some animating graphics however, the majority of the audience ware drawn towards the display and only glanced at the most significant part. This showed me that no matter the significant of either artefact the more visual appealing would draw the most attention of an audience. An exception to this was an older audience who were spending the majority of their time analysing the object itself and reading the static information next to it.

Interaction

With there being lots of digital interactive elements within the space a full range of interfaces and interactive elements were engaged with. This was done through touch screens, buttons joysticks and wheels crating a range of ergonomic and tactile surface for the audience to engage with. Before observing peoples interaction with these tools I expected the touchscreens to attract the most attention as these could seem the most comfortable interface with the introduction of tablet computers. 95% of people were playing with the more ergonomic tools from all age ranges. People only seemed to interact with the touchscreens if they truly wanted to engage with a concept or ideas.

I think this shows that from a digital point of view that audiences have become transparent to the attraction of touch screens in recent years with there introduction into consumer culture. For many it seems use of this kind of tool attracts far less interest compared to the more nostalgic nature of a joystick and big glowing buttons witch brings a more textual experience.

Personal assessment

What I found when interacting with the various media artefacts is the nature of interaction was very minimal and there was never a complex system, which required a high level of knowledge to use. This may have been due to the age range of the audience or they didn’t want people to spend too much time figuring out what to do. The use of very minimal instructions also surprised me even of simple task there was very limited amount given a lot was left to prior knowledge and general understanding. This showed me in that installation design should be relatively self-explanatory and require very little explanation on how to use operate, meaning they are quick and responsive for audiences to use.

The complexity of the information which was being displayed in some of the media artefacts was considerably complex aiming to influence a higher level of knowledge.

Who am I?? Installation

Who am I installation is one of the more advanced and technical media artefacts in the museum. It requires information input to generate a assumption of your character which is then projected back on a large visual display. There is great sense of tactility of entering the information on touchscreens built into a large community based table making the mundane task of entering the information a sociable and fun activity. The response is presented on a large-scale visual projected display with somewhat abstract graphical representation of the human form containing the feed back information.

The table input was a lengthy process and become slightly tedious but turning it into a game between the audiences around the table made it far more enthusing. There could be some improvements made within the media interface, as there was some repetition of some information that we felt was a mistake and would be a simple fix. Secondly if it was slightly quicker as it took around 5-7 minutes to complete which didn’t give many people a chance to have a go or fully complete the task.

Media installation interaction

A very interesting interactive display we discover in the space was a touchscreen clear glass cabinet, which housed a historic artefact, but the information graphics were changing on the front glass. It was interesting to see how a glass display was being used to incorporate graphical display as part of a real world objects presentation

A reversal installation which used instructions and as part of its interaction to draw audiences in. The was a large metal post with exposed rods sending out a small electrical pulse to an audio beat. a large circle around this said “do not touch” revere psychology and human curiosity to attract audiences that went against orders and directly touch the rods. Seeing people directly discount these orders showed me that even though there was clear instructions audience can in some situations disregard these and instinctively just interact with the object.

In summary the science museum taught me a lot about how audience don’t necessarily go for a glossy touch screen display sometimes and more textual or intermit object will appeal to them. Secondly the knowledge and level of thinking that required to interact with a installation can either draw or prevent certain sections of an audience to interact with it.

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