Useful research about consumer mobile trends

Digital Media
November 28, 2013

A list of useful research reports about technological and social factors affecting how consumer mobile devices affect museum service design. Most have published in mid to late 2013.The scope and focus of each varies, but all deal with either general technology and mobile-related social trends or specifically about musum mobile service issues.

They are here for reference for attendees at workshops and my presentation at ‘Making Cultural Heritage Mobile: Challenges and Possibilities’, a conference facilitated by the Centre For Research In The Arts, Social Sciences And Humanities (CRASSH) at the Univeristy of Cambridge, England from 28-29 November 2013.

Of course they should be useful to anyone else developing digital services in museums and related cultural organisations, so if you are trying to manage mobile visitor experiences in all their many aspects, I hope they are of use.

ARUP - Museums in the Digital AgeJosef Hargrave. Museums in the Digital Age. ARUP. October 2013

Covering medium- to long-term developments within society, technology, economics, environment and politics. Identifies three factors: Content Diversification, Immersive Experiences and Sustainable & Open Spaces.

Cover for understanding the V&A Mobile VisitorAndrew Lewis, V&A Digital Media blog. What do visitors say about using mobile devices in museums? March 2013.

Summary of online managers forum held at the V&A on museum service development for mobile. It focuses mainly on an in-gallery survey conducted in autumn 2012, commissioned jointly by the Digital Media and Learning departments and was based on interviews with visitors to V&A galleries. It has lots of fascinating details about visitors’ uptake of personally-owned mobile devices, the way they use them in different contexts and their attitudes to digital content and services in the Museum such as WiFi.


Cover of Cisco report

CISCO. Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update 2012–2017. February 2013

Speculative analysis of likely general technology trends and their expected impact on how people live. Highlights web-based cloud services as becoming commonplace in consumers’ lives.

Nesta report - Digital Heritage

Arts Council England, Nesta,  Arts and Humanities Research Council. Digital Culture: How arts and cultural organisations in England use technology.

Reviews how arts and cultural organisations have transformed their marketing and operations through digital technology, to reach bigger and more diverse audiences, in creation and distribution and opportunities for revenue generation.

Cover of report: Google - The new multi-screen worldGoogle. The New Multi-Screen World. Understanding  Cross-platform Consumer Behaviour. August 2012

In depth analysis of digital media use in everyday life. Highlights the establishment of digital screens as the dominant media platorm, and muliple screen behaviour.

Culture 24 report - Let's get Real 2

Culture24. Let’s Get Real 2. Report from the second Culture24 Action Research Project. Culture24. Brighton. 2013.

A cross-museum project that looked at understanding and measuring digital engagement. Participation from around 20 UK museums and cultural organisations provide useful insights. Includes useful social media framework for attempting to understand impact through sentiment analysis and other useful techniques.

V&A report - user feedback analysis of digital map

Andrew Lewis. Research Report: The V&A Digital Map . Beta-testing user survey – Analysis of Responses March – October 2013.  V&A Digital Media. October 2013.

A user-survey was conducted from March to October 2013 during development of the V&A Digital Map. The map was used within the V&A by Visitor Services staff helping real visitors. They used the map to find objects and events for visitors in the Museum and show them how to find them, as they would in their normal daily work. 

Some interesting factors emerge: the interface design was liked, wayfinding is hard and physical factors like charging and cases also matter to users.

New Media Consortium - Horizon Report Museums

New Media Consortium/Marcus Institute for Digital Education in the Arts. Horizon Report: Museums. 2013

Examines six emerging technologies for their potential impact on and use in education and interpretation within the museum environment: BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), crowdsourcing, electronic publishing, location-based services, natural user interfaces, and preservation and conservation technologies. Key trends and significant challenges in the museum sector are also identified. 

About the author

Digital Media
November 28, 2013

Digital Content Delivery Manager at the V&A. Information scientist at work and hacky maker of strange things out of it.

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