It's all Fun and Games Until Nothing Happens…
By Ngaire Blankenberg
There is nothing more frustrating or potentially insulting – than a faulty interactive…
Oh the perils of technology-based exhibitions! Not only was this a disappointing experience, it was a deeply frustrating one. The entire experience is controlled by sensors and an audio guide offered in multiple languages. A good idea… in theory. The problem, we discovered, is that if one thing goes wrong- everything goes wrong.
When we arrived, the surly front-of-house staff – who later informed us that they were from a sub-contracted security company and had virtually nothing to do with the Museum – thrust the audio guides at us along with a complicated brochure and told us abruptly that some of the exhibits hadn’t yet been translated into English.
Being in the business, we were quite forgiving, and tried to engage the only people on the floor in a conversation about what was meant to happen. They were uninformed and rude – and one told us crossly that everything we needed was in the brochure – read it and don’t bother us!
It was a good lesson. Technology can really enhance the exhibition experience, but it can also shut it down completely. Technology serves as an exciting invitation to explore more and interactive technology in particular promises the visitor they have a voice. Extending the invitation and then not delivering on any level- whether because the technology is not working, or because the staff won’t engage- is worse, in my mind, than not making the invitation at all. It’s like inviting someone to a delicious dinner, but not allowing them to eat.
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