6 Interactive Exhibit Planning Tips to Achieve Your Goals (Part 1)

Oct 16 2014

Just like any other exhibit in your museum or public venue, touch screen interactive exhibits should be well planned in order to achieve your interpretive and educational goals.  Follow these 6 tips to lay the foundation for success.

1.  Set Goals and Objectives
It might seem obvious, but setting goals and objectives is an important first step in planning an interactive touch screen exhibit component (Just like you begin any traditional exhibit plan).  It’s worthwhile to write down your goals and objectives so that they can be easily communicated to staff, contributors, vendors, funders, etc..  Some questions to consider are...  What is the purpose of the interactive component of the exhibit?  Attracting the attention of visitors is important but shouldn’t be the only purpose.  What are you trying to teach the visitor?  Is there information that is more easily presented to the visitor via computer screen than in the physical exhibit?  Do you need this information to be easily updated?  Are there multiple media formats to be included (photos, text, videos, sound, etc.)?

Just like any large undertaking, this is the time to “dream” and shoot high as far as goals go.  You can always scale back but it’s often difficult to expand the goals later in the project timeline.

2.  Research
Technology is constantly changing and offerings by software vendors can provide opportunities that you may not realize.  Pricing also changes so you don’t want to assume you can’t afford that 55 inch touch screen display because it’s very possible that the price has dropped.  You don’t want to enter into any interactive touch screen project with a closed mind as far as technology and software go.  So do the research.  Search the web for software vendors that specialize in museum interactives or educational kiosk programs.  Look through their offerings and see the projects they’ve worked on.  You may find customizable touch screen games that will save you money as compared to custom interactive program development (side note/shameless promo: that’s what we do).  You may find touch screen software that allows you to do the content or updates yourself (side note/shameless promo #2: we have these types of programs too).  You may need special software to do things that seem simple (like display a web site on a touch screen).  You may need to provide internet access for some software programs.  You may need more space than you anticipate for the hardware or cabinetry you want to utilize. 

Beyond searching the web, you can also contact a qualified software developer and/or technology specialist to get recommendations from a different point of view.  You may be surprised how much time and money you can save by utilizing the experience of a professional.  I recently read a post on Linked In that stated “if you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, see how much it costs to hire an amateur.” That can be VERY true.

Don’t skip this task, especially if you are technologically impaired but even if you are a techie.  Input from professionals can be valuable to any exhibit planners.

3.  Create a Budget
Another obvious tip?  Perhaps, but maybe I should call this one Create a Reasonable Budget.  Many of our museum clients apply for grants to fund their exhibit projects.  In our experience, our clients are contacting us early in the process to make sure that they get accurate and comprehensive pricing with which to include in their grant proposals.  However, we do get calls from museum exhibit managers with a fixed budget due to an awarded grant.  These clients are very limited as to what they can actually afford to produce (although we gladly work with them to get the most out of their budget). If you are not using the assistance of a qualified vendor and going it alone there are a number of things to keep in mind.  As far as touch screen kiosk hardware is concerned you need to budget for all of your computer components and for any additional devices required.  These additional devices may include a vandal-resistant keyboard or mouse, a webcam, or a printer.  You also need to include any additional cables or devices, i.e. network cables, video or USB extension cables, power strips and extension cords, etc.  If there is cabinetry involved, your fabricator should include any accessories but if you are going it alone, don’t forget exhaust fans, power management, and mounting hardware (if applicable).  On the software side, if your computer will be connected to the internet you should have virus protection and possibly firewall software installed (along with the subscription for the antivirus software so it stays up to date).  If you are using Powerpoint or another presentation software package, don’t assume you can use the version on your desktop (although there is a free PowerPoint viewer from Microsoft).  Shameless Plug #3 - we offer a touch screen kiosk program template to allow PowerPoint users to get a jump start on their “do-it-yourself” programs.  For any educational kiosk games or custom interactive software, your software developer should include anything needed to run their programs.

These first 3 tips are important to remember.  Come back to read Part 2 where we’ll provide 3 more important tips for interactive exhibit planning. If you have comments or questions please comment here or give us a call or send us an email.

Chris Meyer
CD Meyer, Inc./point2explore

point2explore is product line of customizable touch screen kiosk programs including interactive games and informational programs.  point2explore products are currently running in over 100 museums and have been used in corporate events across the country. Visit our web site at http://www.point2explore.com.


Visit Our Web Site

Click Here to visit point2explore.com for touch screen kiosk software and products.

Exhibit Multimedia Blog

point2explore - Exhibit Multimedia Blog
Privacy Statement    |   Terms Of Use

Copyright C.D. Meyer, Inc. All Rights Reserved