Key consideration #8: Touch Screen Kiosk ROI

Dec 18 2012

Continuing our series:  Ten Key Considerations for Exhibit Multimedia Success.

ROI (Return On Investment) is a popular business term, but I believe that too many museums overlook the importance of tracking the ROI of an exhibit.  In simple terms, ROI means “What you get for what you spent” or “Was the expense worth it?”  Most museums, unlike businesses, wouldn’t track ROI based on dollars, but rather by usage, or response.  These things can be difficult to track for traditional exhibits, but for touch screen computer based exhibit elements, it’s really very easy.

Most touch screen kiosks are set up to run one computer program (or several programs, one  at a time).   One of a computer’s strengths is the speed in which it can do calculations or tasks.  Current computers are so fast that they seem to do multiple tasks simultaneously.  Running two (or even 3 or 4) programs at once is now commonplace for today’s computers.  Bottom line:  kiosk computers are typically underutilized.

Tracking usage is a very simple task for a computer.  By simply counting the times a program is used and saving the data to a file, valuable information is collected.  Add to the usage number the time of day and day of week and now you have data worthy of a Board of Directors meeting.  By knowing the busiest days and by forecasting the future visitor patterns, you can prepare to better accommodate your visitors.  All computer kiosks should track this basic data at a minimum.

Tracking response is just as simple.  Most educational kiosk programs offer choices to users, whether it is the choice of a program on the kiosk or choices within the program.  Tracking these choices will give you information on what subject matter interests your visitors and what types of programs they enjoy.  This data is valuable in future exhibit development.

Using surveys and quizzes also gives you an opportunity to track valuable data.  We have found that visitors are very willing to complete a simple survey to help you collect data.  They realize that the data will help you better serve your visitors and are glad to help with that effort.  You can easily set up a survey with questions like “what was your favorite exhibit?” or “what is your zip code?”  A quiz can tell you the knowledge level of your visitors and possibly the effectiveness of the other exhibit components.  Again, all of this data is very valuable and very easy to collect with your computer.  Using our point2explore Pop Quiz and Score! Market Survey programs will get you up and running quickly and affordably.

Finally, although tracking data is important for use by the museum in service and development, another important area where tracking ROI is valuable is in fund raising.  If you have data on the usage of your kiosk, you can present the data to prospective donors to give them a sense of the value of what they are contributing to.

So make sure that when you (or your software vendor) develop your kiosk programs, you include functions within the software to track data and you will benefit from every “touch” of the screen.

If you have any recommendations or additions, please comment by clicking the “Comments” link below.  We’d love to hear from you!!

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 50 museums and have been used in corporate events across the country. Visit our web site at


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