August 18, 2017
Interactive media, videos, games and digital directional maps can be useful tools to educate, inform and entertain — if instituted in the right way. However, museums, corporate lobbies, hospitals, etc., should not hop on board the media train just because everyone else is doing it. There are a number of things that should be considered before investing the time and money into any type of media. At Silver Oaks, we understand that developing a media project can feel like a daunting task. But it doesn’t have to be! Here’s a bit of guidance on the subject.
First things first
Study your audience and community
Would your audience and community benefit from a media installment? Do a visitor survey, or simply ask around to find out. Often times frequent visitors pose good ideas for media-based experiences.
Look at your institution
Will adding media components help your organization further its mission? If yes, go for it!
We have a saying here at Silver Oaks — “Never implement technology for the sake of technology.” Your content should should always be the driving factor when it comes to media. Would it make sense to have a way-finding map in the form of a VR headset? No. Think about the content, then the type of media that could complement it.
Keep in mind that technology is constantly changing, so have a plan for future updates. Nobody likes using out-dated media. Also, consider your internal capabilities. Do you have an IT person on staff who can can fix minor glitches? If not, you might want to consider hiring one.
Do your research
Study similar institutions that have implemented media. Do a simple online search to get an understanding of what’s out there. There are high ends (virtual reality, 3D technology, Disney World-like experiences), low ends (database interactives, touch screen games, digital map guides) and everything in between. Silver Oaks can help you reach your goals if you have a solid idea to begin with (knowing what technology is currently in use is important).
Also, look at your content. While you certainly don’t need to have all the details fleshed out, be aware of how much research has been done on the subject and how much needs to be done. It’s very difficult to create a five-minute documentary with only one photo of the subject.
Sharing is caring. Pitch us some of your ideas. Our creative team is, well…creative, but we’d like to hear your initial ideas to get the ball rolling. You’re the experts on your content, we’re the experts on bringing that content to life. So let us know what you’re thinking!
Hopping on the media train
So you’ve decided that media is the way to go. Here are some tips from our project managers, designers, and interactive programmers that can relieve headaches and help the project progress smoothly.
Audience and Purpose
- What is the purpose of your media? To educate, entertain, “edu-tain”?
- Who is your audience?
- Visitor demographic research can help ensure your content is age appropriate and targeted for maximum impact.
- Content is the most important component that you can provide us. And the more organized and complete it is when we receive it, the happier we are!
- “Provide all known information and content (logos, brand guidelines, fonts, etc.) and/or preferences/dislikes prior to the beginning of the project. This will save you time and money in the long run.” — Danny and Clint, Designers
- “Consider how often you intend to update content. If your exhibit needs to be updated on a regular basis, you might consider having us build an easy to use content management system (CMS). Keeping data up to date can be a chore, but it doesn’t have to be.” — Adrian and Pete, Interactive Programmers
- “Organization of media assets can become very important when working on large projects. Try to use folders with descriptive titles, and even consider including a text file “map” that lists where photos, copy, videos, or sound bites are to be used. That little bit of extra communication can save time and money.” — Adrian and Pete, Interactive Programmers
- “Organization of content is the key to media project success! Oftentimes I think clients are so close to their content that they forget we’re stepping in as outsiders and aren’t experts in their field. The more organized clients can be in naming and structuring their content, the easier it is for us to be experts in our field in bringing their story to life in an engaging and meaningful way.” — Grace, Project Manager
Sharing is Caring
- Please share your budget with us early on. Even if it’s a approximate, it helps our team to develop appropriate concepts while respecting your resources.
- Let us know what sort of time table we are looking at. We’re often working on multiple projects at a time, so understanding your schedule will make things go much smoother.
- “If this is a new exhibit, clients might consider how they plan to startup and shutdown digital media stations. Having this in mind when programming an application can make an exhibit easier to manage. Ease of access to presentation hardware is tied to this as well. No one wants to use a screwdriver and ladder to access a power button every day at closing time! Also, consider the noise level where you intend to install an exhibit. If it’s a busy place you might go easy on music and audible prompts to lessen the cacophony. Also consider not using sound prompts when running in an attract state as it can annoy staff and visitors alike.”— Adrian and Pete, Interactive Programmers
- “Trust your designer, that’s why you came here in the first place!” — Clint and Danny, Designers
“Communication makes everything run smoother, so keep in contact with us during production, and feel free to ask for progress updates. We’re excited to show you what we’re building!” — Adrian and Pete, Interactive Programmers
It’s all about the experience. If you would like to implement media into your museum gallery, lobby, hallway, etc., and you have quality content, good ideas, and a reason to have it there, we are here for you. Hopefully these tips will make your next media project go smoothly. Good luck!