Museums and the Web – day three

Mild hangover.

Couldn’t get to the demos – woke late and then had some emails and other stuff to do. But got down in time to see Silvia talking about bookmarking. Very interesting stuff – lots of people trying various things, and obviously of great interest to me with my mobile bookmarking site stufflinker. She spent a bit of time talking about My Art Space.

The problem I’ve always had with this is that it requires phones running special software. In fact right now it needs specific phones as well (I think?). In a museum context, I just don’t see how this could ever work – the thing we have fears about are often less about the tech and more about the soft stuff: who is going to man the tills? What if the phones go wrong? Who is going to charge them up? Do we need to take a deposit?

Of course, the alternatives are limiting:

  1. Let people install their own software (not going to happen),
  2. Wait until a big telco installs useful software on the phone pre-sale (some movement with Nokia / barcode readers for example) or,
  3.  Make do with the existing tech (SMS, MMS, audio)

Stufflinker does #3 – at the end of the day you are limited to 160 chrs but I still think you can build at least semi-interesting experiences once you link this to the web…And the benefit is that users are 110% familiar with the whole SMS thing AND everyone’s phone can do it. At least in the UK.

Anyway. I digress.

Silvia’s conclusions (people don’t tend to use bookmarking) seemed to be more about usability and visibility – they don’t understand the word “bookmarking”, or didn’t notice the label on-gallery saying they could save stuff, or simply – and this is intersting – didn’t understand that things saved on- or in-gallery could also be viewed at home. “Why would I want to bookmark something on this computer” was her way of putting this. I’d never thought of that, but I do this stuff a fair bit so linking virtual to real seems obvious to me. I can understand why it wouldn’t to others.

I dipped in and out of various sessions for the rest of the afternoon before getting talking to a bunch of people.

Then time for the closing reception at the de Young museum. Amazing view from the tower – got up there in time to see the light going. They also have an awesome arial shot of SF – unbelievable order in everything – sooo neat and tidy!

Had a few, got the coach back, food, and then spent a couple of hours talking to Dan Zambonini from the excellent Box UK – they’ve had some great recognition this week for the very groovy Click Density. Dan and I have got a couple of plans on the burner which I’ll talk about when they’re a little bit better formed…

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