Without words. Design informative digital experiences for a post web world.

Tuesday, April 4th: 9:30am - 11:00am


Digital Engagement Manager @ MOTAT

Paper Abstract

Tell me about … ,  but wait, because as soon as you put fingertip to keyword and begin to write, you are throwing up barriers to access. Pre-readers – gone, early readers – intimidated,  visitors who don\’t know your language – excluded. MOTAT is a science and technology museum in Auckland, New Zealand. Our audience is primarily local families and schoolchildren. Our city is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world with the fourth highest foreign born population. Our science and technology topics are frequently complex. Our collection is often unknowable without explanation. The success of our mission to educate and inspire relies upon our ability to communicate facts, concepts, and context.

Are written words – the default – still the best medium for us (MOTAT) with our particular, but by no means unique, set of circumstances? We are not so sure. With an intergenerational, ethnically diverse audience, access and appeal is a tantalising challenge. One that plays nicely into the area of digital experience design as our digital technology platforms allow us to experiment with new modes. Such as, doing away with written language as default and pursuing a moving image and sound first approach to our new digital labels and interactives. Favouring wordless user interfaces that draw on the universally adopted design solutions of device OS and streaming platforms. And taking from game design and psychology, increasing engagement and retention by making our audience an active participant in their own \’education\’, revealing stories and information through ongoing interaction, rather than literally spelling it out for them on a page.

As the book and webpage paradigm is demoted, we now look first at how our objects can be the medium for their own stories through 3D modelling, 360 photography, augmented reality and other not-so-new tools of information communication. This approach is delivering benefits to our internal organisation as well. Two short examp

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