Mobile Bouleversement (or Coup d’état)

Jessica Suess, Oxford University Museums, UK

Published paper: Mobile bouleversement

In summer 2014, the Oxford University Museums were fortunate to be granted funding to install public Wi-Fi infrastructure across their four museums. This represented a challenge: not only did we have less than six months to install over one hundred new access points in our Grade 1 listed buildings, but in that time we also needed to develop engaging mobile content for our on-site visitors—with no dedicated budget.

In this paper, I review the process we have been through to develop that content, starting with our quick and dirty research, to begin to get an idea of what was needed. I talk about our decision to approach the problem collectively, which adds a new layer of complexity as each museum has its own brand identity and type and style of content. I explain how we are adapting existing content to produce a "minimum required offer" for launch day. I explain our decision to create an aggregating framework that links out to discrete content—like our mobile-accessible audio guides—so that our content is not tied down in a format we may wish to change within less than a year as usage provides a greater understanding of visitor needs.

I talk about some of the innovative experiments we are currently undertaking to see what else it will be possible to deliver in gallery as we seek to move from a "minimum" to an "ideal" offer. Experiments include using iBeacons to link natural history collections to tell the story of evolution; three-dimensional scanning to create architectural tours; geolocation to drive visitors between the museums and to the other cultural hotspots of the city; and user-collecting facilities to enable audiences to form their own collections.