Blog

Alexander the Great goes mobile

By: Dr Lynda Kelly, Category: At The Museum, Date: 16 Nov 2012

Our Alexander the Great exhibition is about to launch. What are we offering for mobile devices? 

Alexander the Great #1

 © Erwin Olaf

Alexander the Great is our latest blockbuster exhibition featuring an amazing collection from the State Hermitage Museum, Russia. To extend the visitor experience, as well as meet the needs of audiences with visual impairments, we developed two mobile products for the exhibition: A Great Story and Pack ‘n Plunder.

A Great Story enables visitors (either when they are at the exhibition, before they visit or after they leave) to access the exhibition text via their smart device (such as iPhone, tablet, Android and even a desktop or laptop for those who are old school!). For those with visually impairments they also have the option of audio. Although this may look and feel like a conventional app, we actually built a mobile website. To get A Great Story on your device go to this URL and copy it to your home screen.

Pack ‘n Plunder was developed specially for kids. Alexander has ordered his page, Atticus, to “pack and plunder” for his next trip by finding 15 special objects. This product is also a mobile website that visitors can add to their smart device by going to this URL and copying the address to their home screen. Unlike A Great Story, Pack 'n Plunder is designed to be used within the exhibition itself.

Why are these not conventional apps? First, the content is available across ALL devices without the need to go to a store and download something. Second, they are cheaper and much faster to produce. Third, findability is increased as we can push people directly to a website. Finally, we can now re-purpose the infrastructure we have invested in for other uses (for example, the framework for A Great Story has been re-used for the INTERCOM 2012 conference program).

Our user-testing showed that potential visitors responded well to A Great Story, but wanted the ability to take them home on their device, rather than necessarily use within the exhbition. They loved the idea of the audio although expressed concerns that it may cause noise problems (something we need to consider in our roll-out strategy). The kids also liked Pack 'n Plunder, although there were reservations about the the difficulty of a few clues (which we subsequently changed). We will be undertaking tracking via Google Analytics, as well as talking to and observing visitors, so will keep you posted.

You can find out more about our thinking behind native and non-native “apps” in this blog post. Meantime get online and get mobile (and buy your ticket to this “must-see” show!).