There Isn’t An App for That: Aligning Platform and Content Strategy for a New Mobile Tour

We are now living in a post-app digital world. In 2010, Apple trademarked the phrase “there’s an app for that.” Since then, it really did seem like there was an app for almost everything, including every museum. Now, a decade after the launch of the App Store, what’s happened to all those apps? In 2019 the Jewish Museum unveiled a new platform-agnostic mobile tour for the smart phone-equipped visitor of today—no app downloads required. Designed as a Single-Page Application, the platform is accessible across all devices and browsers, lowering the barrier to entry. Equally important, the platform facilitates multiple layers of rich storytelling, allowing visitors to “choose their own adventure” as they select various thematic pathways through the collection. Audiences may take a tour from artists like Kehinde Wiley and Isaac Mizrahi, hear a rabbi discuss the origins of Jewish ritual, or join the conversation with a group of 5th graders as they explore the museum. This panel will bring together team members responsible for the mobile platform design and new approach to storytelling to discuss the ways technology and content were developed in tandem, as well as in response to the Museum’s unique operating model and functional needs.


Unknown Speaker 00:00
Hi, everyone, welcome. I'm glad to see you all here. My name is Nora Rodriguez, I work at the Jewish Museum, I produce interpretive content. I'm so happy to be joined by John from acoustic guide. And Claudia from coding theory. In July of this year, we launched a new mobile platform. And that's really just a, it's a single page web application that is really primarily for people to access audio guide content, although we'll talk about some of the other content that's available there too. And that process of building that platform really coincided with a rethinking about how we about the content itself and our in our approach to creating that content and our in our approach to the voice that we wanted that content to have. So what we're going to be talking about today is those sort of two parallel evolutions, the evolution of the platform, and then the evolution of the content. And I'm really happy to be joined by our two sort of partners in that journey. So I have the enviable position of kind of talking about the problem, and then you guys are going to talk about the solution. So before I jump in, I'm gonna sort of set the table and tell you a little bit about where we were when we started this project. About a year before, or maybe about six months before we initiated the project, we had reinstalled our permanent collection. So if you heard us speak yesterday, you know that we sort of transitioned from working from a very linear story of Jewish history and Jewish culture, to one that really mixes up contemporary art and Judaica, material culture, ritual culture, and fine art. And, you know, I think this is in line with what a lot of institutions are doing in terms of how they're thinking about showing the permanent stuff. And drawing some type of connections between things that might be sort of unusual. So for example, this is a painting by Kinder Wiley next to a paper cut called a Misra, which is sort of a ceremonial object, this actual paper cut was the inspiration for the background behind the painting. So So thinking about, and actually it's, in fact, part of a triptych, right next to these objects, there is a beautiful ornamental Torah Ark, which also itself tells a story of migration and evolving visual culture. So, you know, thinking about the permanent collection as an opportunity to to draw these kinds of unusual connections. You know, the other thing that was happening at the same time, and I think a lot of us saw a slide that was similar to this yesterday, was some type of app fatigue for us. And up until this point, we had been creating a separate application. For every single audio guide we were creating at the museum, which is pretty nuts. So if you were, for example, to go see two different shows, you would have to download two different apps, to get audio guides for those shows, which was a nightmare for everyone. You know, in 2009, Apple coined the term, there's an app for that, which is also the inspiration for the title of this talk. And so we were asking, you know, what is happening to all those apps? You know, it's I think it's not a surprise to most of us that are that are obsessively downloading apps, when you visit a museum that you kind of download it once, and then it sort of sits there and you don't use it again. 77% of users are apps, we're using 77, we're losing 77% of their users, within three days of downloading. We were finding that our visitor experience agents were spending all their time helping people reset their iTunes passwords, as opposed to helping them understand, you know, the content that was available to for them. So we were thinking, you know, how can we lower the barrier to entry, you know, people didn't want to download an app because they didn't have enough room on their phones. So this is sort of the the soup the context in which we started, you know, thinking about the the barriers to visitors experience experiencing interpretive content.

Unknown Speaker 04:40
There were a few other challenges. So So here's so this is sort of the context in which we launched this, you know, we had a new installation of the permanent collection, that permanent collection is asking us to think about interpretation a little bit differently. And also, I think, and you know, I will say that my role is is a con and producers. So you're getting this story from that perspective, right. And I think one of the big questions that came up for us is, you know, we are a, a institution that centers identity, although I would argue that all museums are identity institutions are or have have identity at their center. So how do we sort of express some of that nuance and that complexity and that intersectionality in the collection, and even go deeper in the interpretive content, we had some sense of app fatigue. And then the last thing that I have yet to mention is a very specific operational challenge, which is that at the Jewish Museum, we do not hand out devices, we do not exchange money. On the Sabbath, which is Saturday, we have free admission on on Saturdays, which actually happens to be our highest day of visitation. So this also means that we do not give out devices or audio guide devices. So that's was an added layer of complexity. And we sort of affectionately have called our solution hacking of the Sabbath.

Unknown Speaker 06:22
So So that sort of is where we start the story

Unknown Speaker 06:29
where our story begins. So what do we set out to do? You know, I've mentioned this desire to, you know, surface diverse perspectives, I think that is particularly important at an institution like a Jewish Museum where people come in with some, some vision of what it means to be Jewish. So. So we went in really hoping to like broaden the voices that we were that we were surfacing in our content. You know, when I started this, and I guess I'll just back up and say, when I talk about goals, I think for us, there was a what, what do we want to say? And then there was a how do we want to say it? And, and I don't think that cuts quite evenly as content and technology. But I think that you'll see some of that there. So second goal reveal deep stories. I mean, storytelling is like the buzzword of 2016. I don't know, but and it's my favorite buzzword, I have to say, but I found that as soon as I got to the museum, and I actually was hired, just after this process started, you know, everyone was saying to me, we want to tell deep stories. And in my experience, people have very different ideas about what that means. And what a story is. So a big part of this process was talking to people about what what we mean, when we mean storytelling. And I think that'll come up a little bit more in the content piece. And then the the, the last goal was was this idea of forging connections, not only between artworks, but and, you know, and helping people circulate and, and make connections between exhibitions, but also make connections between, you know, Jewish history, Jewish experience, you know, Jewish values, whatever that means, and values that are held between people that are not that don't have an experience with Judaism. Okay, the house. So how do we want to communicate? Well, we knew that we need needed something that was sustainable. So something that, you know, we don't have an in house developer, so something that could be pretty flexible and evolve with us. And also, something that I think we're really seeing now is our context, content strategy is evolving. And we're asking, how does that impact the design of the platform, and we wanted something that would be fairly flexible to change with us. Okay, great. So that was the problem. We had so many are now the problem, the challenge, there's so many challenges. And so now at this point, I get to hand it over to Claudia, who came in and saved us.

Unknown Speaker 09:09
No pressure, do I have to stand up? Sit down. I don't know why I was not on. Okay. Great. So, Claudia Rashami. I'm design director at COVID theory, San Francisco. And I'm here to provide a little insight from a design perspective around how we really tried to reimagine the mobile tour experience for the Jewish Museum, given those set of challenges. So initially, the task was conceived a compelling and flexible digital execution. As Nora mentioned, they were reinstalling the permanent collection so to accompany that, and really drive visitor engagement with the Jewish Museum and the artworks. So we framed our approach around these five fundamentals. So visitor engagement, we wanted to focus on really enhancing the in museum experience when you're on site. So you shouldn't be glued to your phone, you shouldn't have to be to find the content you need. It should be a seamless extension of the physical experience, holistic collections, we really do want to, we wanted to forge those connections, as Laura mentioned, between not only exhibitions, but their permanent collection so people can, can, you know, draw those connections keep circulating, thanks to the flexible architecture and implementation as an angular single page application in the interest of just compatibility and accessibility across platforms and devices, especially in consideration of the Sabbath and those limitations. That was our approach. And it had a headless CMS really running it so that content authors could really follow a post once Publish Everywhere model making the content, very easy to manage and evolve over time. And based on the data that we're getting, we've had the opportunity to have a continued relationship and make some focused updates to the experience. So not only in terms of the front end design, but also just how we path users and just considering what's the information they're trying to, to find? And what functionality are they really trying to use when when they're interacting with this app experience. And lastly, Jewish identity, and just extending the goals of the Jewish Museum and to the tools they use to communicate with their audience and making sure everything felt on brand intuitive and accessible. through the lens of those five fundamentals, we created a key set of features. So around guided tours, not only did we want the Jewish Museum to be able to surface these stories and themes, whether it be kits, collections, or more around Judaism very seamlessly, but we wanted people to be able to find single, single artworks very easily. And in the the way that it's organized is every artwork has a numerical code associated with it. And that can have several layers of media, supplemental media associated with it there. And so having that be easily surfaced within the application when you're on site. And also when you're off site, having that be a very visually driven experience where related content is surfaced through related taxonomy. And so people continuously pass, so you're never finishing a tour, and kind of like now what so just continuously ensuring that related content and themes are surfaced.

Unknown Speaker 12:25
The solution ultimately, and this is kind of TLDR. But our solution was just to conceive of a dynamic companion style mobile tour experience, one that really served to guide users through the artworks when they're in person, but also seamlessly extend itself off site. So making sure that we could, you know, that actually gave us the opportunity, I should say, to really extend the reach and impact of this exclusive content. Because there's, there's a lot of content in the works, you know, from artists and poets and writers, to just interesting people like rabbis, that really supplement provide additional context and history and stories behind these artworks. So making sure that that's very easily accessible. And our technical build allows for content editors to just manage that content over time as the organizational goals evolve. So as you can see here, mobile first was very much the focus. Initially, we wanted to just ground users in the present moment when they're on the museum shouldn't be glued to their phone, it's about it's about your in person experience. We wanted everything to be very accessible. So not only extending the very strong branding, that Jewish Museum already has in play into this very utility driven moment, but also making sure that the visuals and the artworks could take center stage and that the UI was minimal and not cumbersome and not competing with that. So Visual first. And then just in our motion paradigms, and the choices we made in layout, making sure that everything was very swipeable clickable, there was a very broad range in the demographic in terms of age. So making sure that things weren't things were very inclusive in terms of that as well. And so nothing was hard to use, and everything was intuitive, even considering the Floor Plan motion, how that echoes the carousels, so just making sure that that's consistent throughout the experience. And also, as you can see, in the second screen, it's just a guided tour, we test edge cases, we wanted to make sure that this was bulletproof across all responsive responsively across all viewports because people could access this web app through through anywhere and that was the goal. So just continued exploration and engagement with this content on or off site.

Unknown Speaker 14:43
We have a video now. So we'll give you a little filler. Was there anything else you wanted to say before we

Unknown Speaker 14:51
know I mean, I'm sure things will come up in questions. The

Unknown Speaker 14:57
stakes are high Okay, I'll hand it over to John John ticket, and I will not be standing island here. Who here is right? So John Simon, hello, I'm Executive Producer at a consumer guide. And starting off, we have a long history with the Jewish Museum we've been we've been producing content for them for a very long time, a lot of relationships, very important partner for us that we value a ton. So when we walk into a meeting, they're like, we're kind of moving away from audio tours. We said. Cool, that's fine. We're audio tours are totally you know, where those are. So yesterday, we did that. We actually do experiences and that's that's kind of what they're looking for is are they're reinventing the visitor experience, are we reinventing are rethinking the way that visitors are interacting with objects with content with stories, everything? So it's been really good. It was really it was a really good, I, you know, it's a really good way to start the conversation. So we started with, where should we start. And the first sort of things that came up, were moving away from tours living into shorter audio contents collection. So rather than a 20, stop tour, 20 object tour, we're talking about five, maybe 10, a much more modular approach, where you have smaller groups that are speaking to certain things, whether it's themes or whatever else, we'll get into that in a minute. Crossover, whether it's one object with multiple points of view crossing over, or the be the ability to crossover between objects in different galleries and different exhibitions and different themes. So that idea of like being kind of like Claudia was talking about being able to sort of segue, there's never an end, there's a segue from one thing to another, and there's some sort of interrelatedness, there's this connected feeling. And then obviously, we left it open for many more things to come as the conversations continued. So change, we talked about changing a lot for months? What were the changes? What could we change? It was a lot of brainstorming, we would go in thinking, Okay, this is when we're going to start working with this is our starting point. And then we'd walk away after two hours of conversation going, Nope, not yet. So it was really it was a lot of steps. And then all of a sudden, everybody has dumped jumping in with both feet, and really into the deep end of the pool, and a lot of times, honestly. So the first thing we one of the things we talked about was creating thematic groups. And that even the definition of what a thematic tour or thematic content selection would be, we're really trying to move away from the term tour sorry, was difficult. It's hard, it's really hard to define. There's very broad themes that we talked about. And to some degree, I think we're successful in creating sort of thematic containers that we put certain pieces of content into.

Unknown Speaker 18:04
Can I jump in here also, just to clarify, I also think, you know, I brought up in the beginning is this redesign or reinstallation of our permanent collection. And I think that desire for a thematic tour really came out of feedback from visitors. So this, you know, what had formerly really been a very clear linear path, now felt, I think, much more dispersed, or, like there was there. What we heard from visitors is that they wanted to tell a story. And so these thematic tours were a way of sort of creating carving a pathway for visitors based on a theme such as Jewish ritual, or migration or queer identity. So that visitors could sort of choose a lens through which to travel through the permanent collection, right.

Unknown Speaker 18:55
And there with one of the things that came up as is, like you, like we talked about is that they're sort of like, the way it why it says thoughtful and foundational is that we were thinking about what were these themes, but they are foundational to the museum to their goals. So the stories they want to tell, and especially with the new with the reinstall, it was a completely different and it's it's kind of difficult, it might be difficult or a little bit confusing to understand what the point of each of the collections is, or each of the exhibition spaces is, without a little something to sort of give you some connections. So all that kind of came into play. And so when I said that the it was difficult to define themes or to to actually create these themes that I think that that was why there was a lot we had a lot of goals and try and what we were thinking about in terms of reinventing or evolving the content. So in terms of a little bit of the working process, we we had a sort of a less traditional sound like the Jewish Museum as Norris Ed had a very traditional set of our very traditional permanent collection. to an exhibition and very traditional audio tour, and this was not going to be that this was this was this was going to be different. It led to so a different format, different sound, like I said, smaller, smaller tour containers, sort of the scripting changes. You know, it's we were we decided to lean a lot more heavily on interviews on voices outside of the museum, we were really interested in different points of view, rather than the usual curatorial point of view, and really leaning on what people were saying and sort of just giving out giving out a platform in our in our scripts, rather than sort of the traditional, here's a curator telling you this point that you may have heard before. And then also we want real work. We're really working on defining the museum's voice, giving them a voice that reflected what their new goals were with the new installation with, sort of their mission with this sort of idea of, as Nora mentioned, the idea of the Jews. It's the Jewish Museum, but they're an art museum as well. It's not. It's not strictly Judaica, it's there's a lot going on there. And that voice is a very complex voice. And it's a diverse voice. And that's what one of the things we're really working on. That included a style shift, which was much more like I said, conversational leaning on these interviews, a lot of different points of view, which was really fun. But if you came to our to our, to the presentation that Nora and I did yesterday, you got to hear the kids point of view, which was like I spent four evenings or I late afternoons from what two or three hours apiece with eight or 10/5 grade girls who had a lot to say. And it was it was at big, some of the stuff that they come up with, I really don't know where it came came from. But it was amazing. So and then finally, we're talking being irreverent, we are who try and then we sometimes get some pushback. So it's trying to break out of the mold a little bit.

Unknown Speaker 22:12
So that crossover that we talked about multiple points of view, so within any specific object you get to hear you can hear kids talk about it, you can hear an artist talk about it, you can hear a voice from the community talk about it, and really give you just a different different ways of really approaching these objects. And it's makes them really come alive. It's not just the object anymore, there's a story, there's a history, there's a personal connection, and it's all things that really it goes really beyond just, here's this object, here's what it means. It's here's what it means to me. And here's something that's really maybe you haven't thought about before or and if you are not Jewish and have no idea what some of these objects are or what they mean. It really gives a such an emotional resonance that it's been really, it's been really interesting for me, I'm not Jewish. So there was a lot of things I learned. And it was it was been, it's been really great. Also, then the connection between objects, being able to put objects together within within a specific somatic tour really sort of connects things that maybe otherwise wouldn't have been connected. And then as I mentioned, a lot of a lot of voices, those diverse voices, we had a lot there's an artists, there's a bunch of artists, tours, artists who talk about objects that aren't their objects, they're objects that they're reacting to. So it's a different, you know, it's a different point of view. And it may not be a Jewish point of view, it may just be a point of view of how does it speak to me, as I mentioned, the young people and seriously if you haven't heard that tour, just go listen to a couple of them. They're amazing. Community Voices, whether it's rabbis or other other people in the community who also have really interesting personal stories, personal histories and what things meant to them throughout their life. The diversity was just that's been that's been one of the keys and then accessibility for one thing, verbal description we've been working on, which is not something that we had done before with the with the Jewish Museum. And then also you'll show some ASL video later on

Unknown Speaker 24:11
a couple things to offer.

Unknown Speaker 24:14
So the question was how to make it work. And as I mentioned, it was sort of a stuttering start that then just exploded and we I think we were working on one point on like five different things, five different projects at once or something among various people, not just me, but Julie Truman and some other people out there people that are in our acoustic guide. So as I mentioned, shorter modules so I don't think we've with the exception of our so one one sort of caveat is the temporary exhibitions are staying semi traditional in the sense that they're 20 inch stops, you know, the same kind of idea that you would do with a with a temporary, temporary show. But for things that are more of the thematic or the artists voices, certainly those are generally shorter. Probably No more than 10 or 15, at tops, and well, you only work on like five or six at a time, so that we could really concentrate on them really make them have their have them come to life and really be something that was special and different for, for what we've what we've been doing. Definitely shorter production timeline, and that's manageable with, because there's fewer, but we still are, we're crashing through something, we had a crush through some of these really quickly. As soon as the platform was finally ready, we were just like, bam, we got to get these in there. And, you know, it's probably for the best because I tend to be someone who I would work on something forever, and still not be happy with it. So in this case, like we didn't have a choice, and we were just like, Okay, it's completely new, we're just gonna like get in there and record and then we're gonna make it and then it's done. And it's out there. increased production value in the past, the Jewish Museum had like some music, a little bit of this in their, in their tours, this we've really bumped it up. And there's, we've really sort of made the the pieces much more immersive much more as people want in our company, like say experiential, that sort of are much more enveloping and much more. It creates a different sense when you're when you're listening to this and experiencing the object of the same time and hearing this intense story with just just enough production value that you don't notice it, but it really enhances the experience. And of course, you know, it all comes down to the storytelling that we're doing. And I think we've been really because the Jewish Museum has a lot of voices that they can mine. And they have some amazing things to say, we've really been able to make compelling content. And when the cut the there have been cases where we've worked on things, or we've recorded things, and it's just not been that compelling. And we just, we know that and we we elect to not, not not prioritize that. So really making the things that are compelling. And only putting those things out there I think has been really important. And then those last two things are pretty self evident. Like we've been, like I said this scenario the other day, and I I meant it like there are, this has this has been a partnership. And it's been really it's been an interesting experience, because it does sort of broke our mold a little bit in the terms of the way we work. I mean, we work we create a lot of content. So there's a necessity in a certain level for us to have a method of working. But in this case, like partnering specifically with Nora, we talk way too much like Nora is my friend now. We we nor has seen me do weird things that I had no one peep no other people have never seen probably with very few exceptions. But the fact is, is that it's because of that there's been this there has been a real collaboration that's been made that's enabled this creation of a different breed of content for this museum. And it's and then being able to be delivered in a different way I think is also it's made it so that it's so that kind of like he was saying being able to surface things that people might not otherwise experience. And it's a it's a lot of content in a certain way. And if you didn't if it's not presented in the right way, I think it wouldn't work. But I think the the sort of synergistic way in which the content and the delivery have come together. It's been really, it's been, it's been good.

Unknown Speaker 28:31
I'm very happy about it. I'm so glad. So I think actually we're going to we're gonna take a look at the platform and then listen to a couple things. But I think I'm glad you brought up the quantity of content, because I think that that has been like a real question for us recently. And we'll get into that a little bit when we talk about kind of like where we're at now and lessons learned and all those things. So do you want to say anything? No, no,

Unknown Speaker 29:00
I was thinking about when I was actually in the physical space, how the walls are not permanent installations, exhibitions. That was a challenge in terms of design. We didn't we couldn't just just in how we treated instructions to get to the next step. And making sure that that was very clear since users could be bouncing from room to room. And things do shift over time with different exhibitions. So it was an interesting design challenge and as John mentioned, when you're in the space was such history you know, you could love art but you may not know as much about an artist and so having that ability to to dive deeper without feeling bogged down by the by the device was really the key focus when you're when you're in person. But having that extends seamlessly to when you are just looking to get into this kind of like wormhole of, of inspiration and discovery and how that how that plays out off site.

Unknown Speaker 30:02
So here's our mobile platform. You know, it's I think it's pretty standard in that you have a search function, you have tours function, who remembers the object that was going to pull up? This is? No, it's 44. So, you can see that, you know, actually, let me go back for a second. That the there's sort of these layers of audio that are available that come up right on search. And you can click on learn more and see more about the object and see which tours it's a part of, like we said, we have these kinds of different intersecting pathways. So an object might exist on multiple tours. This object is a nice example. Because you have a layer that is a rabbi, it's a real authority figure talking about what is this thing called Chanukah. And then we also have a tour that's a track that's part of our series called artists voices, which is artists speaking about artworks. And here we have a video by Douglas red law, who's a pretty remarkable deaf poet who performs with movement in ASL. So I think we're gonna play just a little clip and I you know, earlier I brought up these kinds of this concept of storytelling and what it is to tell a story and, and that really different people, a curators idea of what a story is, is, tends, in my experience to be often very different than what someone in the education department or someone in the marketing department means when they say the word story. But I am hopeful that we're kind of able to capture these different facets of storytelling. So you might have some idea of what a rabbis under, you know, sense of story is, here is Alex and Myra Kalman, who are artists Myra did a mural in Rosslyn daughters at the Jewish Museum. And so here Here they are talking about Hanukkah in their home.

Unknown Speaker 31:55
So now we're in the room of the menorahs the Mina wrote, and I have a very strong response to because we're a secular ish family that has roots in a very observant family that was once kosher and observe the Sabbath and then little by little, it fell away. That's Myra

Unknown Speaker 32:14
Kalman, an artist and illustrator with her son, Alex Kalman, a designer, curator and writer,

Unknown Speaker 32:21
but we observe the holidays. And Hanukkah was a big one, of course, and it's a very festive one. But we're incredibly impatient family and don't like to follow rules. So we light as many minerals as we can, with all the candles the first night, my feeling is, the more the better. Let there be light. Let there be festivities, lots and lots of Lacus and lots of people.

Unknown Speaker 32:45
The Jewish Museum's collection of Hanukkah lamps is the largest in the world at just over 1000 pieces. This installation contains over 80 examples from that collection organized by their materials.

Unknown Speaker 32:58
We would make minerals out of fruit fruit. Is that right?

Unknown Speaker 33:03
Like oranges and lemons and you know, cutting you know, just everything we had around the house that could be a menorah, potatoes, remember the potato menorahs? Look? He's looking at me like what are you talking about? Course I remember them. And I guess that way we didn't have to give you presents every night which is absurd. About I remember. You remember not getting presents?

Unknown Speaker 33:24
What is the story of Hanukkah? Exactly? Well, legend

Unknown Speaker 33:27
has it than Judah and the Maccabees. Or somewhere? Where were they? They were somewhere. And they didn't have enough. Something Oh, my God. That's right. They didn't have enough oil to light,

Unknown Speaker 33:46
the light to see.

Unknown Speaker 33:49
And there was a miracle. And there was enough light for eight nights.

Unknown Speaker 33:58
Well, the nice thing is that elements from the conditions stay a part of your experiences. Now, you might not know the historical relevance, but you create your own meaning and your own sense of joy through it. So perhaps you don't know why the menorah exists exactly, but it is still a source of happiness and poignancy in your life.

Unknown Speaker 34:24
You can hear more about Hanukkah on our Jewish rituals audio tour

Unknown Speaker 34:33
Alex really brought it home for us. So I don't know you maybe you're not surprised by this. But that track there was some conversation internally about whether we could have a track like that that's the irreverent part. Right. That's the irreverent part. And you know and about whether like not knowing the story of Hanukkah is like an is a way of being Jewish which of course it is, you know, that like feeling some type of feeling connection but also alienation from your culture. Are is obviously not unique to being Jewish, but also is a part of being sort of, like, you know, an assimilated Jewish person in this country. And I but I honestly think that that track could only exist with the, to hear more about Jewish rituals, you know, tap the next track line at the end. So having these kinds of different layers and different like facets, or different ways of telling a story, I think sort of like, gives space for, for some for a little bit of lightness and humor. And I think often there's like this real, you know, attachment to like, if we only have one chance to tell the story. And so we have to it has to be perfect, and we need to give people all of the information. So from there, I guess we'll talk about what's next. And about how things have sort of, like evolved through this process. So updates to the platform. Do you want to talk about this? Or do you want me to talk about this? In the works? Yeah, sure. So, um, you know, I definitely, there's a lot of things that we that feel so obvious now that I think that weren't that we've sort of sort of surfaced for us in this process. I mean, the biggest one is that we really built this platform to do one thing really well, which is to serve audio content. We have started developing a lot more ASL videos, and not only ASL videos, but also working with deaf artists and asking them to sort of like produce content. That is like a part of their work and a part of their practice. The platform is really, I think, has some growth, some in terms of how we're surfacing that video content. So for example, if you were looking closely, you saw that, you know, even an object that has video associated with it won't have video come up as part of the search results.

Unknown Speaker 37:02
Right, I think that our initial goal was really focused on enhancing that in museum experience. And we were shying away from trying to do too much as a, you know, a true a true app would would maybe offer. And, you know, I've been to other other meet nameless museums, where I feel like I am looking around or like sitting on a bench at some point is trying to interact and find the next thing and looking around and seeing similar experiences around me. And so we were really sensitive to that. And we did our due diligence and went around and experienced other other mobile tour experiences in order to kind of, you know, have the most informed opinion moving forward. And of course, we the data is informing some of some of these targeted fixes. And it's, we don't want to bury some of this rich content. And the more content that is being developed, I think is, is pushing more towards surfacing that even from the get go at at the point where you're entering a numeric code and searching for artwork. So in the view, when we were listening to the content there, that was a detail page, and that has a very flexible layout to where you could provide much longer content and insight around substrates and process and artist insight and history, as well as related content pathing. And so finding the right way based on how people are interacting with the app to maybe surface the video, even at a higher level. And this is something that I think we're adding in, you know, piece by piece and testing and re evaluating so that we're sensitive to kind of just bogging people down and gluing you to your phone. And you should. And all choices are made with that consideration of extending it seamlessly off site. So if you aren't in a position where you are just trying to get inspiration and dive deeper, it should feel very consistent and very easy to do as well.

Unknown Speaker 38:57
I'll speak a little bit to the evolution of the content too. Yeah, I'll let you know. So I think that one thing that really came out for us, you know, we initiated this series called artists voices, which I know a lot of art museums do, which is, you know, interview artists talking about both their own work and other works on view. And I think that what really came up for us is that when someone is speaking, is sort of given agency to choose works and talk about what is most interesting to them. It really ends maybe even bring along a friend bring along your son or your parent or someone else that you can kind of engage in conversation. It just yields something that's sort of magical and can't be scripted. And so we've been trying out sort of extending this model beyond artists and just inviting other people whose voices we want to hear. I think another thing it's funny because that Calvin track is something that we did really early in the process and it was actually sort of jarring for me to hear the narrator voice. We have been trying to move away from scripted narration. And whenever possible, I mean, my real personal goal is to name every single voice that you hear. So that you're always you're always know whose voice it is, even if it's a museum staff member that we're using as a narrator to say, you know, Hi, my name is Maria Rodriguez, I work in the shop or I work in security. And, and I'm the, you know, something I

Unknown Speaker 40:27
forgot to mention that one of the things that are newer tours, we have moved away from professional narrators altogether. We've been using in museums like people from the museum, or their narrators, not always curator, it could be an educator, it could be somebody else that so it's, it's read, that's part of that whole defining the museum voice. It's no longer a professional, polished voice. It's the museum's voice,

Unknown Speaker 40:50
literally. Yeah, a lot of voices, voices. But, you know, that has also necessitated, like some real changes in how we think about our process. And I guess the other thing I would say is that, you know, we started this process, saying We wanted these diverse voices. And I still think that's very important. I think that what we're continuing to think about is not only a diversity of voices, but thinking about intersectionality of voice, so asking people to think about their Jewish identity and how it overlaps with other facets of their identity, their language, their national origin, their gender, their sexuality, their race, and to and actually, to really make that quite explicit in how we approached them to be a part of a part of an audio guide. And so that's been exciting. And I'm excited to see sort of how that evolves. So that's sort of a little bit about where we're where we are in the process. I think we're still I mean, you know, this has been launched for how many months? Five months? A few months. And so I think we're like, still, it's certainly the process isn't over, we're still really thinking about what's next. So I'll end there and see if there are any questions.

Unknown Speaker 42:41
We do have some initial analytics, although I didn't bring a slide that has any specific numbers that I can share. So if there's anything specific you're curious about, I'm happy to let you know. Or maybe we could talk after the fact, you know, our pickup rate initially was pretty high people, the Jewish Museum quite like audio guides, it was around 18%. And we've seen kind of a small uptick, although one of the funny things is that we launched with a sort of two levels, special exhibition that had no audio guide, it was the Leonard Cohen exhibition, so it sort of was an audio guide in and of itself. So it's only been really in the last month that we've had a special exhibition audio guide. So we've been sort of holding off on trying to draw too many conclusions from our analytics, because it's been sort of a weird time for the museum, when really the only audio that's been available is permanent collection audio. And the other question you asked was how we've made it. We've marketed it. So it's mostly been through social the website, and then you know, signage on site. We haven't done any type of like, audio specific advertising campaigns. So can you mention that, like,

Unknown Speaker 43:54
what's the cause? I don't know this, but the own device versus the devices you have on site? Like what percentage are taking? Or yeah, just like, how does that how does that interact in that sort of scenario? So they just to just to explain, yeah, so obviously, you can use your own device, but they also do have a fleet of devices on site that, like we've like, that's what our traditionally had been doing with them. But they have a fleet of smart devices on site that you can that users can or visitors can use to access the content if they don't want to use their own device or don't have a device.

Unknown Speaker 44:25
Yeah, that's a great point. And actually, I know this has come up in other sessions. I mean, it's still is looking like the majority of people want to take out a device. It's something around, it looks like it's around 60 to 70% are actually taking devices out even though it is available on your phone, which is interesting and yeah, something for us to think about. Other questions? Can you do such a good job of calling I think you should be there to question.

Unknown Speaker 44:54
back their decision to use you workflows for atypical artworks recommend. Technology. And my other question was to catch it. But I'm really interested in this unique challenge. We have Saba who happen to be renting out devices. What is your alternative offering? I'm sorry, if I missed it? Or is there no.

Unknown Speaker 45:26
Right? Well, the alternative is that the, you know, the visitor experience agents offer that people can take the tour on their own phones. So it's, you know, it's just a website that they would visit.

Unknown Speaker 45:36
Yeah, it's a it's a web application. So it's accessible anywhere, even desktop computer. So it would just be a matter of social sign into Wi Fi, right? Or just local Wi Fi. And that enables me, as long as you have internet connection, that would be the alternative. And the workaround to the numerical code was that that was in play before we came

Unknown Speaker 45:57
into the picture. Yeah, but definitely, that's a decision that predated me,

Unknown Speaker 46:01
I think we had just aligned on, you know, making it consistent three code, because there was a lot of variety of systems. And the new, the numbers kind of vary, I think it was three and four at the time. But now I think it's only three. And I think our added layer has just been associating that content with those numerical codes and extending that to digital. But that was already in play. Yep, sure. Go ahead.

Unknown Speaker 46:31
I was just curious, with the greater use of personal devices, are you doing any sort of Wi Fi, charging stations? That kind of stuff?

Unknown Speaker 46:42
Yeah, that's a really great question, because I sort of skimmed over that. And this project really was initiated in tandem with a huge overhaul of our Wi Fi. So we've totally sort of, like revamped the Wi Fi system. And we've only actually in the last month, we have added charging stations in the lobby. And in sort of like the entrance to the some of the special exhibitions

Unknown Speaker 47:06
that was that kind of related to our challenge around the shifting walls, essentially, because we were thinking of beacons and having those kind of be having that be integrated into the directions that were giving up that we scaled back to make it much more flexible to have just the text in the audio, or I'm sorry, the instructions in the audio as part of as part of that content sometimes, versus relying on on that kind of a thing because of the shifting nature of the layout. So it's definitely consideration and form that you are also had your hand up

Unknown Speaker 47:42
a lot of other plans to kind of make that available across platforms as your CMS and other things like, are there ways people will get access to that content? Besides?

Unknown Speaker 47:58
You mean, off site in general?

Unknown Speaker 48:00
I'm curious if you're using your headless CMS to start to service that content on your website or across other locations? That

Unknown Speaker 48:11
hasn't been done yet. From our end? I mean, right now, it's still just within the mobile, the mobile, sorry, the web app experience. But I think, you know, I don't know if, as an organization you want to? It's definitely still on the main homepage. URL is just like an extension of that. In terms of I don't know, is that more of like a content question, if you're gonna bring that into the fold that into the website more?

Unknown Speaker 48:38
Yeah, it is folded in to some degree. So if you are searching the collection, through just our general web page, and you come upon an object that has audio content associated with it, you can listen to it just through the general webpage. And of course, everything's available on SoundCloud. But beyond that, I don't know that there's and then of course, yeah, the vision

Unknown Speaker 49:03
was approaching it that way was to allow for that flexibility. But I don't know if it's been if it's been implemented yet as such. Great idea, though. Yes,

Unknown Speaker 49:13
that but my question is similar.

Unknown Speaker 49:15
I have I have

Unknown Speaker 49:17
21 apps and all Congress have asthma, how hostage to those that have to release them back to the world. And, you know, let anybody get at that good audio, do text content at any time. So

Unknown Speaker 49:30
you did if I understand correctly, you sort of attach the audio content to the record of the object. And that's the way to get

Unknown Speaker 49:38
it exactly. Right.

Unknown Speaker 49:43
I was wondering about the decision initially, to turn this idea of, of, you know, be able to tell stories about each object. Why would that put into an app like personal view as opposed to like a kiosk or a button and also related to that How to get work when multiple people are at the same author, speaker form and what did that look like?

Unknown Speaker 50:10
I mean, I think, well for the district choice around making it not a kiosk, I think, thought off the table if there's a special exhibition I'd imagine. But I think that was just an accessibility to the information kind of a thing. We wanted that to be available off site. And that became a goal after the kickoff of the project, but it definitely happened before the design phase kicked off. So that we were, we were focusing on our layout and design choices to make the experience, although more focused on enhancing that in museum experience, but not dependent on being on site. So I think that was a choice around moving away from site dependent things like that. In terms of the speakerphone versus headphones, I don't know if you have more insight into how people are using that and how that's going.

Unknown Speaker 50:57
Yeah, well, we require people to use headphones in the gallery. So that's sort of like the easy response there. And and I would also just add that I think that generally the museum, the Jewish Museum, aims to kind of keep technology pretty light in the galleries. So that it feels like there aren't a lot of sort of screens or kind of like machinery in the space that that is sort of Yeah, mediating your interaction with the artworks. So I think that that was part of the goal with just having a concert is a lot of content to having something that was just sort of on a mobile device.

Unknown Speaker 51:50
have headphones available on site?

Unknown Speaker 51:54
Yes, yeah. We give headphones that people can keep and then we have kind of larger headphones that are available for rental?

Unknown Speaker 52:08
Yeah, great question. Because I actually feel like this has been something that we're kind of evolving on currently we provide iPod Touches, I think that the biggest challenge there is that the screens do not feel large enough. And so we're looking into just some devices that have larger screens, or even just providing iPads because I mean, yeah, even for me, I find the text hard to read.

Unknown Speaker 52:33
That was a consideration to when using your own device, since the age range was so broad, you know that I mean, I look over at my relatives, and they have the zoom level and the type size, very macro, very zoomed in and large. So I feel like that is something specific to your device and how you know, you need to have your settings. And so that was a benefit of allowing the experience to extend to your own device seamlessly. However, if the use case seems to be such that people still want to use these other, you know, these devices that are provided. So that's, that's, that's interesting to note, but the whole idea was to provide that, you know, so that it can feel already set up to how you, you need to experience it. Yes.

Unknown Speaker 53:18
So you guys mentioned that you guys are introducing multiple audio experiences. And we've actually tried that at our museum. And we found that, in fact, some of these new voices did not agree. Have you got any pushback

Unknown Speaker 53:49
on that? Yeah, that's interesting. We did a little bit of evaluation at the outset. And we definitely did hear from people that they wanted to hear experts curators. And I think that one response is to kind of have both is to so that people if they really want to hear that kind of expert voice, they can hear that and then we also have sort of this more like irreverent light voice that can

Unknown Speaker 54:12
be kind of like at the end of that of that track where they were like, now listen to their AI you can hear the rabbi tell you like, the legit story. And like that's kind of I think that's kind of the way we there's been that's that whole thing of being able to provide a diverse a diversity of voices about one object. It's not just like, Okay, we're assuming like, we're just all of you experts go away we don't want to hear from you anymore. And it's not like it's crowd sourced or anything like that. It's more what's a different point of view and adding a point of view I think it's more additive than it is replacing.

Unknown Speaker 54:51
Each point, separately, and experience so that way. Classical experts very to the point here.

Unknown Speaker 55:06
I mean, I don't know, I don't think there was any rules right now. No rules. So yeah, I think it's more, I think that is the case right now, because that's the way it's, it's sort of shaken out. I don't, I don't see that as being the only way we would do it now, like I do see like, it would be awesome to do have an expert and an irreverent voice talking to each other, like and had juxtapose them, I would, I would be all over that. So I think, I think that there's, there's a lot of ways we can handle it. And I think that's kind of the awesome part of, of the way the platform is, is like a gives you all this flexibility to be able to present different points of view in different ways. And whether it's two different tracks or one track or, you know, who knows why they can make something magic happen.

Unknown Speaker 55:55
from a design perspective, that was just in terms of kind of optimizing the experience, I think that we didn't want autoplay, and to just kind of take you right into the next one, we wanted to provide the opportunity to have the instructions and consideration of how layout changes and, and how that could evolve, we didn't want you users to ever be in a position where they're scrambling, they're confused, and they don't they don't know where they need to be or where the next art pieces and it's already playing. So that was the logic around distinct tracks from that perspective to keep that consistent, because that's the way the audio tours is currently implemented as well. So keeping that detail artwork detail view where the supplemental audio and video is presented as such, keeping that in line with the the tours and how that's kind of distinct tracks. Like what like it's very agile,

Unknown Speaker 57:01
there's a lot of flailing. Yeah, close collaboration,

Unknown Speaker 57:05
some parameters for content and what they were cooking up. And we framed our approach and adjusted our approach accordingly. And decisions like, like the continuous play, and like how to present instructions and how the tone should that be text, should that be audio as well. And, and that balance was kind of things that shifted, and evolved throughout the course of the project. And that's kind of, so it was all happening, sort of, you know, an overlap.

Unknown Speaker 57:36
kind of process, like, for instance, like we were on their base camp for this project. So I would all of a sudden get a whole set of new screenshots and like, oh, that's how it's gonna work. So and we would like we would, we did just the way we thought about it. And honestly, for the in terms of the content, it didn't necessarily affect us that much, unless we were doing things where we need to make sure like, think about how the crossover was happening, like, like being able to give verbal cues or anything like that.

Unknown Speaker 58:03
Talk earlier about how you want to make sure a lot of boards are wondering what to do about people who don't don't really know what they're interested in, how do you close certain things like meditation or whatever.

Unknown Speaker 58:20
from a design perspective, we really facilitated this kind of choose your own adventure experience, too. So whereas things are curated as tours, it's very easy to jump around. And also the way the UI works is like, it has your last played items still queued up so that if you do digress out out from the tour, you won't be thrown if you if you do want to jump back in. But from a design perspective, you could easily bounce around and that that kind of exploratory nature was was encouraged. And in terms of terms of that was from just from a design perspective.

Unknown Speaker 58:59
Yeah, that's a really good question. And I actually feel like it's something that we're really actively thinking about, because whereas for special exhibitions, there's typically two audio guides, there's like a, there's a audio guide, led by maybe a curator, and then there's often a verbal description audio guide. Whereas for this permanent election, we now sort of have this real wealth of content and, and many different audio tours, which is really unusual. You go to you, you think of going to a show, and there's one audio guide. So kind of how do we communicate that? And I think that we're really actively thinking about that in, in the platform, you saw that there's sort of like a tours section, and then that we have this section that's called artists voices, which is really just more audio tours, you know, that are led by an artist but I think honestly, we're still in really active conversation about how to name those sections. Do we want different sections do you want to a permanent collection section? And then also, you know, there's an element of onboarding, but of course, you know, we don't want to place too much of a burden on our on the visitor experience agents to kind of talk someone through the platform. So I do

Unknown Speaker 1:00:03
feel like there's a there's a bit of a serendipitous nature to it all, like, you find stuff because you end up someplace and like kind of like what quality saying is like you will listen to a track and then like, Oh, what's this other track with it, which could lead you to something else completely and you're suddenly off your tour, but you're pretty sight because it's kind of interesting. So, you know, I think I think it's a win win. Like it's just, it's yeah, those modular pieces sort of fit together in different ways. They're like Legos or something.

Unknown Speaker 1:00:31
Cool. So I think that we are out of time, but thank you all so much.