A simple cross-channel experience for the Imperial War Museum

A simple cross-channel experience for the Imperial War Museum

Creating a cross-channel experience is often a challenging process, there are many factors that must be considered and understanding what benefits can be gained is not always easy. Recently I heard a talk about the Imperial War Museum and started thinking, what would I do if I could create a cross-channel experience for them?

The story

Frank wants to go to the museum and knows of a few exhibits which he recently saw discussed on social media that he really wants to see.

It seems a pretty simple story so let us create the experience, starting with the website.

The website

Frank knows the dates he intends to arrive at the museum so he visits the website to find out more about his favourite exhibits. When he arrives on the website he creates an account and starts adding exhibits to his checklist.

He then adds an arrival time to his checklist and informs the museum that he does not possess a portable tablet or smart phone and would like to hire one during his visit.

The museum

Frank arrives at the museum at the scheduled time and is greeted by a member of staff who is holding a tablet pre-installed with the museums tour application. In fact even his username has already been typed in so he simply enters his password and his guided tour begins.

As he travels around the museum the device communicates with exhibits and automatically ticks them off his wish list. Whilst in proximity to an exhibit Frank is given further details, the option to play audio snippets and popular comments left by other visitors.

For those who have children some interactive games are provided through the application allowing the child to interact and in some cases even control the exhibit.

Finally Frank is given the ability to express whether he likes each exhibit whilst in proximity or he can choose to ignore the option.

If Frank travels past an exhibit on his wish list but does not enter its proximity then he is informed and given instructions on how to get to the display. Should he get to the end of his tour and has not checked off all of his wish list items he is once again informed and given the option to go back to see them.

Finally as Frank leaves the museum he passes back the tablet to a staff member and they log him out of his account.

The email

Shortly after leaving the museum Frank receives an email and is informed an online virtual tour has been created for him with a link back to the Imperial War Museum website.

He clicks the link and arrives at a custom made virtual tour which has been generated using all of the exhibits he liked during his time at the museum. He is free to virtually re-experience his favourite exhibits and is offered the option of leaving comments for each one.

At the end of the virtual tour he is given a unique URL and the ability to share his personal tour with friends and family via social networks.

Future communications

We recorded how long Frank was within close proximity of each exhibit via the application on the tablet he hired. We also recorded how much he interacted with the additional information and sound clips which had been presented to him.

This allows us to create a profile of the types of exhibits Frank is likely to be interested in which can be used to create personalised virtual tours. As the museum changes its exhibits it also gives us the opportunity to inform him when new exhibits have been added which we know he would like to see.

This data also acts as a free feedback tool allowing the museum to understand which exhibits are most popular and which are generally ignored without having to directly ask anyone.

The end

In the current digital era most of the above suggestions are relatively easy to implement and the difficulties come from accurately populating the application with directions, exhibit information and proximity detection. These are all things that can be overcome and I like to think that soon this type of cross channel experience will be available from the Imperial War Museum and other museums all around the world.