Enabling visitors to self explore
SIDAC functions under the Handloom, Textiles & Handicrafts department, government of Odisha. They work towards the promotion of this sector, skill, marketing of crafts, the revival of languishing crafts and welfare of the artisans. Kala Bhoomi Crafts Museum is their initiative towards the same, where they aim at not only collecting unique objects but, to create a dynamic and interactive learning experience.
Acknowledging the fact that the museum is only over a year old and aims to inform its visitors well, it depends heavily on the tour guides. The museum lacked detailed information about the artefacts. There were information boards in every gallery but, they were condensed to one small section on a wall. The artefacts just had name tags and It was not easy/ informative to explore the museum without a guide.
The design brief was to make the museum more engaging and informative while reducing information overload and heavy dependency on the tour guides.
Heavy dependence on the tour guides.
Lack of information in the space.
To make the museum space ‘self-exploring’ friendly without information overload.
Mapping User's Interaction with the Space
Fly on the wall.
Finding challenges and pain points
Engagement point Mapping
What is that the visitors seek and the
museum should offer?
Well Distributed and Easy to consume Information
Due to the constraint of time, the work scope included three galleries out of eight namely: Terracotta, Traditional painting and stone, and wood gallery.
These were thoroughly studied in terms of the theme, interior space, material, current display, signages, and circulation patterns.
There are a lot of restrictions and barriers.
There is no interaction between the space and the user.
The movement was scattered.
There were no anchor points.
Some signages were not readable and were way below the eye level.
The content was condensed and overloaded with text.
The artifacts just had tags with no further information.
Information was monotonous.
Using research tools such as fly on the wall, shadowing, and behavior mapping the visitor's movement in the gallery was mapped and represented under 4 broad categories.
ANT visitor tends to follow a specific path and spends a lot of time observing almost all the exhibits
FISH visitor most of the time moves around in the centre of the room and usually avoids looking at exhibits' details
GRASSHOPPER visitor seems to have a specific preference for some preselected exhibits and spends a lot of time observing them while tending to ignore the others.
BUTTERFLY visitor does not follow a specific path but rather is guided by the physical orientation of the exhibits and stops frequently to look for more information.
Majority visited the museum to
L E A R N
of the sample preferred
would prefer self-exploring if proper information is provided.
“Take time, explore and absorb”
“Fun to get lost and explore”
“Less fun to follow instructions”
“More reading, less interacting”
“Information gets confusing”
“Wayfinding is a nightmare”
“Unaware of what to expect ahead which leads to time wastage”
“Information not well classified”
“No choices to re-route”
Abundance of information was creating confusion.
Restrictions in the space reduced the engagement levels of the visitors.
To keep in sync with the rustic, raw and rural theme of the museum, heavy technological engagement was avoided.
All the information on the three galleries were collected and recorded. Based on the secondary and primary research findings it was synthesized and analyzed into engagement points.
Engagement points: These were the points where the visitors halted, engaged in conversations about the craft, spent time and were relatively more curious and interested.
Based on the findings these spots were represented by three different colours to represent the intensity of engagement.
Focus Group Discussion
Fly on the wall
Based on the Engagement Mapping, Secondary and Primary Research, important information was collected and a framework was created.
3 broad categories and 9 subcategories were created to bucket the information collected.
These helped distribute the information while, breaking the monotony.
1. WRITE UP (100 words):
Basic description within 100 words.
2. TRIVIA/ FACTS:
A small piece of information based on facts.
3. VISITOR SAYS:
These information plates will have the information that is a popular belief and not so much of a fact.
4. SEE MORE AHEAD/ HAPPY SPOTTING:
These tags will be put for objects/artifacts that can be found in and around the museum premise. Since most of the artifacts on display are also integrated into the museum architecture and space. This would aid in drawing people’s attention, engaging them while adding a play element.
5. PLEASE TOUCH:
This would be put around the interactive sections of the gallery, encouraging visitors to interact with materials rather than restricting them. This would engage the visitors and also help break the monotonous, “Do not touch”, giving them a break.
‘Please take a photo and do tag us!” These tags are put against important photographic areas, allowing the visitors to interact, record and share rather than putting a NO photography sign. This will also help give social media a boost.
A question will be put up instead of detailed information and QR code will be provided to obtain the answer. This way the visitors could be in control of the information load, whether they would want to know more or not.
8. GUIDE RECOMMENDS:
When the visitors are hurrying or browsing through or simply self exploring, these tags would mark something that should not miss basically, a recommended section. These tags will be put on the information boards of the artefact/ craft and help make sure that nothing important gets missed out!
9. FIND THIS AT OUR SOUVENIR STORE!:
This will be a tag put on objects that can be found and purchased from the in house museum store. This would help the visitors retain the artefact detail while also helping in aiding the store sales.
Challenges and Impact
The prime challenge during this project was the time window of one month and no- incorporation of extensive technology.
The expected impact of the proposed recommendation would make exploring the crafts museum a more self- explorative and engaging activity. It would give visitors a break from information bombardment giving them the liberty to choose their knowledge and learning journey.
The quality of time spent would also enhance as the categories would urge the visitors to interact with peers and also space, feel it, be a part of it as if it is a living ecosystem in itself.
One of the key learning was working with constraints and within a stipulated time window.
Another challenging yet exciting thing was connecting my undergraduate knowledge of Space design with my current learnings of my masters and building on it.
Implementing the research tools and modifying them in real-time and simplifying the information gathered.
Developing the right and apt content based on the strategies and categories derived to engage people