Welcome Wednesday 16 January 2013

Attending: Dan Davis NMAI, Michele Atwater SI Mobile volunteer, Peter Karvellas SI Mobile volunteer, Marcella Florence NMAAHC, Carlos Parada SAAM, Marc Bretzfelder OCIO, Effie Kapsalis SIA, Dixie Clough SI Mobile volunteer, Jeff Meade NPM EdLab, Reema Ghazi NPM EdLab, Kim Skerrit NPM EdLab, Elizabeth Bugbee Affiliates, Heather Foster SITES, Johanna Perez Strand SI Mobile Fellow, Nancy Proctor SI Mobile, Ajith Gunaratne SITES

Dan Davis: NMAI’s first TAP tour

Download from iTunes as NMAI NY

First stumbling blog: setting up a Drupal instance requires a Drupal expert! Based on Drupal 7.

First correct move: the artist came on site so NMAI interviewed her to create basic content. She dictated the content and in a sense the audience by using the app as a vehicle for self-expression.

TAP authoring tool is pretty easy once you understand its language and working process. IMA Lab was a huge part of this: developed the platform and provided a lot of development support at no cost. (What did that support cost them? What should we budget for support in future?) At the moment, TAP is supported by an IMLS grant.

NMAI’s app concept, encouraged by Apple, is a “mother app” with nested apps for each exhibition tour (although currently there is just one exhibition tour app in the mother “shell” app).

NMAI also used TAP for another app for the “Up Where We Belong” exhibition in NYC, but it’s not distributed through iTunes because of copyright restrictions on the content. NMAI NY hands out the app along with the Infinity of Nations app on 50 loaner iPod touches. There is free public wifi in the space, and the devices are loaned free to visitors.

NASM is also doing a TAP pilot. (See Vicki Portway)

TAP is currently only supported on Android by IMA Labs, but a company called iWayTours from the Netherlands has made an Android app platform on TAP. There is a free version and a paid Pro version, but the paid version proved to be prohibitively expensive. Johanna Perez Strand worked with iWay Tours and Dan to port the iOS version of the app to the free version of the Android platform, which includes the iWay Tours branding and advertising – less than ideal. It also lost some functionality in the transfer, e.g. the scalability of text for accessibility.

Time to complete the project: creating the content elements took the most time. Now that they know how to use the TAP platform, the next one will be quite quick to author.

TAP is simple, but is a quick and easy way to create tours of exhibitions and Dan plans to use it frequently in future, making mobile tours a standard part of each exhibition’s interpretation. It can be customized: AIC has created a beautiful iPad app with TAP. The Met has also used it in an unusual way.

TAP also creates a mobile website along with each app.

For more see TapIntoMuseums.org

Porting from GuideOne to Tristan’s Autour platform

Johanna Perez Strand, Heather Foster, Ajith Gunaratne on SITES Bearden Tour

The SITES team needed to port the tour to the Autour platform from the GuideOne platform so it could appear on devices distributed at Memphis Brooks, the exhibition’s second stop on its tour. SITES is renting 15 devices from GuideOne to tour with the exhibition – they are iPod Touches in Parat cases and with Parat charging case. (NMAI also uses Parat cases.)

There were some differences in the functionality that was possible in the Autour platform versus the GuideOne platform. It should be noted, however, that the Memphis Brooks implementation of the Autour platform is an early and simple version so does not represent the full Autour feature set.

The stops are layered and support slideshow functionality on the GuideOne platform. Layers were not possible on Autour: layers are essentially stops. The Autour platform automatically forwards you to the next layer or stop when you get to the end of the one you have been listening to. This can be disconcerting.

The GuideOne version of the tour groups stops by theme and displays them in a visually distinct way from each other in the menu. This was not possible in the Autour version.

No social sharing on the devices handed out on site because they couldn’t assume that every museum venue would have wifi. The version of the app you can download from the Android and iOS app stores does include social sharing.

Exporting content from GuideOne’s platform still meant having to do manual updates to the content when preparing the content and building the tour anew in the Autour platform. SITES would like to be more in control of their assets and keeping them up to date via the CMS.

Memphis Brooks had to change the stop numbers on the labels because the numbers originally chosen for the app on the GuideOne platform had already been used on the Memphis Brooks Autour app.

GuideOne was chose because their creative solution for the Collage app was so impressive; choice was not make on the tour authoring platform.

It has taken a lot of time – about 1 full week (40 hours of work) – to rebuild the tour even though it’s just 20 stops. Uploading the files takes a long time, and there is a lot of latency in authoring stops. Also the reinterpretation of the tour on the new platform has required a lot of discussion among project team members.

The content took by far the majority of the time to produce. The technology was not the most time-consuming part.

Action items:

  • Would also be interesting to try authoring the tour in iBook to see how well that works – Dixie will try this for us!
  • Heather will find out what file format the slideshow is – how that is produced in the GuideOne platform.

Peter Karvellas et al. on Stories of World Heritage v2 interface

The challenge is to put curated “expert” content in conversation with user-generated content. Can we move beyond the blog + comments below model?

See Soundcloud in-timeline commenting and also the original ArtBabble.org interface cited here: http://wiki.museummobile.info/museums-to-go/architecture

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