Surveying Technology & The Museum – A Project

Throughout January 2014 and into February 2014 a survey was conducted with the visitors at the Museum to gain an insight and understanding into the way that they use technology during their visit to the museum.

The questions were developed and crafted specifically around the use of tablets and smartphones by the visitor within the museum environment.  By conducting the survey it is hoped that we are able to gain a greater understanding of technological needs of our visitors and what steps we can take to weave this into the presentation of the museum to our local and international visitors.

The survey was not restricted to any certain age or location; the input of the local regular visitor is as important as those visiting from interstate and / or overseas.  The survey was 16 questions in length including questions around technology and some demographic questions to capture an idea of where our visitors were coming from. The sample sizes for this survey was set to 100; 100 responses were gathered over the course of just over 1 month.

The results gathered reveal some interesting trends about the visitors’ use, uptake and response to technology in general as well as within the museum environment.

Some of the key responses / indicators that have been revealed so far are:

 

  • When we initially asked our visitors how comfortable they were using technology and websites, 41% of respondents said to us that they were extremely comfortable using technology and websites and only 12 respondents indicated that they weren’t comfortable with technology.
  • 24% of all respondents indicated to us that they were early adopters, and a further 58% indicated that they liked to dabble with new technologies and would lean towards early adoption of same.
  • When we asked them what devices they had, it should come as no surprise that Apple devices were the most prevalent the iPhone and iPad being the most listed devices for smartphones and tablets respectively.
  • When we asked our visitors how they found out about apps they downloaded, there were two overwhelming trends.  These were that a friend or family member either referred the apps to them (63%) or they were just browsing the app store (77%).
  • The respondents were asked to choose an app that they could not do without and two clear categories emerged, the practical and productivity apps.
  • We have learned that social media is still a large part of the digital life of our visitors with Facebook coming out as the most used social network followed by YouTube and Google+, which outdid the more anecdotally popular sites such as Twitter and Instagram.

 

What can be seen overall is that within this group of visitors there is an overall familiarity with the use and adoption of technology in general and within the cultural environment.  There is an inclination towards early adoption of new technologies and it has become clear that word of mouth is still important to the spread of technology when it comes to finding out about new apps.  Analysis of the results is still underway and these are very much preliminary findings at this point in time.

Other questions still remain, such as whether the visitors would like to have the offering of a mobile tour to be downloaded or to borrow a device with preloaded information.  More updates will come as the analysis of the survey data is completed.

Jonathon Cant

13/02/14

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