[More live blogging from Gemma from the MCN 2010 conference, ‘I/O: The Museum Inside-Out/Outside-In’ in Austin, Texas, to help MCGers keep up with the news and exciting research being shared at the conference.]

Engaging the audience session 28/10
Kate Goldman – decision points in creating virtual humans and avatars

Uncanny valley, research from 1970s resulting in a graph showing cognitive issues we have with realism.  You build a robot and as it gets closer to a human people respond well.  until they get to a point of realism where they back off, dislike it and find it freaky.

Emily Black -Evaluation of avatars
Nelson-atkins museum of art-studio 33

Focus groups, liked website content but not sites’s entrance page. They worked to profile visitors.

Did a telephone survey of 400 people in the Kansas area they learnt that:
People knew about museum through web page, but have not visited. 
Those with kids more likely to come than those without.  So how can you react and make your website more family friendly?

Results meant entry page would:
Allow people to identify with museum using avatars, allowed visitors to select their avatar to guide them through the site.

Avatars photos of actual people connected with the museum.  They talk via text in speech bubbles.  How to mesh online visitors who don’t come to museum? Avatar leads you through site and suggests what you may want to check out.

Sharisse Butler – Smart phone tours at Dallas museum of art www.dma.mobi

Framework for engaging with art-Randi Korn and associates audience segmentation research.  This study gave them 4 types of visitor who come to gallery.

Gave them idea to create content for each type of visitor on smart phone tour.
Deliberately a www, not an app, to make it as flexible as possible.
Has object information, videos of artists, curators speaking, this means user chooses what they’re interested in and should be content for each type of visitor.

Visitors can borrow a device or use their own smartphone.  Need data to know what visitors are using, cos if see people using their own device, might not be for your tour.  2% of visitors used tour and 10% aware of it. There’s an issue around getting people to self-select to use the smartphone tour.  Interviewed visitors who didn’t use it.  And they said they didn’t have a smart phone,  so moved the information that they had free ipods to borrow to the top of the wall text info.

People needed explanation of how to use ipods.  These are issued as lanyards so they’ve added a physical tag to lanyards with basic instructions eg volume control.

Popular implementation during landscape paintings exhibition.  On device could call up photos of the same landscape.