Blog

More beacon technology in use at the Australian Museum

By: Ms Jen Cork, Category: At The Museum, Date: 03 Dec 2015

For stage four of the museum beacon strategy we have developed an application with gamification at its core.

Trailblazers Kids App

Trailblazers Kids App
Photographer:  © Australian Museum

As discussed in previous posts, at the museum we are using a staged strategy to implement beacon technology, you can read more about the strategy.

For stage four of the museum beacon strategy we have developed a new mobile application with gamification at its core, leveraging beacons to enhance the experience. The user experience is entirely different to what we have previously developed using beacons, but has incorporated all the learnings gathered from previous projects.

Download the Trailblazers App and try for yourself - iOS version or Android version.

New Audience - Kids (8-11)

We have developed a scavenger hunt, that allows users to select a character and collect items in the exhibition to become a “Trailblazer”. The app was developed targeted toward 8-12 year olds, with the hope parents would assist younger children to complete the games.

Trekker Screen Trailblazers app

In most temporary exhibitions there has been a kids-trail developed to engage with younger audiences. The project team, Ella Minton - Creative Producer Children’s Programs, Amanda Teer - Senior Designer, Fran Dorey - Exhibition manager, and myself decided to develop an application targeted toward kids, inline with the museums existing beacon strategy, to review how effective a dedicated program would be.

UX Design & Content

The design of the app was striped right back using a very simple UI, with clear and colourful illustrations to engage with kids. Illustrations were completed by designer Elin Matilda with significant input from Amanda Teer, styled to seamlessly integrate with themes throughout the exhibition.

List View

Simple screen animations were used to engage with the younger audience and highlight the sections of the interface requiring an action. Minimal text was used as the UI was focused on clear graphic prompts to highlight progress with users.

Radar Feature

A major feature of the application was the development of a “radar”, which is a hot and cold sensor bar, that indicates to a user how close they are to the current object (beacon) they are trying to locate.

The “radar” calculates the distance between the device and the object (beacon) and uses the radar to visualise this to users.

Traiblazer App Screen Grab Radar

I’m particularly excited about this feature as it is a new method of using beacon technology in an engaging visual way.

Checkpoints Feature

We also included special “Check Points” that trigger after a user finds, 2, 4 and 6 items. These were developed to communicate to the younger audience the importance of “Sleep”, “Food” and “Drink” when exploring.

CheckPoint

These “Check Points” also have a time-limit, so users only have a certain amount of time to find these items. This was introduced to make the experience more challenging, highlight the importance of the items and for fun!

Testing Improvements

Previously when we rolled out beacons in galleries, testing and changing the signal strength was quite time consuming. We had to physically move the beacons, recalibrate and place back in position (often in hard to reach areas requiring additional staff). However with the new Trailblazers app, Beaconmaker (our developers) built in a new testing and calibration tool for admins of the app.

This meant we could walk through the space and increase/decrease the signal strength of the different beacons as required. This has allowed for seamless testing and instant improvements to the user experience that previously would take days to complete.

Testing Trailblazers App

Version one is now LIVE, please come for a visit to the exhibition, download the app and let me know what you think.

We will also be performing user evaluation throughout the duration of the Trailblazers exhibition and update on the findings.

Download the Trailblazers App and try for yourself - iOS version or Android version.