First impressions.

The Audio Guide is a long-standing service at the Museum with over three thousand audio messages attracting 250,000 users annually. It offers six to eight special exhibition tours and can be accessed in up to nine major foreign languages. In September 2013, the Museum launched a new version of the Audio Guide complete with a redesigned interface and repackaged content. This presented a fresh opportunity for us to take a more strategic look at the Audio Guide and see how well it has performed since its rebirth.

In the summer of 2014, I worked with a team of consultants from Frankly, Green + Webb to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the Audio Guide here at the Met (both at the Main Building and at The Cloisters). Below, I will explore some of our key findings and explain how the Museum is moving forward with the results of this research.

The Audioguide as a Service

It’s always tempting to think of an Audio Guide as an old-fashioned product that visitors can hold onto and carry with them throughout the Museum if they feel like it, but this perspective is simply too limited. Instead, the Audio Guide should be seen as a service that is a crucial part of the museum experience and one that combines both the digital and nondigital within the physical space of the Museum.

This perspective, popularly known as “service design,” is a way of creating and improving experiences (instead of stand-alone products) in order to better meet visitor needs within a specific context. It requires an understanding of the user’s full experience (also known as the “user journey”) in a robust way—from initial awareness of the offer to the full impact of the offer.

Grace Tung, Digital Media Associate, Creative Development, Digital Media

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