Conference notes IV: What users finally want

Author: Kamila Lewandowska

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The last session of the Rome Conference, moderated by Erwin Verbruggen, the speakers addressed the issue of user experiences with audiovisual content. What do specific target group want? How to animate users and reach new audiences? Researchers and AV professionals shared their best practices.

Teachers could use more AV content

Karen

 

Karen Vander Paetse demonstrated results of a research carried out by the Flemish Institute for Archiving with the focus on “What do teachers want?” in terms of using audiovisual heritage in the classroom. She stressed the fact that the use of AV material in the teaching process has been highly overestimated and teachers use illustrations much more frequently than clips and audio material. When teachers incorporate AV files into their teaching methods, it’s mostly because they want to better achieve learning objectives, motivate students, explain difficult concepts and improve attention span. On the other hand, teachers asked why they don’t use AV material explained that they have no time to search (22%), don’t have access to available technology (21%) and don’t know how to search (19%). More than 1/3 of the respondents said that they use the material recommended to them by their colleagues. The Flemish Institute for Archiving drew conclusions and implications from research for their own activity. In order to increase the use of AV clips among teachers the quality (not quantity!) of the material should be increased and the search process should be facilitated.

Less text, more interaction!

Rebakah Polding showed how to change a metadata-focused website into an interactive and engaging platform with AV content. The London’s Screen Archives have dramatically redeveloped their website when they realized it created no user engagement and was centered much more around text and information than the real value of the collection – video clips. They followed the examples of British Pathé, History Pin, Yorkshire’s film heritage and Imperial War Museum which were successful in contextualizing the clips and giving users hints and suggestions “what’s so interesting about this video”. They used stills to make more-user friendly environment and borrowed from Amazon which uses its own catalogue to contextualize data. They also looked into the examples of real-life institutions like Tate Modern and the way the museum visitors directly experience modern art. The new website has an entirely new interface which enables to play films directly on the homepage.

London's Screen Archive

Back to the Future

Thanks to Gunnar Liestøl we were able to truly “travel through times”.  He presented so called “situated simulations” tool, which enables to see (on a smartphone or tablet) how the place we’re situated at looked like in the past or will look like in future. t As the user moves in real space the perspective inside the 3D graphic space changes accordingly. The video shows how this incredible tool works:

Engaging the over-65s

Daniela Trevi Gennari, Silvia Dibeluto and Sarah Culhane presented the outcomes of their own research on cinema-going in Rome carried out in 2009. They explored the social experience of cinema-going by interviewing surviving audience members, analyzing their responses and contextualizing them through further archival research. Their methodology included oral history approach, statistical surveys of audiences, box-office takings, and relevant period press material. They focused on the issue of engagement with digital platform by the over-65s and highlighted the occurring trends and challenges, illustrating it with a funny video:

Using a case study of Elena, an elder lady and an active Facebook user, they concluded that “it is our aim to create an online space that facilitates discussion and interaction among users, who can enjoy a sense of community in remembering a shared past, while also engaging younger users who wish to gain insights into their cultural heritage.”

 

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