ASK and Young Museum Visitors: On the Hunt

Sometimes we plan and execute ASK-related projects on a long timeline, but occasionally a project will happen organically and almost take us by surprise. Using…

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Luce Visible Storage◾ Study Center gives open access to some 2,000 of the many thousands of American objects held in storage. Visitors can use iPads mounted throughout the space to search works by accession number.

What happens when you put ASK on a kiosk? You learn a few things.

One of the questions we’ve had since the beginning of the project was if ASK is appropriate for a mounted kiosk of some kind. We…

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GOK Living Modern book 1

Making Connections in “Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern”

One thing we’ve learned through all our ASK pilots and testing is that people love an incentive. Free drink tickets finally helped us to attract…

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Our texting palm card included the phone number as well as "helpful hints" on what kinds of things to text. Unlike the app (which is geo-fenced), in theory you can text us anytime, but we won't answer outside of Museum hours. The system will autofire the same "out of office" notification" app users also get.

Pilot 3: Texting

Last week we wrapped up our final planned pilot project to help determine the direction for ASK 2.0.  Another somewhat obvious solution to the challenge…

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Our wiley ASK Ambassadors snapped two quick photos of visitor interactions during this pilot. On the right, Isabella speaks with a visitor in the O'Keeffe exhibition. On the left, Rachel speaks with visitors in "We Wanted a Revolution."

Pilot 2: ASK on Demand

As promised, this week’s post is on our second pilot in search of our direction for ASK 2.0. For the first pilot, we provided devices…

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Seems fitting to return to iPod touches for this pilot since that's what we used for our pilot that ultimately led us to create ASK. Here we set them up with lanyards and protective cases. We enabled "guided access mode" to lock them down on the app only.

ASK 2.0: Providing Devices? Maybe.

As I prefaced in my post last week, while ASK has been successful from an engagement standpoint, we are stalled at between 1-2% use rate….

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Our ASK Ambassador floor captain, Alex, loves pitching to crowds in the elevator lobby.

Dedicated Staff Help…But It’s Not Enough

Radio silence from us usually means we’re up to something and this time is no different. Since our last post in May, we’ve been looking…

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A running character count in the bottom left of the text field helps team members keep responses short.

Timing is Everything

One of the things we learned from ERm’s evaluation was that ASK users really appreciate when the responses to their questions are well timed (i.e….

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The Luminist landscapes (top row before and after) and still lifes (bottom row, before and after) now get a chance to shine.

Before and After: ASKing about American Art

This month marks one year since the reinstallation of the Museum’s fifth-floor American art galleries, formerly known as “American Identities: A New Look.” This anniversary…

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One of the metrics we can pull from the dashboard is the average number of “beacon groups” from which a conversation takes place and is an indication of how much a user is exploring the Museum. Here you can see the conversation from the top “explorer” during this particular time period used 21 beacon groups over 2 hours.

Shifting Traffic Patterns

Early on in the course of ASK, Shelley and I noticed some really interesting patterns related to where people tended to use the app. While…

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Patterns in the ways visitors are using the app in the exhibition emerged pretty quickly including using the prompt questions (left), sending photos only (center), and savvy questions relating to the themes of the show (right).

Georgia O’Keeffe: ASKing Modern

Our special exhibition “Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern” opened on March 3, and—not surprisingly for a show about such a famous artist—it’s turned out to be…

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The first round of ASK labels featured a questions with a large, blue ASK logo that was very visible in the galleries though the final version was smaller than the test version shown here.

Labels Do Heavy Lifting for ASK

As part of our original messaging with soft launch, we deployed gallery labels advertising the app. This first round included questions that we hoped would…

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Mickey Thomas

Is Bigger Better? Some Most-ASKed About Artworks

In a recent conversation with colleagues from the Peabody Essex Museum, Sara and I fielded a question that frequently arises: which works of art do…

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We rolled out the drink incentive idea for the October 2016 First Saturday with great success. We advertise on the printed handout for the night (center) as well as a dedicated palm card (right front/back). We then hand out physical coupons (left) that the winner takes any of the bars set up around the Museum.

Free drink anyone?

If you’ve ever visited the Brooklyn Museum on a Target First Saturday, you know what a special experience we try to provide for our visitors….

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Colleagues who tested the tour concept with us, fill out a survey after their experience. A big take-away was the need to give visitors a certain amount of control over their experience (e.g. in selecting the works to visit), while also providing enough structure to the content with each work so visitors felt appropriately “guided.”

ASK App + Group Tours: Shaping the Visitor Experience

In my last post I wrote about our process for deciding which collection highlights to include in ASK’s new self-guided tour, titled Highlights and Hidden Gems….

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ERm provided us with a really comprehensive report that we’re still sinking our teeth into.

Fresh Eyes Provide Insight on ASK

Our entire ASK program has been built upon regular user testing and evaluation, which we’ve always completed ourselves…until now. Since we’ve been trying for over…

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Bigger boosk for blog

ASK App + Group Tours: Making Hard Choices

Earlier this week, Sara introduced the topic of ASK’s new collaboration with our Group Tours office and our efforts to shape the content of our…

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We evaluated the concept as well as the printed guide we plan to offer tour participants as part of our testing sessions. After their tour, colleagues were kind enough to fill out a survey, which provided a great deal of useful information that helped us shape the experience.

ASK App + Group Tours: A Balancing Act

If you’ve been following our blog, you know we spend a great deal of time focusing on getting our ASK app in more people’s hands….

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We hope our partnership with Tiny Cards will allow us to reach new audiences.

Tiny Cards, Big Fun

Since time immemorial, nerds have been listing things and memorizing them for fun. 2,000 years ago, the Roman writer Pliny the Elder published his Natural…

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A team from Mahuki, a digital innovation incubator run by Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, scope out the ASK dashboard with team member Andy Hawkes.

We’re Baaaack!!!!

I know it’s been pretty much radio silence here since my last post about the MUSE Awards, but rest-assured, we have been busy! Over the…

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ASK won big at AAM this year!

MUSE x 2: Thank you!

I’m delighted to share that my suitcase was a little bit heavier on my return trip from the annual meeting of the American Alliance of…

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The ASK team's new home. A dedicated info host is stationed with the team at all times to help visitors.

The ASK Team is Visible Once More

If you’ve been following our posts lately, you’ve noticed our tech team has been doing some amazing behind-the-scenes work in anticipation of our Android launch…

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Leveraging Machine Learning for Better Efficiency

Extremely smart people dedicated to the field of machine learning have made tools that are not only better, but far more accessible than they have…

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ASK snippets can now be seen on object pages like in this example of our Spacelander Bicycle.

ASK Snippets Integrated Into BKM Website

A number of things happen after a visitor has a chat with our ASK team. At the end of each day, the ASK team takes the…

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Visitor image on the left. Brooklyn Museum original image on the right.

Image Matching Now Supporting iBeacon Results

Every second counts when the ASK team is responding to visitor questions. With that in mind, a few weeks ago we looked into how we…

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The team brainstormed to compile helpful reminders and new info for the manual.

Revising our ASK Engagement Manual

It’s been a year since the original ASK team arrived at the Museum, and we’ve been reflecting on all the ways ASK has evolved over…

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It was during the Bloomberg testing session when we could see a number of users all having the same problems that issue became really clear.

Selectively Flying Blind After Android User Testing

ASK Brooklyn Museum for Android is now available on Google Play. We had one early quandary, but this was a fairly straightforward development process. That is, until we…

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Two members of the ASK Team, Elizabeth and Zinia, review visitor chats.

Chatting About… Chats

As the ASK Team gears up for the app’s Android launch in April and expands to two full-time members and four part-time members, it seems…

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The current ASK team Stephanie Cunningham, Zinia Rahman, Elizabeth Treptow, Andy Hawkes, and Megan Mastrobattista.

Lessons Learned Staffing ASK

Hard to believe that it’s been a full year since we began the initial hiring process for our ASK team. We’ve accomplished so much in…

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Going with the Google ID to recognize users across devices may be problematic for ASK engagement.

How Important is Anonymity When Asking a Question?

As reported earlier, the Android version of our ASK app is due to launch in April. For the most part, the app will look and…

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Mobile side debugger tool developed by HFC to show beacons being ranged and which beacon would be sent with a message if a user were to hit send.

Code Release: Going from iOS to Android Solving iBeacon Issues Along the Way

Our Android release is coming in April. I’m often asked about our strategy to expand into Android when 74% of our users are on iOS…

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Using a selfie stick to update Estimote beacon firmware in the galleries.

Getting Visibility on the iBeacon Problem

It’s been just over a year since I wrote about the realities of installing ibeacon to scale. Our ASK app, funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, has been active…

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An example of an object page in the ASK Wiki. Information is organized according to discrete categories including Artist, Iconography, Purpose, Provenance, Style/Period, Socio-Cultural Context, and Historic Events.

What Do We Want from the ASK Wiki?

In one of my previous posts, way back in March 2015, I discussed our initial plans for a shared research database (an “ASK wiki”) which…

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Sean Herman presents about the team's ASK BKM solution during Cornell Tech's studio sprint #3.

Asking with a New Set of Eyes

I’m sure it will come as no surprise to anyone that getting out of your own head every once in a while can have great benefits. We’ve…

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The current ASK team (Stephanie Cunningham, Zinia Rahman, Elizabeth Treptow, Andy Hawkes, and Megan Mastrobattista) with a few friends.

All in a Day’s Work

In our last post, Sara discussed our ongoing definition and refinement of the ASK app’s engagement goals and our recent collaborative workshop with some of…

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As part of our first workshop, members of the education staff spent time in the galleries using the app.

Getting It All on Paper

We developed ASK based on the premise (determined by over a year’s worth of pilot projects) that our visitors want to talk about art with…

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Data review meeting between the ASK team and our curators in European art.

Sleuthing Clues about the Future from Visitor Interaction

Things have been pretty quiet over here for a while—have you noticed?  We had been blogging our progress on ASK weekly and in my last post…

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Testing in Connecting Cultures where the team was more embedded in and among the works of art.

Seeking a Home on the Range

As summer draws to a close, so does our testing for the location of our ASK team. You may remember the results from our earlier testing in…

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Our actual download rate doesn't mean much especially given the app only works to have a conversation in the building. Instead, the "use rate" is a key metric. The one thing the download rate stats does show us is the pattern of downloads runs in direct parallel with our open hours. Mondays and Tuesdays are the valleys in this chart and that's also when we are closed to the public.

Measuring Success

We all struggle with how to measure success. We’re thinking a lot about this right now as we begin to put the pieces together from…

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Visitor Liaisons are identified by cycling caps, which so far has worked pretty well. We my find as the lobby gets busier, they may need to wear t-shirts or something even more visible in addition. From left to right: Emily, Kadeem, and Steve.

A Personal Invitation to ASK

Knowing what we know about our visitors, we figured pretty early on that we would need to offer face time with staff as part of…

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We might have gone a little overboard in our palm card layout testing. We didn't end up needing to test all of these as sometimes testing one ruled out several.

Messaging is Harder

Perhaps its the nature of an agile project, or just this agile project, but at each stage of ASK Brooklyn Museum we find ourselves facing…

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Visitors loved the benches in the pavilion setup, but they felt disjointed from the ASK team.

Building is easy, but launching is hard.

If you think about it, building a project is fairly straightforward. It’s a one way street of sorts; a controlled process with steps involved, tests we can run, and timelines…

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Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 2.58.49 PM

The Pedagogy of a Text Message: First Response

In my last post, I discussed our “opening response” and slight tweaks to make that a better experience.  Our “first response” (the first message the…

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Prompt was changed to elicit more deliberate action on the part of the user, a prompt that would require to the user to not just immediately engage with the app, but also immediately engage with the art in the Museum in a thoughtful manner.

The Pedagogy of a Text Message: Opening Prompt

What is the pedagogy of a text message conversation?  Can you actually have a pedagogy of texting? If so, what does it look like? How…

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Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 10.41.44 AM

ASKing About Art with Museum 2.0

Sara and I couldn’t be happier to have ASK featured on Museum 2.0, so instead of blogging our own progress this week we’ll point you…

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Nitrous makes cars go faster. Servers not so much.

Performance Optimization, Not Premature Optimization

At the Brooklyn Museum, we like to take inspiration from many things. After recently watching “Mad Max: Fury Road,” we realized to make our servers…

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The app store icon that we couldn't use.

Managing Expectations

We’ve talked a lot about how user expectations helped shape our implementation. There are times when it’s incredibly valuable to listen to your users, but there…

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Large messaging at our entrance identifies where you are. We are using the existing canopy for the additional signage, seen here in a prototype.

Graphics Tie It All Together

When we first began thinking about the lobby reconfiguration, the need for flexible and moveable was paramount and all of our discussions with the design…

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Movable furniture in the form of power benches and hubs can help further direct traffic. Circles show areas of gathering spaces.

Clearer Choices for Better Flow

Shelley and I like to cast a wide net when looking for inspiration and ideas, often looking outside the museum sector from the customer experience…

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KAWS (Brian Donnelly, American, b. 1974). ALONG THE WAY, 2013. Wood, 216 x 176 x 120 in. (548.6 x 447 x 304.8 cm) overall. Brooklyn Museum; Gift in honor of Arnold Lehman, TL2015.27a‒b. (Photo: Adam Reich, courtesy of Mary Boone Gallery, New York)

Solving Three Clicks to the Art

As you’ve been reading, ASK Brooklyn Museum isn’t just about an app—it’s an initiative that seeks to re-envision our visitor experience from top to bottom. That “top”…

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For now, we're going to release a single purpose ASK app and tie the pre-visit information into a later release after our website migration.

Scaling Back

In every project there’s always a moment where the timeline starts to shrink. You start to look at your launch date and the to do list (ours is…

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The ASK team has relocated to "42nd Street" to help acclimate them to working in a busy space before their lobby move in June.

Location, Location, Location

Last month we had the pleasure of introducing the six members of our audience engagement team, the specialists who will be engaging with visitors via…

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A series of furniture designed by Situ that we could use in a modular and reconfigurable fashion. The design of the components helps differentiate function.

Agile by Design

As I introduced in a previous post, SITU Studio was brought on board to design a mobile, flexible, and temporary set of furniture components that…

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Genevive Bell speaking at Webstock 2015.

We’re Only Human

When you’ve got any tool that is designed to answer questions the danger is that people think it’s an automated system; with ASK we need to…

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Most messaging clients use the three dots to indicate activity on the other side.

Fighting the Three Dots of User Expectation

In my previous post, I talked a lot about agile development and where we failed it. Agile has also thrown us some serious curves in…

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We took our best guess in architecting the dashboard, but that wasn't always the right one.

Learning from Agile Fails

As we march toward our June launch for ASK, it’s a good moment to look back at some of the issues we’ve faced along the way….

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The ASK team getting a tour of Judith Scott—Bound and Unbound from Catherine Morris, Sackler Family Curator for the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art.

Connecting with Curators

Our ASK team has a number of exciting challenges ahead of them. How do you communicate information about art in an informed and engaging way…

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Using the app to ask questions during a team training session.

A Day in Training

I know that everyone on the team agrees—spending time learning about the collection is a privilege, an honor, and a lot of fun. Training started…

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Nancy Rosoff, Andrew W. Mellon Curator of the Arts of the Americas, works with the team to take a closer look at our Life-Death Figure.

Amassing Encyclopedic Knowledge

ASK is a tool that allows any museum visitor using the Museum’s app to have the opportunity to be in direct and immediate contact with…

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IMG_9399_edit

Meet the Audience Engagement Team

I am happy to announce that we’ve identified and hired six individuals who are knowledgeable, experienced at connecting people with art, and excited to take…

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Home screen of the upcoming Brooklyn Museum App. Geofencing displays different information based on your proximity to our building.

Inside Out

The most passionate debates in our office have centered around how we are using geofencing in our upcoming app to present different information to users dependent upon…

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Asking our visitors to jump through hoops before they can start. In this version, a visitor cannot get to ASK without first giving us both, their name and email, bits they often glaze over or avoid.

Iterating on the ASK Mobile Experience

The ASK mobile app has gone through many design iterations and has continually evolved in a quest to to offer an exceptional user experience. In…

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Exit interviews during formalized testing have taken place in our cafe with free coffee vouchers. We've found this incredibly effective because coffee during the exit interview sets a tone of informality, allows testers to linger longer, and helps give us time if people are waiting their turn.

Lessons Learned Running User Testing

We have an incredible opportunity in front of us; the folks who will be using our ASK app are coming through the door every day, so we…

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A wiki will supplement the dashboard to help answer visitor questions. A clean, intuitive platform was needed that we can later fully integrate into the ASK dashboard.

Working out the Wiki

The most basic goal of the ASK app is to connect visitors to works of art in the museum. Although the conduit for this connection…

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A tester during our last testing session. Engagement through the app encourages closer looking.

Who are we looking for in an Audience Engagement Team?

I’ve just joined the Bloomberg Connects project as the Audience Engagement Lead. I will be heading the team that will be answering inquiries from visitors…

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Monica Marino, left, and Marina K, right, running the dashboard during a recent user testing session. Our Chief Curator, Kevin Stayton, helps answer questions.

Finding the Right People to ASK

On the surface, it might seem that our Bloomberg Connects project is all about tech. After all, this particular Bloomberg Philanthropies initiative is specifically for…

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Seated Buddha Shakyamuni, 965-1025. Gilt bronze, 8 1/2 x 7 1/4 x 4 3/4 in. (21.6 x 18.4 x 12.1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Asian Art Council in memory of Mahmood T. Diba; Mary Smith Dorward Fund, 1999.42. Creative Commons-BY Image: overall, 1999.42_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph

Aspiring To Code Nirvana Through Tests

1 + 1 = 2? Obvious right? How about (2 + 2 x 4)^2? That’s a little more complicated but not so bad either. Over…

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Jennie scans the beacon using the Estimote app so we can assign major/minor values. I'm there with the paper map and Pritika is manning her beacon tool. All this to install a few beacons in Connecting Cultures.

The Realities of Installing iBeacon to Scale

Location aware technology as part of Bloomberg Connects is pretty vital.  We use it to tell the staff answering questions which gallery a visitor is standing…

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Prototype of our dashboard web application.

Benefitting from Code Prototypes

The dashboard—the web application our audience engagement team will use to answer incoming questions—is a complex application with many parts and before we hit the…

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Our current lobby has its challenges.

SITU Studio (re)Envisions our Lobby as Part of Bloomberg Connects

We are excited to announce that the Brooklyn based design firm, SITU Studio, will be working with us to create a new, more friendly and…

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Pikachu, I choose you!

Preparing for a Post-Password Future with Pokemon Cards

Every year a gathering of hackers and information security professionals convene in Washington, DC to discuss how awful and broken the state of computer security…

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Our stock of iPod Touch devices ready to go for user testing.

Challenges using the iPod Touch for a Mobile Testing Environment

In previous blog posts we’ve discussed the results of our initial user testing. In this blog post we’ll talk about the process and challenges of getting…

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Avoiding the mess of legacy and spaghetti code by leveraging frameworks in developing our dashboard—the web application our audience engagement team will use to answer incoming questions.

Fighting Code Chaos with the Right Framework

From the outset we knew that the dashboard—the web application our audience engagement team will use to answer incoming questions—was going to be a huge…

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A very high overview describing the relationship between our API and our mobile and dashboard applications.

One API to Rule Them All

In the web development world, RESTish APIs (Application Programming Interface) have slowly become the de facto standard by which different computing systems are used to…

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Sticky Notes

Agile Baby Steps

By and large, most software in the world is made to a spec enshrined into immutability, then interpreted differently by various parts of the teams…

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