The second evaluation completed by Pratt grad students last semester examined the ways visitors were using ASK. Partially inspired by wanting to know if people were participating in the Kahlo quote scavenger hunt and thematic tour, which Jessica posted about previously, and partially by the desire to know more about our anonymous users. All we know about our users is their device (Android or iOS) and what we can discern through context clues, e.g. familiarity with art based on vocabulary choice. Otherwise, they are an enigma. To get at these ideas, Emily Caspari, Catherine Chavers, Xingya Wang, and Ruoxi Zhao determined the following research questions:
The students determined a survey was best, which the ASK team sent via a link as part of the chat. This was more challenging than we thought because figuring out the timing for when to send the survey link proved difficult. You don’t want to share it first-thing, before anyone’s engaged, but finding the end of the conversation can be tough; some users just stop texting. The team had to play with timing a bit and I’m not sure we ever found the perfect moment.
As with the Kahlo visitor study, we offered an incentive for completion: every 25th respondent got free tickets to Frida Kahlo. We ended up switching that incentive to free Kahlo Dance Party tickets since most users during this time had already seen the exhibition. In the end, we netted 115 responses over 6 weeks. As with the Kahlo evaluation, the results I’m sharing here include some of their interpretation of the data (reviewed by me) as well as some of my own analysis.
Let’s break down the results.
Are ASK users first-time or returning museum visitors?
Respondents were almost 50/50 split, with just slightly more repeat visitors. A caveat here though, is that we make this question time-bound, i.e. “within the last year,” so we don’t know if visitors meant life-time visits or something else.
Are ASK users avid art museum goers?
Yes! A majority (72%) visit art museums three plus times in a typical year (this question was timebound). Only 7% of respondents noted it was their first visit to any art museum, while almost 40% visit 6+ times a year.
What kind of experience are users having?
As indicated in the past through positive app store reviews, I’m happy to say we continue to provide a good experience for users. Over 98% of respondents would recommend the app to a friend. The most popular reasons given for this answer included descriptions that could be coded as “fun,” “informative,” and “helpful.”
Are the users participating in the Frida Kahlo ASK activities?
Yes. Roughly a third (34%) of respondents checked the scavenger hunt as a way they used ASK, while 19% used the Kahlo themed cards. Interestingly, although this question was a “check all,” a slight majority (57%) only checked on option. It’s possible this could be attributed to users have one main reason for using the app, though it could also be people simply filling out the survey quickly without stopping to think critically about all the ways they used it. Users tend to rely heavily on photos in chats, so the fact that only 22% check that use suggests it’s wise to take these responses with a grain of salt.
Are the ASK users using the app in Spanish?
Unfortunately, the dashboard doesn’t track this for us automatically, so the way the students chose to get at this was to determine users’ preferred language. It doesn’t quite answer the question, but helps unpack user preferences. Over 80% of respondents (93) listed English and only 2 people listed Spanish. We do know, however, from the Kahlo visitor study that a little over a third of visitors interviewed used the Spanish language materials. Perhaps the lack of synergy between studies means Spanish-speakers aren’t using the app, despite invitations in Spanish to do so. More data would have been required to be really sure.
So, what does it all mean?
We learned a few things from the study. First, our assumption that more first-time visitors would use the app for the Kahlo activities—mostly because we felt like it was an easy way into exploring a new place—was correct. Those least likely to use the scavenger hunt in particular were the users who had visited us the most.
Second, it’s nice to know most people have a good experience with us, no matter how they use ASK. A few comments include:
The ask app totally enhanced my museum going experience. Typically I can find usage of phones in the galleries to be pretty distracting, but this app advances the experience. It’s great to have my questions answered in a friendly way- and by a person!
Due to ASK at the Brooklyn Museum, I rate this museum the top museum out of all I visited before!
Keep it up please! This is the best form of digital technology yet!
And third, as can be the case with visitor studies, this one leaves me wanting a bit more. Not through any fault of the students who worked on it, but due to the fact that it’s whetted my appetite for more info about our users. This study paints a small picture of what some of our users experienced, but what would happen if we ran this for longer? Switched out some questions? Got more responses? Something we may have to explore…
Sara Devine joined the Brooklyn Museum as Manager of Interpretive Materials in 2011 and is now Director of Visitor Experience & Engagement. A vocal visitor advocate, her expertise lies in crafting accessible and engaging visitor experiences and reaching audiences across platforms. She works with curators, designers, educators, technologists, and editors on all aspects of visitor experience and engagement. Sara is also a visiting assistant professor and curriculum coordinator at Pratt Institute’s School of Information for their graduate program in Museums and Digital Culture. She was previously Senior Content Developer and Project Manager at Hilferty, a museum planning and design firm in Ohio, where she developed comprehensive interpretive master plans and exhibitions for a wide variety of museums. She has also worked at Assistant Curator, Special Exhibition at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and as a Curatorial Assistant at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.