All posts by Sara Devine

Sara Devine

Sara Devine joined the Brooklyn Museum as Manager of Interpretive Materials in 2011. Now Director of Digital Engagement, she leads the Museum’s ASK Brooklyn Museum project, a Bloomberg Connects digital engagement initiative. 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 visitor services staff on all aspects of digital engagement. Sara is also a visiting assistant professor and curriculum coordinator at Pratt Institute’s School of Information for their new 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.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Observation showed us that visitors often use the kiosks in social groups.

Metrics Tell (Part of) the Story

As Shelley mentioned in her previous post, we’ve tweaked our comment kiosks over the past year or so, shifting them to an ask functionality only…

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The data we gather at each step informs the next one. Simple, right? [

Going Responsive with Agile Planning

“Three Simple Truths” from The Agile Samurai by Jonathan Rasmussen: 1. It is impossible to gather all the requirements at the beginning of a project….

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Staff were stationed throughout the permanent collection to determine what type of guidance visitors were seeking.

Piloting a Future Visitor Experience

A series of internal meetings got us set on the path for this project, but we wanted to test it with our visitors. To do…

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Meetings with staff from across departments helped gather ideas that would later be tested with visitors.

Taking Assumptions with a Grain of Salt

As Shelley introduced in her last post, we have the very ambitious goal of overhauling our visitor experience through an initiative funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies…

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Social Singles Scavenger Hunt

Looking for love?

I’ve been at the Brooklyn Museum for about a year-and-a-half now, which is also as long as I’ve been a resident of our fair borough….

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Connecting Cultures

Armed with Input

As you may recall, we kicked-off a visitor study about Connecting Cultures back in May with an updated approach based on a bit of trial-and-error…

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Survey table sign inviting participation.

Inquiring Minds… Learn As They Go

You may recall my previous post, which introduced our two-part visitor study about the Connecting Cultures installation. Well, we are a little better than half-way…

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Connecting Cultures

Inquiring Minds

Over the summer months you may notice an increased number of staff stationed in the museum lobby. One of these staff members may approach you,…

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