During the last months of 2009 and throughout 2010, we were testimonies of the appearance of the first apps in museums. The Brooklyn Museum and the National Gallery were pioneers museums that offered its collections through mobile applications. Currently, most of the great museums have one or more applications.
From 2011 to now we have seen how the increasing interest in digital innovation has evolved into the launch of cultural applications by Spanish museums. In 2011, the Museu Picasso released the first app for iPhone in Spain. Soon after, the CosmoCaixa museums in Barcelona and Madrid also had an own app either for iOS or for Android.
The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao was the first museum that launched a dynamic application with several services for mobile only. This app provides a diversified multimedia digital collection. The application allows users to plane their visit, to know schedules and to surf the works of the collection along navigation paths. Visitor has interactive planes that make navigation more dynamic. Furthermore, this app allows user to connect to Youtube and to share content on Facebook and via email.
The Museu Picasso has become a museum role model in the use of new technology and Web 2.0 tools. In March of 2011, the Museu Picasso launched its mobile application for iPhone and iPad, which contains the most important works of the Guggenheim’s collection and general information.
The Museo Thyssen Bornemisza developed an app for displaying its permanent collection. The information architecture, specially designed for this application, allows user to navigate in different ways to know works and artists, as well as establish links between works and art movements.
This new cultural application in many cases has served to give a multimedia format to the traditional audioguide or oversize collections with new interactive possibilities. Museums consider its rooms as interaction context between user and work. Also, museums worry about adapting web content for small screen.
Although numerous applications have already been implemented, yet there are essential issues to be resolved. If we want to channel the evolution of this sort of app and improve user experience in museum, we must consider: Which content does user specifically need beside collections? How can I broadcast collections to users? Which possibilities can augmented reality provide? In each case we should ask ourselves: What can this implementation depending on context provide us to make a visit in museum more agile and enriching?
Gustavo Villazán | Project Coordinator
Adrià Piqué Serra | Content Manager