This is an Eval Central archive copy, find the original at freshspectrum.com.
What does touching the brain have to do with user experience design?
?So, what does touching the brain have to do with experience design? All right. So a few years ago. I had the privilege of being able to deliver a keynote speech for the visitor studies association. These are like evaluators who work in museums and zoos and other places where people visit.
Well in preparing for the talk, I was thinking a lot about all the different museums I would travel to and see with my daughter. We would go out like pretty much every weekend. There are a bunch of cool museums around the Raleigh Durham area.
So one of those museums was the natural sciences museum. And this was an interesting case because there were like two sides of it. There’s like the old side and the new side. And the old side had a lot of like traditional exhibits that, that you probably remember if you ever visited the smithsonian and some of the older exhibits.
And in those, you have a lot of things where you’d have like maybe some dinosaur bones. And then you have a plaque on it. And basically the whole idea of the plaque is to give you a tidbit of information about something interesting about this thing. And this is what I would call what we know version 1.0.
Now as time went on. And technology got a little bit better and fancier, and we could have pushed buttons and all sorts of things that interactive and you’d have videos and stuff. But it was still on that same model. It was just kind of like what we know 2.0. It’s a different version where you hit buttons and things, flash and other things, but ultimately it’s really about delivering information. Now, some of that information might be dated and it might take a little while to update the exhibit.
The challenge is, as time’s gone on now we have the internet. So, if you want to know the answer to something, if you want to know about something, you just go Google it. And try to figure out some information. So the idea behind the museum being there to give us all the information we need. It’s kind of dated because we don’t really need all that information.
We’re looking for experiences. Which brings us to touching the brain. So one of the museums around here, the life and science museum. They had a program one day. And part of that program was they had a real human brain. On a platter. And the children were able to walk up. Put on gloves and touch the brain.
Now think about it. Uh, you know, I’m squeamish. So I’m back away from the brain. My wife went up with my daughter. They both touched the brain. I did not, but if you’re going for an experience. Touching the brain is an experience you’re going to remember. But is it any more educational than if they just had a model of the brain?
Yeah. What is the difference between touching the brain? And looking at a diagram of brain. Which is more educational. And I think it comes down to what you think of as being educational and what you think of as being an experience. And the more we can turn what we know into experiences for people, the more it will stick with them.
Because I bet if any of the kids you know, grew up to be brain surgeons or doctors. And they were to look back on their time. They’re not going to remember that diagram that they saw when they were a kid. But they might remember touching the brain. Okay. And, and that’s the difference?
Now in research and evaluation, I think we’re still very much in version 1.0 of this is what we know.
And sometimes version 2.0 a flashy version of this is what we know. But we need to get to version three. We need to get to the idea of touching the brain. We need to create experiences that give people something they can latch on to. And I think the more we do that and the more successful we’ll be as designers of the information that we want to share about evaluation, research, other data.
And things that can really. Jumpstart people and get them engaged with the materials we want to share with them. All right. That’s it for today. thanks for watching. And I’ll talk to you soon.