We’ve had countless discovery calls with museums over the years. Across museum type, size, location or collection we field a number of similar questions. We’ve aggregated the top 10 questions and answers. We hope that this will come in handy as you prepare for your next discovery call!
Q: How do clients use your products and services to connect with and engage with visitors? Particularly engaging broader, more diverse audiences?
A: We’re happy to say that this is something our team thinks about a lot as engagement (along with educational outcomes) are what is often top of mind for our clients. It’s for this reason that we’ve built our platform to serve a wide range of museum types and museum visitors.
An important part of knowing how to serve a diverse audience is getting to know who they are, their challenges, motivations and goals. This is why in the discovery phase, we often focus on data gathering and developing a strategy first. We use traditional methods such as visitor surveys and observation to design thinking tools like Empathy Maps or User Personas. We adjust the scope of the research to the needs of the project and museum.
We apply the lessons learned in the research to our technology. For example, we upgraded our multilingual features (which make it simple to deploy an app with multiple languages) and accessibility features (giving access to blind and deaf visitors using the most advanced technology). These two features were developed to not only serve a wider, more diverse audience, but also to meet these visitors where they are.
Distribution is also a key factor in reaching and engaging audiences, both in and outside the museum. All of our applications have social media sharing features, can be published to the web, and have fully responsive designs meaning you can view any application on phones, laptops, desktops or large displays.
Q: How do your clients sell digital projects up the chain of command? To the board, a donor or in a grant application?
A: Ultimately, selling your idea to leadership – be it department heads, the executive team, or the board of directors — means putting yourself in their shoes. Who are you speaking to? How does what you’re proposing benefit the Institution? Does it align with the museum’s strategic plan?
We’ve witnessed some pretty impressive museum professionals successfully build buy-in both laterally and hierarchically. The common thread in each case: they really listen giving stakeholders the opportunity to express their concerns and have them answered. And then there is the trump card: data. Whenever possible bolster your argument with real data (and, whenever possible, go beyond anecdotal evidence).
Q: We want to develop something custom and/or take one of CultureConnect’s existing products and put our own twist on it, can you do that?
A: Yes, the benefit of having a team of full-time designers and developers is that we can also take on custom projects. Once your custom feature goes live, it gets folded into our content management system. Of course, we find that most clients are able to create amazing mobile and digital interactives using our existing product suite and configuration options.
Q: Can you help us with design and developing content?
A: Yes, our team does it all and if we don’t, we know someone who does. All project engagements include standard project management services from kickoff through launch. We always provide best practices for content development and guidelines for media preparation. Our design team can simply advise or participate in-depth with mock-ups and file prep.
For specialized creative, we collaborate with a trusted partner. We’ve developed great relationships with internationally recognized vendors in the museum space over the years and can either connect you with a partner or source them on as a subcontractor.
Q: Are we able to track app performance? Review data and analytics reports?
A: Yes! Our content management system has a user-friendly data and analytics dashboard. You can login anytime and explore activity on your applications. Some of the data we collect includes how long visitors use the app, which pages are the most popular, and the device type used. This is also where you can also download any visitor generated responses from game module answers to emails collected.
Q: We have no digital staff. How are we going to maintain our digital interactives?
A: Hassle-free maintenance is not just a benefit we like bragging about, but one of our values. Our in-house developers maintain the entire system 24 hours a day. You’ll never need to hire a developer to fix an obsolete or buggy digital experience. Non-technical staff can easily make updates to applications and review data & analytics. And, of course, you’ll always have tutorials as well as phone or email customer service.
Q: We have really bad Wi-Fi in the museum. Can we still have digital or mobile experiences in our museum?
A: Yes! CultureConnect applications can publish in ‘offline mode.’ Offline mode functions across our entire platform so you can run your entire digital program, including mobile guides, without Wi-Fi or cell service. And the good news is that you’re still collecting data and analytics. Offline Mode works by downloading the applications to a local device which can then run without internet. For mobile guides, there is an offline option at download (so visitors can choose to download the content to their phones, if desired or necessary).
Q: Part of our institutional strategy is to streamline all our different digital systems. How do you support this goal?
A: Our mantra is “one system, one vendor”. Our platform has such a wide-range of mobile, in-gallery and online experiences, your team can grow and manage all your digital projects in one place. Our unified content management system (CMS) means you can sign on to one system to view, manage, edit or create all your applications.
We also love talking integrations. If you want to connect your DAMS or collection management system, let us know and we’ll set you up!
Q: Do you have budget-friendly offerings?
A: When a museum partner gives us their budget, we look at three additional factors: the timeline, the size of the project and the staff resources already available inside the institution. For example, a short timeline, large project and no staff resources could either result in a higher-touch higher cost option or a reduction of scope to accomplish the project on time and on budget. Our project manager is an expert at finding the balance.
We understand museums often work with firm, fixed budgets and need a project completed without overruns. We invest a little extra time in the proposal stage to flesh out a clear scope so that we can offer firm, fixed quotes. And don’t worry, we understand scope might not be in high resolution at the start!
We do have some specific products targeted to small museums. Check out our How it Works page for more information.
Q: What types of fees do you charge?
A: If you’re an Enterprise License client, you pay one annual fee for unlimited access to the CultureConnect platform and our full suite of products. Build as many applications as you want with your in-house team. We’ll still maintain the platform and provide customer support.
If we’re building your applications as part of a Project Engagement, expect to pay a set-up fee and an annual maintenance fee. When evaluating a vendor, it’s important to ask about set-up, annual maintenance, customer service, technical and any other potential (hidden) fees.
CultureConnect is an incredible value when compared to the cost (in time and money) of custom development of one-off experiences or hiring digital agencies. Our mobile guide solution is also more feature-rich and flexible than comparable off-the-shelf solutions.