Kleo: User Centered Art Tours

Presenter: Evan McEldowney

Research Category: Humanities and Arts
Additional Authors: Alice Young, Amanda Pinsker, Emily O'Brien, Beatrice Huang, Mark Sivak
PI: Evan McEldowney, Mark Sivak

Creating meaningful connections between visitors and art is a goal of the majority of art museums. Museums can be overwhelming and pedagogical, often leading to poor user experiences. Visitors, especially novice visitors, are hard pressed to take meaning from museums, find the specific path they should take, and see how art relates to them. Our team built Kleo to create a memorable and accessible experience that creates interest and conversations between novice visitors and the museum itself. We began Kleo by first working with researchers, employees, and visitors from the MFA, ICA, and Harvard Art Museums to evaluate the museum experience and see what was missing. Our findings led us to create a product that provides flexible support for the interests of different users, accurate and reliable way finding, and diverse contextualization around art. We bridge physical and digital tools to provide a smart phone tour application that allows for customization, contextualization, and easy navigation in a user’s museum experience. Museum administrators and employees in return receive real-time data on what is going on in their museum and how to strategically move forward. Partnering with Harvard Art Museum made our prototype museum specific but the research, design, and experience of our app has the potential to change how visitors and museum administrators view and use digital tools in the future.