One Butterfly : understanding interface and interaction design for multitouch environments in museum contexts
Whitworth, Erin Casey
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Museums can be perceived as stuffy and forbidding; web technologies can enable museums to expand access to their collections and counterbalance these perceptions. Museums are searching for new ways to communicate with the public to better make a case for their continued relevance in the digital information age. With the emergence of multitouch computing, other diverse forms of digital access and the popularization of the user experience, challenge museum design professionals to synthesize the information seeking experience that occurs on multiple computing platforms. As a means of addressing these issues, this Master’s Report summarizes the One Butterfly design project. The project's goal was to create a design for a multitouch interface for federated search of Smithsonian collections. This report describes the project’s three major phases. First, an idea for an interface was developed and designs based on that idea were captured and clarified. Second, a formal review of related research was undertaken to ground these designs in the museum informatics, user interface design, and multitouch interaction design literatures. Finally, the report concludes with a review and reflection on the designs and their underlying ideas in light of things learned in the previous phases.