October 17th, 2008 to the Projects page.
It’s been a while since I posted about the iPod Touch/iPhone prototype tour that I was working on at the San Jose Museum of Art. The last time was in October of 2007. A lot has happened since then including the actual launch of the tour itself. We launched it in May of 2008 in conjunction with a tour we created for Robots: Evolution of a Cultural Icon. For the launch of the tour there were some preparations and changes.
One of the main focuses was to upgrade the wifi in the museum. We were operating with 2 networks. One was used by patrons of the cafe (which was pretty unreliable) and the other was used for exhibitions. For the upgrade we combined the two into one network and added two more access points using HP enterprise grade wireless routers.
The new set-up reaches most parts of the museum. There are a few spotty areas that we will need to focus on should we expand the use of handhelds into galleries other than our two main ones. Another issues that we’ve encountered is the lag time that occurs when you move from the gallery downstairs to the gallery upstairs. This causes a switch from one access point to another. The units pick up the new access point fine, but the lag time occurs when it switches to a different channel. It can take up to a minute for this to happen which you can image could frustrate a visitor. My request to Apple about how the iPod Touch handles channels was unfortunately not answered. Thankfully we have not had a lot of exhibitions where visitors move between access points.
One other feature that I added was a feedback page. It has not been very popular usage-wise. There have only been about 30-40 forms collected and a lot of them are duplicate submissions. The feature was added more as an experiment than anything else to see if it would be used and to learn from it. I created the survey using a form creation website called Wufoo. You can sign up on their website for a variety of different plans ranging from free to $199.99 dollars a month. The service is great! You sign-up, create a form and then you are given a snippet of code to embed the form on your site. You can also adjust the appearance of the form through customized CSS. While the form works effectively on the iPods, there are some issues with customizing the CSS for it. There was another iPhone optimized solution that I came a month or two ago which I forgot to bookmark and I have been feverishly trying to find it again. If I do find it I will post it here.
There are many other updates that I have been trying to experiment with. I will try and share my findings once I have implemented or tested. I hope to make a post soon about WiFi delivery via web browser vs. locally stored data.