Joshua Jeffery is the former Manager of Digital Engagement at the Andy Warhol Museum. Recently, he made a leap to the for-profit world, accepting a position at Google as an Experience Center Lead where he is incorporating his past work with museums and theater (and his love of roller coasters) to design engaging visitor experiences.
In his interview, Joshua spoke to us about using technology to create engaging environments for museum visitors. He discusses how museums can develop an authentic and compelling digital presence, and how we can develop projects that will be competitive in a saturated entertainment market.
Among some of the key points raised during his interview were how a web development team can function as an advocate for their audience; how we might develop an experience that would appeal to both new and veteran visitors; and how we can approach a design problem not from the perspective of “what can this new technology do?” rather, from the standpoint of “what is the bigger issue and how can technology solve it?”
In addition to this, Joshua took the time to provide a few tips for the emerging museum professional and to talk about the challenges of striking a balance between the use of available resources, adapting new technologies, long-term project maintenance, and meeting stakeholder’s needs and expectations. In his talk, he cites Warhol’s POP App and LACMA’s newest initiative “Snapchat” as examples of institutions successfully leveraging digital and social tools in the way they were meant – by creating “killer content” and providing the bits of fun and informative information that visitors want to see.
Joshua concludes by offering up the notion that it was time that we as museum professionals start to move beyond spectacle-based technology toward a better integration of our physical and digital worlds. That is to say – it is time we start thinking about technology in terms of how it can help us to make our lives better and more engaged.
Contributed by Thomas Williams, Clay Williams, Kate Skelly, and Alison Heney