Title:Mobile Means Multi-Platform: Producing Content for the Fast-Changing Mobile Space
Authors:Erica Gangsei, Tim Svenonius
Publication:MW2011: Museums and the Web 2011

Starting in early 2009, SFMOMA embarked on an ambitious plan to bring the production, publishing and distribution of its mobile tour in-house. This meant investing in a fleet of Apple iPod Touches, scripting and producing hours of new audio and multimedia content, and adopting a new authoring system to custom craft the user experience. 


In the eighteen months since we began developing the new tour, innovations in the mobile app space have grabbed tech headlines everywhere.  More and more, users of iPhones and other mobile devices want to know: can I download this to my own phone?  (or: Why can't I??)  If we'd started our development a year later, or even a few months, we might have given that question more serious consideration --  but in time, teeming masses of developers descended on the app space and quickly proved that solutions to this problem could be within our reach. 


Now with our home-grown mobile tour in place, we need to design a streamlined approach to serving our visitors in-house both with our devices and their own.  We also need to keep in mind the thousands of web visitors who use and enjoy our online content via SFMOMA's website or RSS feeds - an audience we have paid less attention to since we began our push into the in-gallery handheld space. How do can we produce and publish our multimedia content to reach the broadest audience?  How can we measure the value of our mobile-designed content for web visitors? And how can we optimize content designed for in-gallery use when it is being experienced -- by app or by webpage -- far from the museum?


Finally, most of our mobile stops are crafted for multiple delivery platforms: 1) the in-house mobile multimedia tour, 2) download via RSS, 3) Guide-by-cell, and 4) an app for iPhone and Android platforms.  Many of these same stops are also published to our website.  Is there a one-size-fits-all solution to creating mobile content for multiple platforms?  What are the considerations for different audiences and different platforms?