Onsite Kiosks versus Offsite Computers
Onsite electronic kiosks and online resources often provide similar types of content designed to enrich the physical visitation experience. Sometimes online presentations are adapted from kiosk-based programs. Kiosks offer close proximity to galleries which allows visitors the opportunity to go back and forth between a kiosk and a gallery for additional information. Routing and other exhibit information gained from a kiosk is less likely to be forgotten before visiting the galleries than would be the case with home-accessed online content. Online delivery of content may, however, provide some advantages over use of kiosks. Here are examples:
Access to content
Many individuals can access offsite online information at the same time. Onsite kiosk viewers need to form a queue for access one at a time. This queue may in turn cause physical congestion at the location of the kiosk. Also, patrons lose interest in the kiosk presentation if the waiting time is too long. Placement of multiple kiosks offers a partial solution.
Allocation of floor space
Kiosk footprints require dedicated floor space as well as space for users and those waiting to use the kiosk. Online users provide their own physical space.
Kiosks often do not feature an audio component due to constraints inherent in their physical placement. Online viewers do not have this constraint.
Hardware and maintenance costs
The capital cost of kiosk components including the stand, computer and display screen are borne by the museum. The viewer at home bears those same costs without expense to the museum. A partial offset is an assignment of a portion of the museum's operating expense of maintaining its web site.
Cost of paper copies
Paper copies of content, whether presented on a kiosk or home computer screen, are sometimes valuable to help the visitor remember information while touring the galleries. The cost of paper copies onsite is either borne by the museum or the visitor. The cost of copies via a home computer is 100% borne by the user.
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