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Technology can potentially enhance experiences and assist research. Before considering technology's benefits, answering questions of why should newer technology be used and how will it be better are crucial. In the visitor experience and research arena, too many people start with technology. In visitor research, new tools have only increased our ability to provide detailed audience descriptions rather than advance understanding by challenging old paradigms or investigating new ones. The Smithsonian’s Office of Policy & Analysis is proposing a typology to help explain and predict differences in visitors' experiences. It identifies visitor preferences that influence time allocation, interaction, and responses to exhibitions. Can we enlist technology in this research? How would it aid – or hinder – our understanding?
16th–19th November 2011