When we move from a ‘one size fits all’ approach to how and why audiences engage with our museums, we can begin to provide personalised engagement for many different visitors.
By the IAE Network
The IAE Network has developed the Audience Experience Map to assist museums and organisations to consider the perspective of three different audiences: first-time visitor, repeat visitor and museum staff. Although there are many other audience variations, this map may be useful to support museums to assess the opportunities and challenges related to the interactions and touchpoints of different people.
Why map the experience of your staff?
We have included museum staff as an audience group because staff use and navigate the same spaces as public audiences, but their experience of these spaces can be different to those of other audiences. Considering the experience of staff is also important because a positive and inspired staff culture intrinsically lends itself to a more positive public audience experience.
Think beyond a physical visit
As engagement occurs within and, increasingly, beyond the physical museum, we recommend considering the ‘end-to-end’ experience of audiences from the perspectives of before, during, after or even audiences engaging without a visit. This is especially important when many museums are seeking to engage people through digital content and virtual experiences. Viewing each engagement or visit as a journey enables potential difficulties or opportunities to be identified in order to optimise the audience experience. In this way, we can increase satisfaction, deepen connection and encourage advocacy.
Mapping your audience experience
The diagram below offers examples of many of the potential experiences that different audiences might encounter when visiting or thinking about visiting your museum, or engaging with the museum in other ways, such as through online content.
The first row details some of the unique considerations of different audiences: first-time visitors, repeat visitors and staff.
The second row shows examples of some of the challenges you might encounter in engaging and supporting these audiences.
The bottom row gives examples of opportunities and things to consider when seeking to more deeply engage audiences, or offer a consistently positive audience experience.
Tip: You can adapt your template to use for other stakeholder groups such as donors, members, families and community groups