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An adult playing with an interactive called “Are You Ready” at the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum.

The Benefits of Interactives

Would you say you learn more by reading a boring text panel or by doing and enjoying yourself? Interactives are seen in classrooms, museums, and retail stores as a method to educate and entertain. But what are interactives? An interactive is an object/device that can be manipulated by a user to achieve a positive reaction. People love, seeing, interacting, touching and experiencing  - interactives do exactly this but are focused on your brand/story/product/topic.

Museums and institutions have their own brands. This sets them apart from other museums and institutions. Having a strong brand identity helps you communicate why your institution matters and helps you to grow your audiences. The success of your brand's identity is not only a distinctive design, but also the statement that your institution is fun, educational, creative and accessible. Interactives provide the opportunity to make such influential statements.

Here are four reasons why interactives are beneficial:

1. Engages the public
We’ve mentioned touch is the body's second most used sense - why not use it to have the patrons engage with your brand? Engagement creates more confidence and loyalty because it triggers a positive reaction. This specific experience helps build the relationship and consequently increase sales/visitorship. Interactives that involve movement generally draw the public’s attention because humans are naturally curious. That same curiosity can be built upon to know more about your other events, programming, products, exhibits and offerings.

2. They Can Educate
There is countless research that finds that play is how babies learn - we would venture to say that play helps EVERYONE learn. Play at any age, builds critical thinking skills, improves creativity and helps retain information. Interactives are essentially play and it is a powerful tool to educate the general public. Interactives are typically designed around a “big idea” which gives the activity or interactive component purpose. Focusing the interactive into a purposeful play will be a lot easier for the user to grasp the concept the interactive is conveying.

3. Reach a Wider Audience
A golden rule of designing interactives is that it requires very little instructions - it should be fairly intuitive which allows brands/institutions to educate a wider demographic because lengthy instructions in different languages is not necessary. One well designed interactive could potentially reach multiple audiences that speak different languages and age groups.

4.They Entertain
The fact is - interactives entertain! They are fun because they engage the public both physically and intellectually. People who play with interactives end up making a purchase because they want to continue with the positive experience once they leave. Interactives tend to impress and amaze the customer in an unexpected way, making the brand stand out and live in the memory of the patron longer than viewing static displays.

Static displays are text or pictures that could not be manipulated by the visitor/user. Interactives on the other hand draw people in through an activity which engages the patron. The most engaging museums, institutions and brands don't just present information, they allow their audience to physically participate in their story through interactives. 

Caption - An adult playing with an interactive called “Are You Ready” at the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum. The Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki is a museum about Seminole history and culture - they use interactives to connect the general public with their story. The museum audience includes families and out-of-the-country tourists. Having a variety of different interactives in the galleries, allows their visitors to have a better appreciation and understanding of Seminole culture without translating the instructions because of the intuitive design of the interactives.