For the last five years, JRA’s Shawn McCoy and Thinkwell Design’s Cynthia Sharpe have been breaking down the latest attraction, technology and design trends through their annual Museum Day presentation at the 2015 IAAPA Attractions Expo. IPM caught up with Shawn to get a sneak peek at his 2015 Trends in Design Presentation and to discuss how lessons learned in the entertainment world can help museums and cultural centers shape their infrastructure, exhibits and programming.
In general, how much impact does design have on guest experience?
Design influences the level to which an experience engages guests emotionally and intellectually, and the degree to which an experience stays within a guest’s memory.
What is your main emphasis this year?
For this year’s presentation, I wanted to go beyond just detailing a series of cool projects to see if there were some underlying approaches and techniques that made each experience really resonate with visitors.
What approaches and techniques did you look at?
Everything from unique storytelling techniques to immersive media to the use of gameplay within the museum environment.
What kinds of projects will you discuss?
I’ll look at a wide variety of project types, ranging from traditional history museums to sports halls of fame, nature centers to art museums.
Do these design approaches migrate easily across markets – for instance, from museums to theme parks?
Absolutely. When you really break down the DNA of a good visitor experience, the approaches and techniques can be used across a variety of industries.
While the missions are very different between amusement parks and museums – the former being commercial in nature and the latter being educational – they both are remarkably similar in that they want to attract guests to a space, engage them on a variety of levels, and provide value for the time and money spent.
What has been the biggest change in design trends you’ve seen since IAAPA 2014?
Personalizing the guest experience continues to be a leading trend. I also believe that virtual reality will make a huge leap in 2016 with the mass release of new technologies and will create exciting new opportunities to immerse audiences like never before. • • •
JRA (Jack Rouse Associates) is a group of writers, planners, designers, media producers and project managers based in Cincinnati, Ohio, United States. Named by The Wall Street Journal as “one of the world’s more prominent design firms,” JRA is a multidisciplinary firm that has been structured to conceive, visualize and realize unique audience experiences around the globe. For more information on JRA, please visit www.jackrouse.com or follow @JRAtweets.
Kimberly Rily is a contributing editor to InPark Magazine.
“Emerging Trends in Immersive Design: A 2015 Review”, a 2015 IAAPA Attractions Expo presentation, will take place Monday, November 16 from 3:30 to 4:45 p.m. at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.
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