The Islamic Museum of Australia (App) was designed specifically with the user experience in mind; it is an interactive experience aimed at satisfying the tech savvy visitor whilst also providing essential data for the intended growth and sustainability of the museum. Principle consultant of Osmium, the company behind the IMA App, Ashraf Naim, states “the app is not intended to replace or mimic the museum experience; it is designed to connect the existing new media user experiences whilst enhancing the museum visit; both through its immediate function with visitor interactivity and usage as well as the sustainability element as garnered through the feedback loop and iBeacon technology, with the provision of data and community input that will further direct and improve the museum as a community cultural institution.”
Ashraf further describes the function of the App through the recognition of the museum as a spatial experience “One cannot really replicate the experience of being present, and that is not the purpose of the App, it is no trying to replace the museum experience; for example, the scale or sense of power that an artwork which is two or three metres in height is an experience that cannot be fully realised via even the biggest and best screen. And it is definitely not intending to replace the materiality and beauty of objects or artefacts in their presence, or even the personal experience and interaction with other visitors or staff.” And although the App provides access to a trove of additional information in relation to the displays, galleries and the museum itself, keeping in line with the museum’s philosophy in reflection of the IMA App brief as described by Ashraf, “the App is not aiming to nail down or define the experience of the visitor or even claiming to be the definitive source of knowledge”. Along with that is the aim of the “visitor leaving the museum with more questions so as to awaken the sense of curiosity and discovery”, the IMA App encourages further exploration through links and social networking.
The IMA App is a tool that allows interactivity and growth of the museum through precise user experience data and also allows the community member to help shape the content and delivery of the museum through their feedback and usage. “This is the true power and vital experience of the IMA App, the meeting of technology and community in the museum setting to progress the cultural development of a community.” The IMA App has a number of applications and goals.