Oct 13, 2017

A shift in perspective


Edited: Oct 14, 2017


The most significant challenge we have encountered so far in the development of 360 image-based subject guides is that it has been a struggle for some testers to shift their preconceived views of what a 360 can be. The idea that the tour isn't of the PLACE but of the RESOURCES can be a challenging one.


For instance, in the image above, the tags on and near the art have nothing to do with what is displayed. They provide information about and access to art-related research resources. Some viewers have no trouble with the fact that the tags don't literally relate to the objects they are on or near. Some viewers will be very confused by the lack of a literal connection.


We ran into the same phenomenon in our library tour, with several testers disturbed by the fact that the video of the therapy dogs was triggered by a tag on the easel where we promote library programs. In designing the tour, we found that a natural connection, but several testers suggested that the video didn't make any sense there, and that instead of doing what the easel does and promoting a program, the tag should explain how the easel is used.


At this point in time, most 360 tours are simple ways to orient users virtually to a physical space. Most people think of Google Street view or real estate tours, for example, when 360 tours are mentioned. The discomfort with anything that doesn't fit in that very limited use of 360 images is really an issue of whether the tag placement matches the user's expectations.


At this point user expectations of 360 tours are very low and literal. As more annotated tours and subject guides are developed, and more creative uses of the technology become ubiquitous, this initial discomfort with any tag that does not directly describe an adjacent object will likely subside.


Project of Edith Garland Dupré Library at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.