I am interested in what other museums are using to allow visitors to provide feedback about their experiences. We have pre-printed sheets for visitors to complete (by hand) and then staff enters the information into Survey Monkey. We would like to move to use of an iPad/computer kiosk at our information desk so the information/comments can be entered directly into a database. Any recommendations are appreciated.
A program like Survey Gizmo has a Kiosk mode, which can even operate offline if need be. The programming is pretty easy and has the advantage of using logic to guide the respondent to the right question. For example, if a respondent lets you know that they did not feel engaged by a particular exhibition, you can pose several reasons and/or add an open-ended comment. Those who liked the exhibition would be programmed to skip the "explanation" question.
Also, eliminating the data entry mode is a real time saver.
Finally, and most importantly from ARA's perspective, is the issue of self-selection in the kiosk setting. It is advisable for a docent or other volunteer try to engage the visitor to take the brief survey. They may or may not really be familiar with the questionnaire, per se, but it is important to get a wide and REPRESENTATIVE view or you're looking at biased data.
Happy to talk further.
We recently created exhibit survey forms using Google Forms (very easy to use) and then made the survey available to visitors using an iPad in an enclosed kiosk, like this one. I then used the free app 'Kiosk Pro Lite' to lock the iPad down so users can only access the survey. Google automatically compiles the information, both as individual responses and in a summary format with charts. The individual responses can be exported to an Excel spreadsheet.
In the surveys we do ask visitors to include their age range. For a recent exhibit survey, just over half of respondents were ages 17 and under. Although a large portion of our visitors are school age children, I feel that our results are skewed younger than our general audience. As George Wachtel noted, it would be ideal to engage visitors as well to ask them to take the survey so you're getting a representative sample.
We often design in simple boards where people can comment with a sticky note or the like. These really get a lot of use and seeing other people's comments encourage more comments. I love these notes from kids from the civil war site Prairie Grove. "This exhibit is better than microwave pie," is my favorite. I guess it doesn't help improve something, but it is a lot of fun. Here is one that is more useful. This TED Talk suggests a community chalk board. Simple can be effective. http://www.ted.com/talks/candy_chang_before_i_die_i_want_to
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