Member Post: The Evolution of Experience

by Ellie Byrom-Haley, CCO, and President of Gecko Group

Keeping the next generation engaged, informed and excited about experiential design in 2018 and beyond.

The data tells us most kids, teenagers and young adults are more interested in staring at a smartphone over engaging with the experiences we all work so hard to develop.  According to a study conducted by Microsoft, the average human's attention span is now 8 seconds- making it shorter than a goldfish.

My Personal Experience

While observing visitors engaging in The Terracotta Warriors Exhibit (at The Franklin Institute and Pacific Science Center)  I saw a teenager out of the corner of my eye looking at his smartphone rather than engaging with the exhibit. The 10,000 sq ft exhibit was an international endeavor which took years to develop and an incomprehensible effort on behalf of many collaborators.  This was disappointing at first. However when he entered the pit section featuring a Terracotta Warrior with a projection mapping video that visualized the coloring and decay his eyes lit up! A much better outcome. He seemed captivated as he looked on to the full-size figure which was sequencing through motion graphics displaying the making of the warrior in ancient China.  The integration of this modern technique has the power to influence a newer generation by using visually engaging technology without hindering the conceptual integrity of the message.

Trending innovative techniques include:

Projection Mapping which uses high-intensity projectors to overlay motion graphics on a static object to enhance or change color / depth and create motion within the experience.

  • This video created by our media partner Klip Collective, beautifully illustrates the process and outcome of the technique

Augmented Reality which The Franklin Institute integrated with the user's smart phone/tablet to view the 3D surroundings with digital graphics to enhance an otherwise invariable environment.  Franklin Institute has referred to this as “The real world, but better”. Visitors were able to see the weapons that the Terracotta Warriors were originally buried with.

  • Download Franklin Institute’s Terracotta Warrior App to experience this first-hand:

Touch Screen Interactives offer a natural way to let your audience directly engage with with more detailed content and the exhibit itself. Although touch screens have been around for decades, the programming framework and hardware technology used to display them is ever evolving and improving making this tried and true approach more valuable than ever.

New technology is shaping the way the next generation engages with the world around them and in the museum environment.  We are constantly challenged to keep pushing the experiential evolution to not only inspire visitors, but revolutionize the way they experience the world around them.

To learn more about Gecko Group or the Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor exhibit, visit the website at




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