Supermarket ‘quiet hour’ for customers with autism

A great example of how initiatives for special needs benefit many more people:

One of New Zealand’s supermarket chains has introduced a low-sensory “quiet hour” nationwide. It is “easy on the eyes and ears by reducing noise, lighting and other distractions in-store” and has been developed with support of Autism New Zealand.

“The lovely thing about quiet hour is that we have had very positive feedback from so many customers. Our older customers seem to really enjoy quiet hours too, as well as many other Kiwis who actually just find shopping a bit stressful and can now visit at a more peaceful time.”

General manager Kiri Hannifin

Here is the Countdown press release, and an article in the Guardian.

In Defense of Museum Benches

There aren’t enough benches in museums, says David Whitemyer in an article for the American Alliance of Museums, and I agree.

He suggests 4 things to consider:

  1. Help visitors slow down
  2. Make [benches] part of the plan
  3. Encourage hanging out
  4. Know the rules

“Whoever first came up with the idea is a genius: free public resting places where you can take time out from the bustle and brouhaha of the city, and simply sit and watch and reflect.” 

British writer Tom Hodgkinson

Why we like a picture or the hierarchy of visitor needs

Reapplying Maslov’s pyramid of needs to the museum visit

The cartoon is a fun expression of the hierarchy of visitors’ needs.

Working on a visitor experience plan for a client, I was thinking about the hierarchy of needs of visitors to cultural organisations. In an audience research project at Tate a few years ago (with the brilliant Dr Bob Cook from firefish), we found that visitors’ needs fall into a hierarchy similar to Maslov’s pyramid of needs. This proved helpful when thinking through the visitor journey and how to improve the visitor experience.

We found that accessibility and comfort needs had to be met before visitors could move to a more transformational level of enjoying the visit with others, learning and inspiration. This made us think about what expectations we set, how we help visitor to navigate the space, how the environment feels and what information we provide – these are all elements of a good foundation that can be a catalyst for a higher experience in the museum.

Seven Things Data-Informed Organisations Do Differently (3/4 and 4/4)

4/4 of Colleen Dilenschneider’s steps to a data informed organisation

Here is the forth post of Colleen’s path to becoming a data informed organisation: Seven Things Data-Informed Organisations Do Differently.

The 7 things are:

  1. Bring everyone to the same level of understanding;
  2. Incorporate data into all planning processes (not just marketing);
  3. Develop measurable objectives and metrics for success;
  4. Continuously gather market data and update plans accordingly;
  5. Take advantage of the predictive power of data;
  6. Look at market research as an investment rather than a cost; and
  7. Are actively shifting the organization’s culture

For me no7 is bringing it all together – a culture change. This is about attitudes to data, but I think behind this needs to be a positive attitude and approach to people – eventually it is not about data, but about our visitors, audience, customers, whatever we choose to call them, and about understanding them and showing empathy.

BTW, I realise I didn’t post Colleen’s third blog, here it is if you want to complete the series and hear about common cognitive biases to data: Accepting Data Can Be Hard

Creating diverse boards

Becoming a truly inclusive organisation starts at the top

Becoming a truly inclusive organisation starts at the top, says Cath Hume, CEO of the Arts Marketing Association (UK) as she writes about the AMA’s process to get to a more diverse board. She also admits that “There have been difficult conversations along the way. Talking about inclusivity and access can be challenging, emotional, personal and delicate.”

Read more in her article on ArtsProfessional .

How a rich customer experience can save (not only) book stores

James Daunt rescued the UK’s biggest bookstore chain in the face of online competition.

A focus on customers and on experience was part of the recipe how James Daunt has saved the UK’s biggest book chain in the face of global online competition.

His major changes included offering books that customers actually want to buy (vs. those publishers wanted to push) and giving store managers freedom to transform their stores “into places that feel personally curated and decidedly uncorporate”.

As James Daunt is quoted “the only point of a bookstore is to provide a rich experience in contrast to a quick online transaction.” And it seems to work. After turning around Waterstones, Daunt is now off to the US to help rescue Barnes & Noble.

Read more in the New York Times article .

(New York Times)

Why organisations need data advocates

2/4 of Colleen Dilenschneider’s steps to a data informed cultural organisation

Bringing the data to life – here is step 2 of Colleen Dilenschneider’s path to becoming a data informed cultural organisation: The Few, The Proud, The Nerdy – Why Your Organization Needs Data Advocates (2/4)

From my experience working at Tate, I support this 100%. Research and data alone are not enough to become data informed. It requires a lot activation to get people to understand, embrace and eventually act on research findings. Investing in insight is great, but investing in its activation will get you the return.

As Colleen suggests, “data needs:

  • an insider who knows what the findings mean
  • a storyteller who shares the story that the data tells
  • a translator, so it isn’t misunderstood
  • a champion, so it is kept front and centre”

Read Colleen’s article here.