Smithsonian Commons Prototype - Experience Brief
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Addendum: The Smithsonian Commons Will...

A composite photograph of the whiteboard from a brainstorming session. Click here for larger image (1.6MB)

As a point of reference on the four attributes of the Smithsonian Commons (vast, findable, shareable, free ), during one brainstorming session we came up with 236 answers to the question "The Smithsonian Commons Will..." (During this exercise we were focused on the perspectives of actual users of the commons more than institutional goals.)

This list, and the audiences and questions we focused on, might give some background and perspective to people thinking about what the commons is and does.

The Smithsonian Commons Will …
Audiences to Keep in Mind…
Questions to Keep in Mind…
find cool stuff
teacher (4th - 6th grade)
What does the Commons need to be able to do?
learn what's true
citizen scientist
What services will it provide?
do my research
family (infant - 6th grade)
What is the Commons doing for Smithsonian?
find new passions
higher ed / grad student
What is the Commons doing for each audience?
be mash-able

be unrestricted
life-long learner

tell me what's on view
potential museum visitor

find cool games
SI employees

follow me

expose me to new cultures
scientist / curator / researcher

allow me to experience new things

bridge history with the future

share my stuff

give a voice to the voiceless fans of history

teach me

allow me to see the vastness of SI's collections

connect me with specific communities

be fun

collaborate with others

remember me

excite (motivate) me

never be redundant (never see same thing twice)

connect me with stuff happening in my community

garner more interest in helping SI's cause

help me understand / sustain bio-diverse planet

be multi-lingual

connect me with experts

be on my cell phone (at my fingertips)

grow with me

echo Smithson's mission

help me build an audience

find me where I am

help me understand world cultures

be "tweetable"

sell me something

be legitimate

be findable

be relevant to me

help me get feedback

be family-safe

help me understand the American Experience

will challenge me

help me do my job

just work / be easy

help me teach my kids

help me share my work

be a rich immersive experience

be high-res

help me understand the universe

will be an iPhone app

expose the SI brand

understand the past

help my kids learn

inspire me

contribute to scientific projects

feature what is current/relevant with users

be cool!!!

be easy to publish to…

open my horizons

know where I am geospatially

understand what it means to be American

encourage self direction

be accessible (compliant)

exist beyond

set the standard for I.P.

work with my smartboard

be followable (get updates)

ask me to play

last - have permanence, longevity

be shareable

respect differences of opinion

be bulk downloadable

increase and diffuse knowledge

demonstrate Gov 2.0

be popular

enhance my business

be free - no cost

expose me to experts (cool people)

be current

enrich my site / work

be part of my visit

provide real-time updates (programs, events, speakers, etc)

tie into museum exhibits


support crowd-sourcing

be embeddable

help me understand the Smithsonian

give me a widget to use on my website

help solve big problems

offer content to all ages

make SI work better

support the before/during/after visitor

bring SI to me "take it with you"

change learning

connect to S.O.L.'s

help me understand the news

help me in the classroom

make something new

offer levels of content (give me content at my level)

be open source

encourage institutional collaboration

virtually let me collect the thing I'm seeing now

be vast limitless

be ever-evolving

inspire me to visit

keep getting better

help me with my school report

help me write my thesis

give me unlimited storage

help me create

help me print dinosaurs on my t-shirt

have a printable factsheet of the artifact (downloadable in multiple formats)

protect my privacy

let me save things I like

be on YouTube

diagram the how to use the Commons

be open 24/7

help me figure out where to park

grow with technology

enhance my visit

make it easy to site the Smithsonian

let me earn points "research miles" "Commons cash"

be localized

get better the more people use it "network effect"

connect me with rich media

integrate with Google apps

be programmable/customizable

be watchable (make a video playlist)

be visual

be browsable

answer my FAQs

help employees catalog collections

have an internal-only view

be disaster-proof - really well backed up

be analyzable

highlight latest research

enable bucket-free content

let me add a tag (+ geo tag)

allow me to buy a ticket (concert)

show new collections/acquisitions

work on my Kindle

encourage more traffic to museum websites

feature great ideas

have a credit card

give me access to the collections

be scalable

have APIs

make me a hero [insert Matt's superman logo here]

recommend things I might like

allow memberships to Commons clubs

have clubs for kids (space club)

let me micro donate

clarify I.P. permissions

support fan groups / communities

be easy to upload (internal SI)

group "like" content

be transparent with P.O.V.

generate buzz

create new learners

be responsibly moderated

allow content to flow freely across domains

be open access

find research

enrich wikipedia articles

highlight world events (lunar eclipse)

make work-in-progress visible internally (SI)

offer parental controls

be competitive

be so easy my mom could use it

help me see the best stuff - best reviewed, most viewed…

allow users to rate/review content

never have a dead end

be friendly to 3rd party developers

settle a bet

include non-SI artifacts/collections

have customer service

support the exhibition life-cycle "workflow"

have a Kids Commons

be easy to maintain (internal SI)

have contests

help me plan my talk/discussion

show me what museum has what artifact

ask me what I think

highlight the most popular artifacts

never have a "404"

be bookmarkable (organizable)

enable chat

let me (internally) hide things from the public

be memorable

increase SI traffic

have a great search function

help me see things in 3D

connect me with SI store product

help me buy stuff / sell stuff to me

sell me a framed reproduction

surprise me

hep me plan my exhibition

be fast

give me access controls (internal SI)

change SI's business model

redefine / reinvent the Smithsonian

tell me stories

feature virtual conferences

let me set up a video conference with an SI expert

show up in "Friday folders" (as a resource)

create a standard in classroom - set the standard

bring visual tools to the classroom

help me print stuff

stimulate dialog

stimulate reflection and enlightenment

raise awareness of "universality of art"

show how disciplines overlap / intersect

celebrate citizen science

be innovative

increase the # of learning experiences

link informal to formal education

celebrate learning

appreciate bio-diversity!

let me participate in SI research

be "engaging"

Let me tell my story

Take me behind the scenes

Shine light on the curators

Make me care

Connect things ("Connections are cool!")

Make me feel like I belong

Make me feel like my comments/visit matter

Show/tell you what I care about

Show me quirky objects and the stories behind them

Tell me something I didn't know about

Tell me a "kick ass" story

Impress me with SI's work

Feature "Smithsonian Stories"

Partner with Wikipedia

Show me things I'd never think to look for

Include forums

Smithsonian Commons Prototype - Experience Brief
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