Catching and Keeping the Visitors' Attention

What is the most effective way of organising material so that it captivates the visitor?

1. “Wow” in 3 seconds.

Aim to capture the visitors’ attention within 3 seconds, from across the room or street. Your tools include; large clearly visible images, objects and text, bright contrasting light and colour, moving images or objects, alluring sounds and smells. Ensure your “wow” factor remains perceptible behind a crowd who are already looking at the exhibition. 

2. Set the scene, and the emotional tone at the entrance to the exhibition.

Is it dark and somber, colourful and happy, pristine and clinical, messy and ad hoc? Aim to reinforce the content of the exhibition, rather than overpower it. Be aware that by not consciously setting the tone, you may unintentionally give a first impression that is not consistent with your story. 

3. Create an emotional journey around the main content, and your visitors are far more likely to remember it.

Use a mix of multisensory elements in a multidimensional environment, to appeal to a wide variety of learning types. 

4. Use the exhibition as social media.

Incorporate an area for the visitors to contribute to/discuss the exhibition. Gather and broadcast visitors’ contributions on line and in the news media to achieve maximum community awareness. This doesn’t mean you have to include an expensive computer interactive.