Gaining Visitor Consent for Research III: A Trilingual Posted-Sign Method
When studying museum visitors, researchers sometimes collect data by video- and audio-taping large high-traffic areas. In order to inform visitors that they are being recorded, researchers post signs in the area. This article describes the Exploratorium’s efforts to design and test trilingual signs that would effectively inform visitors when video-based research is in progress. Interviews with 255 adult museum visitors, conducted across six versions of the recording area's setup and signage, revealed several effective design elements. The posted sign was more noticeable and welcoming when it included a large headline, a realistic camera icon, and a colorful background. The most effective setup of the area contained many cues to videotaping beyond the large posted sign, such as visible recording equipment and small signs on exhibits and cordons. In the most successful trilingual setup we tested, 92% of visitors leaving the research area knew they had been videotaped.