Finalist 2020


Physical designer: Anita Gigi Budai / Fabricator: Onset Arts / Client: State Library of Victoria

A playful, tactile device allowing visitors to develop their own personalised tour of the gallery

State Library Victoria’s Victoria Gallery’s exhibition, Velvet, Iron, Ashes presents a new way of seeing Victoria’s unique history and reveals, as never before, how a range of seemingly unrelated objects and stories link and intersect.

Sandpit created Map-o-Matic which is a playful, tactile device allowing visitors to scroll through and select from over 50 archival artefacts via the machine’s analogue mechanical dials and push-buttons. A final push of the Map-o-Matic’s button prints a physical, take-home map that takes visitors on a personalised tour of the gallery, revealing the rich web of connections tying the exhibition together.

Design Excellence

Map-o-Matic was developed through iterative design processes in both digital and physical design aspects of its creation.

It’s design development involved: workshop sessions with clients to define the project’s goals, user research, concept ideation, prototyping, user testing in order to fulfil UX considerations (customer journey maps, target audience and personas accessibility considerations analysis). Based on user testing results, the project was further refined and implemented for real-world testing and interaction.

This journey resulted in a playful, tactile device that allows visitors to select archival artefacts via the machine’s analogue mechanical dials and push-buttons to create an innovative gallery experience.

Design Impact

Map-o-Matic’s design process followed the Smithsonian Guidelines for Accessible Design, allowing a wider range of users to be able to enjoy the project and the exhibition as if it was custom made for them.These design tools consider exhibition content, exhibition items, label text and design, audiovisuals and interactives, circulation route, furniture, colour, lighting, public programming spaces, emergency egress and children’s environments in order to limit user exclusion within exhibition spaces.

Map-o-Matics physical design also considered its sustainability footprint by using E0 MDF in its construction, leaving the lowest formaldehyde emissions behind.

Design Transformation

Map-o-Matic’s back end engine – Cipher – is a powerful experience platform that underpins all of our work and drives the projects that Sandpit is known for. It allows us to understand who we are interacting with and present the things that are going to be most relevant and meaningful to them.

Cipher ensures that every aspect of the experience collaborates to create memorable and effective interactions for audiences and returns invaluable metrics to our collaborators. The opportunity to develop this platform is inherently linked to the support Victorian and Australian designers and artists receive to push innovation through multidisciplinary projects.

Design Innovation

Map-O-Matic focused on providing the State Library of Victoria with a solution for user interaction between the libraries archives and users interests. Based on selections made by the user, Map-o-Matic prints a physical map that takes visitors on a personalised tour of the gallery, revealing rich connections tying the exhibition together.

Sandpit’s Cipher platform does the hard work in the background. Curators are able to place objects on an interactive floor plan of the gallery which allows Cipher to calculate the most direct route between objects. A dashboard illustrates the usage of the machines including print quantities and button pushes.

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