Research & Evaluation

Mixing Molecules 2009 Formative Evaluation

Report date: April, 2009



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General Description: 

This documents the formative evaluation of Diffusion (aka Mixing Molecules), an immersive video interactive display demonstrating the collision of molecules.

Major Findings: 

• Some (47%) visitors found the experience ‘Enjoyable’, while 34% thought it was ‘Somewhat Enjoyable’ and the remaining was spread between ‘Very Enjoyable’ and ‘Not Enjoyable’.
• The enjoyable experience did not necessarily translate to an understanding of the concept or task. Forty-one percent thought the exhibit showed them something about how molecules collide, react, combine or come together, but they were less clear as to what the result of these collisions are. Of the total respondents, 17% specified that reacting molecules will form new or bigger molecules, and 10% interpreted explosions or color change as a result of molecule collision. (N = 53)
• Those who were not confused or frustrated (23%) either read the sign immediately, or did not realize that they did not complete the task, and were therefore not frustrated by it.
• The “What” button was confusing for a number of visitors (26%). This was a white oval on the left side of the screen that, when in contact with a shadow, flashed a message onto the screen. Approximately half of the groups used the “What button.” Those who commented on the button said that they did not know what to do with it, could not get it to stay on, or it got in the way while they were playing.
• Other visitors had a strong grasp of what they were trying to accomplish, but had difficulty either getting the molecules to move and the reactions to take place (9%) or were too short to have their shadow reach the screen (9%).
• While 41% of visitors did not want to learn more, 28% wanted to know more about the phenomenon

Type of product(s) studied: 

  • Exhibit

Method(s) of data collection: 

  • interviews


Andrea Motto
Eric Siegel

Associated product(s): 



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