Roto learned the importance of visitor testing and evaluation at the grassroots level, honestly appraising the qualities of our best exhibits, defining how we got there, and experimenting with various levels of prototyping and evaluation at each stage of our formal development process to continue to produce more effective and reliable learning experiences. That was a dozen years ago. When we formed Roto, we maintained an emphasis on in-house electromechanical capabilities as well as the classic strength of our function as exhibit developers, to ensure that we had the bandwidth to support what experience had taught, and those qualities are very much at the heart of how we work today.
Virtually every exhibit unit that is not predicated on a previously-proven model or design gets fully prototyped and tested, usually over multiple iterations, with real-life visitors. Sometimes these testers are other Roto staff, unrelated to the project itself, but more often they are families and school children, specifically recruited for evaluation purposes. Over the years, these relationships have expanded, to the current point where Roto has a formal exchange agreement with the Dublin City School district (15,000 students including 4 middle schools, 12 elementary housing 7 pre-schools). Roto staff provide hundreds of hours of volunteer support of various in-school STEM initiatives, while the district supports individual teachers (mostly science and art) who incorporate student involvement with Roto projects directly into their curriculum plans. This mutual support model is unprecedented in a commercial “sustaining” member of the AAM community.
Exhibit production at Roto involves a formalized process of quality control and final debugging, with multiple internal stakeholders (the developer, Principal in charge, and build team) all required to initial some 30 lines of standard QC checks for each and every module. Roto provides an extremely robust warranty and post-warranty service model, underwritten by the equally robust efforts made prior to installation to ensure that all major (and most minor) exhibit problems have been fully identified and rectified before they reach your gallery floor. Roto was born as an in-house exhibit department responsible for maintenance and repairs, and today we build exhibits exactly as we know you would want us to.