This paper presents Social Object Labels as an in-gallery commenting platform and reports on a formative evaluation of the concept focusing on visitors' awareness and mental models of the developed prototype. Findings confirm many design assumptions underlying the evaluated prototype but also flag up serious problems resulting in low engagement levels. They suggest a need to de-emphasise optical markers in the user interface, to provide visitors with a clear idea about the potential rewards of engagement and to align the interaction design with users' expectations shaped by the wider interaction environment. The paper concludes with an tentative outlook on future design directions.
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