Design challenges in promoting inclusion for cultural heritage contents through low cost technology
Editor: Ekströmer, Philip; Schütte, Simon and Ölvander, Johan
Author: Khan, Sara; Krishnasamy, Rameshnath; Germak, Claudio
Institution: Politecnico di Torino, Aalborg University
The last two decades have seen a growing trend towards increasing the accessibility to cultural heritage contents. Recent developments in the field of interaction design have led to a renewed interest in investigating new methods to enhance the visitor's experience inside museums and other cultural points of interest. A new generation of low cost technology could act as a solution to the cognitive and physical issues that disrupt the visitor’s experience and the access to the learning resources of the collections. Data from several studies suggest that personalisation in the domain of development of cultural heritage can be fruitful in achieving a wider range of visitors and promoting inclusion. Since the museum experience can be composed by different cognitive, social and physical factors it can be vital to take into account these variables in order to design a better experience. With the intention of enhancing the museum experience, two field studies have been conducted. The first field study has been based on the analysis of visitors’ behavioural patterns in a large scale archaeological museum in northern Italy. Visitors’ movement and physical constraints, such as hyper congestion and fatigue, have been mapped with the aim to develop a Bluetooth sensor system that can act as a customizable mobile tour guide. This case was essential to investigate and define a preliminary categorisation of cultural sites’ visitors. In the second case study, the discussion will verge on the use of similar low cost, proximity-based and location-based technologies, such as Bluetooth beacons and marker less augmented reality, applied to both indoor and outdoor contexts, to deliver alternate reality games. This case study includes 32 cultural and historical points of interest and an aqua zoo in Northern Jutland, Denmark. In this case, the research dialogue will focus on the visitors’ interaction with the mobile, location-based content, and design challenges that emerged from a user experience point of view. The purpose of this paper is to review recent research into the field of personalization of cultural heritage experiences as well as comparing case studies conducted to explore the relationship between users and ubiquitous technology in cultural and historical points of interest. The main discussion will focus on how it could be possible to adopt interaction design solutions to tackle museum experience challenges while taking into account different design issues. Many issues can arise during the design of solutions based on new interaction frameworks and since new modes of interactions would be required, these new approaches may seem unfamiliar to the users. With different methods and personalization technologies it could be possible to manage different cultural contents in the most appropriate way for different audiences.