Giving the Public what they want: Personalised Heritage Interaction Producing Dynamic and Extensible Learning Which is Thematically Appropriate

By Carl Silvester.

Published by The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Currently visitors to galleries and museums have a fairly standardised experience of any exhibition and existing auditory devices allow only limited interaction. The heritage exhibit experience does not cater for the specific needs and requirements of the individual user and there is little “follow on activity” post exhibition visit. Given the low cost of current digital multimedia devices, we argue that a more satisfying and meaningful experience of exhibitions could be gleaned from using: user-centric information as they enter the exhibition space to identify specific individual needs; suitable personal multimedia systems to convey information (e.g. electronic interactive signage, ipods), post-visit information. Such changes would significantly enhance their experience.

The Applied Vision Research Centre and the Design Ideas Research Group of the School of Art and Design at Loughborough University are comparing ways in which curators plan and design exhibitions with users’ requirements across a wide range of museums, galleries and heritage centres. Individual user needs vary, depending on a range of factors including: initial interest in the exhibition itself; general level of knowledge of art and heritage; ease of mobility in traversing an exhibition, etc. Tailoring the experience of exhibitions to each individual’s needs will result in greater population knowledge and appreciation of heritage.

We plan to use survey and eye-tracking methods to quantitatively determine which items attracted their attention and cognitive task analysis and verbal protocol analysis to examine which exhibits attract substantial attention. Eliciting this knowledge will enable the development of new interactive techniques based on visual and cognitive science coupled with the development of the user plan, woven into the development of design (scenario building) to personalise a user’s visit to a museum or gallery.

Keywords: Personalised, Inclusivity, New Technologies, Tailored Experiences, Data Collection

International Journal of the Inclusive Museum, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp.65-72. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 778.682KB).

Carl Silvester

Programme Leader, Designer and Educator, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK

Industrial Designer, Critical Thinker for Education and Industry. Projects include blue sky thinking for Dutch Government on housing and welfare of the mentally affected society. Projects to develop design portfolio’s of SME’S (Small medium Enterprises). Focus of design is around deconstructing existing models of design methodologies and creating altered scenarios. This involves redeployment of technologies and visualisation to communicate the potential narrative.


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