Enhancing museum visits through the creation of data visualization to support informed choices and the recording and sharing of experiences

LEVICK-PARKIN, Melanie, MCENTAGGART, Patrick, GWILT, Ian and WOOD, Jonathan (2015). Enhancing museum visits through the creation of data visualization to support informed choices and the recording and sharing of experiences. In: The Pararchive Project Open access community storytelling and the digital archive, University of Leeds, 27-28th March 2015. (Unpublished)

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This paper explores the use of a practice-led research methodology in the design of generative data visualizations that can be used to reveal the details of an empiric visit to a museum. The research has been undertaken as part of the EU funded project entitled ‘mesch: Material Encounters with Digital Cultural Heritage’, with the objective of designing, developing and deploying tools for the creation of tangible interactive experiences that connect the physical dimension of museums and exhibitions with digital information, in new and novel ways. Here we are specifically concerned with how user-engagement captured at the point of interaction can be visualized to bring added value and insight to the museum visit, for the visitor, the museum curator and the broader community. Collected data detailing personal demographics, time spent at exhibits, choice and sequence of viewing etc. are used to explore how data can be generatively visualized to allow visitors to make informed decisions about: what they have seen; to help plan return visits; acquire additional knowledge; and for curators to organize future displays based on visitor interests. Within the paper we introduce a range of novel applications that have been developed to expand and enhance the visitor experience. Firstly we discuss the creation of prototype interfaces developed to investigate how the potential of digital networks can augment the user and community experience by connecting museums and cultural artifacts to digital archives and related materials at other venues. How the accompanying interaction with digital interfaces might prefigure and extend the experience of a museum visit before and after the event is also investigated. Secondly, we discuss visual strategies and languages that capture the experience in a dynamic user-interface, which can be interacted with at a range of distances both physical and temporal from the museum visit and in different personal and socio-cultural settings. Other considerations including the development of generic interfaces and transferable designs to different types of museum and the design of physical ‘experience mementoes’ are discussed. Finally we describe how the participation of visual communication design students can be effectively incorporated into an interdisciplinary, blue-sky research environment.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Cultural Communication and Computing Research Institute > Art and Design Research Centre
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Depositing User: Melanie Levick-Parkin
Date Deposited: 25 Jun 2015 13:20
Last Modified: 23 Aug 2015 00:06
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/10449

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