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Teenagers as Experience Seekers Regarding Interactive Museums Tours

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Abstract and Figures

Museums promote cultural experiences through the exhibits and the stories behind them. Nevertheless, museums are not always designed to engage and interest young audiences, especially the “net generation”. According to the Falk model of visitor user experience, the visitor uses their visit experience to improve and change their sense of identity and thoughts of the museum along with, in a small but significant way, how society understands their sense of identity and other museums. According to the above model, we see our target group, teenagers, as experience seekers since this typical visitor’s type is usually motivated to collect an experience. In order to verify if this hypothesis is true, we created a series of focus groups with a total of 130 teenagers (15-17 years old) to gather their thoughts about museums and what they could add to a museum to make their visit more enjoyable. Through the notes gathered from the focus group above mentioned, we then validated our assumption that teenagers of 15-17 of age could be related as experience seekers regarding a first tour to an interactive museum.
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DIGICOM International Conference on Digital Design & Communication
teenagers as experience seekers
regarding interactive museums tours
Vanessa Cesário1; António Coelho2; Valentina Nisi3
Abstract
Museums promote cultural experiences through the exhibits and
the stories behind them. Nevertheless, museums are not always de-
signed to engage and interest young audiences, especially the “net
generation”. According to the Falk model of visitor user experience,
the visitor uses their visit experience to improve and change their
sense of identity and thoughts of the museum along with, in a small
but signicant way, how society understands their sense of identity
and other museums. According to the above model, we see our target
group, teenagers, as experience seekers since this typical visitor’s type
is usually motivated to collect an experience. In order to verify if this
hypothesis is true, we created a series of focus groups with a total of
130 teenagers (15-17 years old) to gather their thoughts about museums
and what they could add to a museum to make their visit more en-
joyable. Through the notes gathered from the focus group above men-
tioned, we then validated our assumption that teenagers of 15-17 of
age could be related as experience seekers regarding a rst tour to an
interactive museum.
1. Introduction
The Falk model regarding visitor experience (Falk, 2009) takes into
account that a visit to a museum develops long-term memories and
meaning, predicting that different entering motivations result in dif-
ferent existing understandings. Also, the visitor notices that their mu-
seum visitor experience was less than satisfying if expectations are not
met. Falk (2009) argues that museums should segment their audiences
since each audience group, especially teenagers, is different regarding
motivations, beliefs, and what to expect from a cultural heritage space
(Napoli & Ewing, 2000). Museums mostly provide different guided tours
for children and adults, without having any appropriate guidelines for
Keywords
Museums, visitor user
experience, teenagers,
experience seekers
1 Faculty of Engineering
of University of Porto (FEUP),
Portugal / Madeira
Interactive Technologies
Institute (M-ITI), Portugal,
vanessa.cesario@m-iti.org;
2 INESC, Portugal / FEUP,
Portugal, acoelho@fe.up.pt;
3 M-ITI, Portugal,
valentina.nisi@m-iti.org
128 Portugal 2017
the teens’ generation in particular. Tzibatzi (2013) argues that the mu-
seum curators often exclude the teenage audience from their curatorial
strategies, which causes museums to ignore this age group, and as a
result this group is disinterested in visiting these cultural spaces.
Throughout this contribution, we describe the model of visitor
experience from Falk, and we argue that teenagers (15-17) could be
seen as experience seekers regarding this model. To check if this hy-
pothesis is true, we created a focus group with teenagers to gath-
er what are their perceptions regarding museums, and what they
would like to encounter there in order to have a more enjoyable vis-
itor experience.
2. The Falk model of visitor experience
The model predicts that different entering motivations result in dif-
ferent existing understandings, suggesting that cultural institutions
should try to segment audiences as a function of their identity-re-
lated motivations, starting with the ve motivational categories pro-
posed: Explorers (looking for interesting things for them); Facilitators
(looking for interesting things for others); Experience Seekers (seek-
ing to reach an experience of a kind); Professional/Hobbyists (look-
ing for intellectual interests); Rechargers (looking for museums as
peaceful places).
Although the museum visitor experience model will not let us pre-
dict with certainty what every visitor will do and remember all of the
time, it would enable us to describe and predict the underlying trajec-
tory of a signicant percentage of museum visitor experience. Though
the details of what the visitor remembers will vary, the basic form
and structure of their memories are likely to be predictable. The key to
understanding what is recognized depends on the lters which every
visitor brings with them to museums. These lters create the lens by
which memory is formed and recalled. Depending on the visitor’s cur-
rent identity-related visit motivations, the same individual can en-
gage with the same exhibitions in fundamentally different ways (as
an Explorer, Facilitator, Experience Seeker, Professional/Hobbyist, and
Recharger). After the tour, the visitor uses their visit experience to im-
prove and change their sense of identity and thoughts of the museum
along with, in a small but signicant way, how society understands
these aspects and other museums.
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DIGICOM International Conference on Digital Design & Communication
3. Teenagers as experience seekers
After the description of the model of visitor experience from Falk, we ar-
gue that the teenagers of 15-17 years old would fall into the Experience
Seeker’s category. That is because these type of visitors, experience seekers,
are described to be attuned to see what they were meant to see, if they go
to see a particular exhibit, their exhibit will be a real high for them and
quite memorable. These regular visitors are usually motivated to collect
an experience, so they feel they have “been there, done that”. Attracting
them requires convincing those potential visitors that the experience
deployed at a museum is an experience of a kind, something that they
cannot miss if they want to feel they have had a complete experience.
These Experience Seeking visitors are looking for the whole package.
Hence, marketing materials should emphasize how much fun they will
encounter while participating in this experience of a kind. These visitors
are keen to get an overview of the place rather than deep understanding
of the exhibition. Experience Seekers desire to make memories of the ex-
perience. Therefore, they like to take and share pictures of their museum
visitor experience. Museums with high numbers of these visitors should
create great spots for photo opportunities. In theory, these photo opportu-
nities would help promote the museum among the others and via their
word-of-mouth to future visitors. The usual Experience Seeker is hardly
likely to return; still if satised, they are likely to spread the word about
the experience taken and encourage others to visit (Falk, 2009).
4. Study
In order to check whether the teenagers from today could be assumed
as experience seekers, we created a focus group with groups of teen-
agers (15-17 years old) to gather conclusions about this assumption.
During these focus groups, the researcher asked two quintessential
questions which sparked a discussion and started gathering notes on
the particulars of the discussion to see if it relates to the experience
seekers view. Those questions were as follows: Q1) What do you think
about museums? To collect information regarding whether they like
to visit these institutions and in what situations they usually go to
museums. Q2) How do you think museums could enhance your experi-
ence at the museum to be more enjoyable? To collect information about
which kind of experiences they would like to have inside museums.
130 Portugal 2017
4.1. Sample & Method
After obtaining the approval of one secondary school to participate in
this study and with the collaboration of its teachers, 130 teenagers (96
males, 34 females) 15-17 years of age from 7 classes (informatics and
multimedia classes) were assigned to perform the study. The focus
groups took place on several different days in their classrooms where
nine slots of the focus group of 20 minutes each were performed,
having around 14 participants per session. During the sessions, the
researcher only asked those two questions above mentioned and
gathered notes on the verbal expressions of the teenagers and on the
particulars of the discussion which emerged among them. Then those
expressions were categorized into groups of related expressions to
gather assumptions about the views of the participants.
5. Results
Participants had multiple verbal expressions each, that is why we
ended up with a total of 224 expressions for the Q1 and 443 for the Q2.
Q1) What do you think about museums?
Regarding the Q1, we transcribed a total of 3 related expressions
which were verbally referred 224 times by the participants. These
expressions were grouped into one main category (Table 1). In gen-
eral, participants think going to museums is a good way to learn,
although they usually don’t go there frequently”. Participants relat-
ed museums with the boring word, considering museum visits as
a mundane activity. However, it depends on their motivations, and
forty participants agreed and highlighted if it is a theme that I like,
I am condent that I am going to enjoy the visit”. All 130 participants
stated and agreed that as a general rule, museums do not show any-
thing new, which implies that these young participants do not want
to visit them, or they only visit them when they are on holiday with
their parents. Nevertheless, even when they are on vacation, these
Table 1 Expressions of the
130 participants related to
the question: What do you
think about museums?
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DIGICOM International Conference on Digital Design & Communication
young people only visit the museums located outside of their region
in order to know other cultures. Four participants have expressed that
they would like to try an interactive museum; however, they are “not
aware of any”.
Q2) How do you think museums could enhance your experience at
the museum to be more enjoyable?
Concerning Q2, we transcribed 14 expressions that were in the total
verbally expressed 443 times by the participants. These expressions
were then grouped into four categories: Interaction, Multimedia,
Experiences, and Interestsa (Table 2).
Participants showed the desire of interaction (202 expressions)
when inside the museum premises, such as interactive cutting edge
technologies, virtual reality and also playing games in order to spend
a good time there. According to these participants, games play a huge
role in engaging people, and we heard the following expressions It
would be fun to explore a museum through a game. It would be engag-
ing because the games are engaging. Hence the museums will become
charming places”; I could go to a museum taking a tour by a digital
game to have fun and to be the best and also the fastest one!”. Likewise,
the integration of social media and pictures sharing were referred
through such expressions as “If I saw a picture taken in the museum in
my Facebook or Instagram I would go there for sure to try it”; “Taking
pictures would be fun also as Snapchat does”. The latter is regarding
the augmented reality effects that this social network, Snapchat, of-
fers to their users.
Table 2 Expressions
of the 130 participants
related to the question:
How do you think museums
could enhance your
experience at the museum
to be more enjoyable?
132 Portugal 2017
These young participants pointed out that integrating multimedia
(136 expressions) in the museums could appeal more to their gener-
ation as well as fulll their expectation to interact. Participants ex-
pressed interest towards integrating videos and digital content and
interaction in the museum with expressions such as the integration
of cutting edge technologies would be for sure more appealing for muse-
ums and teenagers alike!”;The museums are usually boring, and with
the implementation of treasure hunts they could be more attractive to
visit and to spend a while”; “Of course I would visit a museum empow-
ered with technology!”.
Participants pointed out that museums would be more engaging
places if they were offered some experiences (55 expressions) for them
to try out such us unusual museum’s events and different guided
tours. They realize that the museums’ advertisements do not reach
them, hence they are less interested in these cultural institutions.
Participants showed us that they would be intrinsically involved
in a museum if this one was related to their personal interests (40
expressions) in order to fulll their intellectual needs. They mostly
referred to photography, football, and electricity as some of their in-
terests inside a museum.
6. Discussion and concluding remarks
This model of visitor experience (Falk, 2009) suggests that the so-called
“one size ts all” does not apply to the museum’s visitors. Hence, the
marketing goal of the museum should not be a single promotional
strategy. We cannot create a single message to attract all kind of vis-
itors, especially this “net generation” (Napoli & Ewing, 2000) ooded
with new technologies. With this research we are forced to argue with
(Tzibazi, 2013), teenagers do not see the museums as appealing places.
However, different visiting-motivations will result in several different
understandings (Falk, 2009).
Teenagers have the perception that museums are good places for
informal learning. Nevertheless, these cultural heritage venues remain
unappealing for them. Also, the participants had poor knowledge about
interactive museums which prompted them to go wild when think-
ing about new methods to enhance museums as cultural and engag-
ing places. We agree that technology can create personal connections
between the teenage user and the information content and to inspire
133
DIGICOM International Conference on Digital Design & Communication
teenagers to give a closer look. In fact, Wikia (2013) reports that the
“Generation Z” (teenagers in particular) is more and more engaged
with open platforms. Besides, more studies argue that when working
with this age group, emphasis should be placed on producing combined
communication policies that connect the use of interactive technolo-
gies with more conventional media channels (Napoli & Ewing, 2000).
Teenagers related games, interactive content, virtual reality and
social media as appealing methods to enhance their visitor experi-
ence. Also, the act of taking pictures to share a moment is a point
from the experience seekers, which is reected by the fact that the
teenagers talked about taking pictures and spreading the word to
their friends regarding their experience in a museum. This act of
sharing pictures prompts not only an advertisement but as well cre-
ates memories of the experience. Teenagers desire experience inter-
action through something new, and experience interaction is simply
to have an experience which can be related again with the experience
seekers. According to Falk, a visitor in one single tour could be more
than one type of visitor, however, according to the results of the focus
groups, we argue that for a rst interactive tour in a museum, teen-
agers should be seen as experience seekers because they will desire to
experience something new.
Falk also argues that people who visit a museum with very par-
ticular and content-oriented interests fall into the category of
Professional/Hobbyists. Some students felt themselves to be in this
category by arguing that if the museums offered an exhibition which
ts their interests they would certainly visit it. However, this is a mi-
nor group of 40 expressions gathered, in comparison to the 403 ex-
pressions gathered about the use of interaction (202), multimedia
(146), and taking part in experiences (55) inside museums.
Curators of museums should focus on this group by incrementing
not only the experience to be tailored for this specic public, but as
well concentrating on a specic marketing campaign by advertising
the fun that visitors are certain to have.
134 Portugal 2017
Acknowledgments
The research leading to this work has received funding
from ARDITI (Agência Regional para o Desenvolvimento
da Investigação, Tecnologia e Inovação), under the PhD
scholarship number M14-20-09-5369-FSE-000001. Our
gratitude also goes to to the students and teachers of
the Multimedia and Informatics at Francisco Franco
Secondary School.
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In the majority of cases our experiences of artworks in galleries and museums is as passive observers. While this is widely accepted practice in terms artwork preservation it limits the engagement potential with younger visitors. In this paper, we present the results of a focus group with nine K-6 children revealing their opinions about (i) art, (ii) museums and galleries, and (iii) standard engagement practices in these venues. Participants stressed the importance of art and museums, showed a high respect for artworks and artists, depicted interactive activities they liked at museums, and described how they would liven up art venues. In addition, we explored a way of using augmented reality (AR) technology to create an engaging and personal art experience for a young audience. To achieve this, we built a prototype for a treasure hunt style game where participants coloured a contour drawing not knowing what exactly they are colouring. However, they were told that if this coloured drawing is placed correctly, it should wrap around a 3D object (statue) or overlay a 2D canvas (picture) somewhere in the gallery.
Book
What do computers, cells, and brains have in common? Computers are electronic devices designed by humans; cells are biological entities crafted by evolution; brains are the containers and creators of our minds. But all are, in one way or another, information-processing devices. The power of the human brain is, so far, unequaled by any existing machine or known living being. Over eons of evolution, the brain has enabled us to develop tools and technology to make our lives easier. Our brains have even allowed us to develop computers that are almost as powerful as the human brain itself. In this book, Arlindo Oliveira describes how advances in science and technology could enable us to create digital minds. Exponential growth is a pattern built deep into the scheme of life, but technological change now promises to outstrip even evolutionary change. Oliveira describes technological and scientific advances that range from the discovery of laws that control the behavior of the electromagnetic fields to the development of computers. He calls natural selection the ultimate algorithm, discusses genetics and the evolution of the central nervous system, and describes the role that computer imaging has played in understanding and modeling the brain. Having considered the behavior of the unique system that creates a mind, he turns to an unavoidable question: Is the human brain the only system that can host a mind? If digital minds come into existence -- and, Oliveira says, it is difficult to argue that they will not -- what are the social, legal, and ethical implications? Will digital minds be our partners, or our rivals? © 2017 Massachusetts Institute of Technology. All rights reserved.
Book
Latest edition of the seminal publication on interaction design and user experience principles, processes, practices, and patterns for desktop, mobile, and web platforms.
Book
How is it possible to think new thoughts? What is creativity and can science explain it? When The Creative Mind: Myths and Mechanisms was first published, Margaret A. Boden's bold and provocative exploration of creativity broke new ground. Boden uses examples such as jazz improvisation, chess, story writing, physics, and the music of Mozart, together with computing models from the field of artificial intelligence to uncover the nature of human creativity in the arts, science and everyday life. The Second Edition of The Creative Mind has been updated to include recent developments in artificial intelligence, with a new preface, introduction and conclusion by the author. It is an essential work for anyone interested in the creativity of the human mind.
Conference Paper
In this paper we describe our current Participatory Design work, specifically the designing and developing the Persuasive Souvenir, a system intended to motivate more people to visit cultural institutions like museums. RFID technology is used to track guests in the museum in order to identify the artifacts most interested to them by monitoring the duration of their stay in front of an artefact. A photo of a guest taken at the entry point will then be displayed on the screen with the artifact s/he was interested on. The displayed guest's photo with an artefact of interest connects the visitor with the environment. Other guests can tap on a 'like' button on the smart screen, thus demonstrating some social connectivity amongst guests.