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partner museums. All of the installations studied used pen-based handheld devices with
either infra-red or wireless network connectivity.This enabled the device to talk to content
servers. Users were engaged throughout the process of development, testing and evaluation.
While the outcome of the project is our primary focus, the project's use of the iterative
design cycle may point the way for other similar projects (see figure above). Over 100
individuals participated in an online concept-mapping exercise including software applica-
tion designers, educators, museum patrons (from teenage to retirement age), and museum
administrators (chief information officers, information technology managers, and technical
support staff). From this the team generated a list of specific expectations for the technol-
ogy, and the interrelations between them. At the outset of the exercise participants were
asked: `What design feature, or functionality, would you expect from a mobile, wireless
application for museums?' Respondents reported that it would need to have:
- an easy-to-learn, customisable (and potentially multilingual) interface;
- the ability to download information and take it home, together with a facility to
create notes about the exhibits;
- the ability to support instant messaging between users, together with a positioning
feature displaying locational information of groups of users;
- `beamable' pictures with text details of the work;
- the ability to track the exhibits at which visitors spend the most time, with a `visitor
counter' displaying the total number of people that have toured the exhibit;
- directions to and information on other exhibits that users might find interesting,
based on the exhibits already visited, and with relevant links to information about
merchandise in the museum shop.
Mobile Access to
Cultural Information
172 For more analysis of this evaluation, see Gay, G., Spinazze, A. and Stefanone, M., "Handscape:
Exploring potential use scenarios for mobile computing in museums", Cultivate Interactive, issue 8, p. 15,
November 2002:
Iterative Design Cycle
Video Tracking
What do people do in Museums?
Needs Assessment
What do people want?
Concept Mapping
Envisioning Tech.
Social Groups
Scenario Design
Testing in Context
HCI gr
oup at Cor
nell Univ
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