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Title: Measuring visitors' experiences with mobile guide technology in cultural spaces
Author: Othman, Mohd Kamal
ISNI:       0000 0004 2738 1122
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2012
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The use of mobile technologies such as multimedia guides has now become very common in cultural spaces such as museums. However, there is still a lack of understanding about how visitors interact with such devices and simultaneously with the exhibits. Generally, research has investigated different types of informal learning within cultural spaces, both with and without mobile technologies, particularly the use of free-choice and guided tours. The programme of research presented developed a scale to measure visitors’ experience in museums (the Museum Experience Scale, MES), a parallel scale to measure visitors’ experience in historic churches (the Church Experience Scale, CES) and a scale to measure visitors’ experience with audio and multimedia guides in cultural spaces (the Multimedia Guide Scale, MMGS). Study 1 established the appropriate methodology for the subsequent studies. A virtual museum was developed with two types of tour: Free Choice (FC) and Guided Tour (GT). Participants undertook a tour and answered a questionnaire about their experience. The study did not elicit any significant differences in visitor experience in the two different tour designs, but paved the way for the subsequent studies. Study 2 developed the MES and the MMGS using standard psychometric principles based on 255 responses to an online questionnaire. Respondents answered questions about a recent experience of visiting a cultural space, with or without a multimedia guide. Four components were identified for the MES: Engagement, Knowledge/Learning, Meaningful Experiences, and Emotional Connection while three components were identified for the MMGS: General Usability, Learnability and Control, and Quality of Interaction. Study 3 piloted the methodology for evaluating the use of multimedia guides in cultural spaces. Sixteen participants used a multimedia guide on an iPhone to view an exhibition set up in the laboratory and then completed the MMGS. This study successfully established the methodology and showed a significant effect of different types of guides (FC and GT) on the four MES factors. Study 4 developed the CES by asking 272 visitors at three historic churches in York to respond to questions immediately after their visit. The resulting scale has 5 components: Emotional Connection and Spiritual Experiences; Knowledge and Learning; Enjoyment, Intellectual Stimulation and Curiosity; Immersion; and Information overload. In a final study, the CES and MMGS were used to measure visitors’ experience at a historic church, Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon. 59 visitors in total participated, 40 using an iPhone multimedia guide (21 FC and 19 GT) and a control group (CG) of 19 visitors without a guide. The findings showed a number of differences between the three groups on the CES and the MMGS. The results showed that introducing a smartphone guide in a historic church has interesting effects, both positive and possibly negative on visitor experience, particularly on the following aspects: time spent in the church; amount of knowledge gained; engagement with the church as well as with the smartphone guide; emotional and spiritual experience; and enjoyment and intellectual stimulation. In conclusion, three scales were developed were used to measure different aspect of visitors’ experience and were used in the realistic setting of a historic church. These scales make a contribution to the empirical evaluation of visitor experience of cultural spaces in general (with two different scales developed, one for museums and one for historic churches) and the use of audio and multimedia guides in cultural spaces.
Supervisor: Petrie, Helen ; Power, Chris Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available