Investigating new technologies to improve accessibility and visitor experience
Conference name
Arsad 2019
This project investigates state-of-the-art access options that employ new technologies within diverse museum and visitor attraction environments. The primary aim is to enhance the transmission of information and enrich the quality of experience for people who are blind and partially sighted. Three novel approaches are put forward to improve museum accessibility and visitor experience. Firstly, I am going to look at a new way to evaluate audio description (AD) using a combined method of reception study and emotion measurement. Secondly, novel ways of exploiting various sensory capabilities will be investigated, such as 3D printed objects combining with touch sensitive technology to compensate for the loss of sight and enhance the quality of the museum visiting experience. Thirdly, this project will explore the possible use of commercial Artificial Intelligence-based Voice-Controlled Personal Assistants (VCPA) such as Alexa to design an interactive mobile app which is able to answer questions automatically from the enduser, thus to provide a more interactive and user-led museum experience for BPS visitors. Given the three approaches above, we expect to improve accessibility and visitor experience for people who are blind and partially sighted primarily. As part of this research project, I will work closely with Titanic Belfast to develop the use of new technologies to improve accessibility and visitor experience and to evaluate their effectiveness. Since Titanic Belfast is recognised internationally and is already committed to accessibility standards, we will undertake our three stages of the research: audio description evaluation; multi-sensory touch tour design; and interactive mobile app design altogether in Titanic Belfast itself. This way will keep the consistency and coherence of the research. Nevertheless, the underlying principles this project putting forward are supposed to be applied to other heritage centres and museums, such as Folk and Transportation Museum of National Museum Northern Ireland (NMNI).

This is an inherently interdisciplinary research project, which combines research from translation studies, museum studies, information technology, and psychology studies. A combined interdisciplinary methodology will be exploited to solve the proposed research questions. The overall methodology employed, therefore, will be a reception study- an enhanced reception study using EEG, ECG and GSR monitoring, quantitative and qualitative approach to gather data, bottom-up and top-down approach, thematic analysis, also some software such as Monkey survey, Invigo and Doodle will be exploited in data collection and analysis stages.

I anticipate that the possible outcomes of this project will include a well-organized and effective touch tour enhanced by a high quality tailored audio description, and an interactive mobile App. We also anticipate that the research process will also be beneficial to Titanic Belfast as together we explore ways to improve accessibility for blind and visually impaired patrons and to offer them an enhanced experience. In a broad sense, the implied principles under this research and products design are expected to improve the quality of audio description and enhance interactive and entertained visiting experience for BPS individuals within not only the heritage centres and museums, but also arts, culture, and education sectors."
Submitted by Irene Tor on Mon, 15/04/2019 - 06:18