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Tangible Interaction in Museums and Cultural Heritage Sites: Towards a Conceptual and Design Framework

Duranti, Daniele (2017) Tangible Interaction in Museums and Cultural Heritage Sites: Towards a Conceptual and Design Framework. Advisor: Pellegrini, Prof. Emanuele. Coadvisor: Scopigno, Dr. Roberto . pp. 424. [IMT PhD Thesis]

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Abstract

Drawing on a design perspective, the research explores the application of tangible interaction in museums and cultural heritage sites. Tangible interaction is today a quite consolidated research area inside HCI (Human-Computer Interaction) and Interaction Design. It refers to a new way of interacting with computer systems that is more similar to the way one commonly interacts with the real world: instead of using generic devices like the mouse or the keyboard, one interacts using specific objects or the body. In this way, tangible interaction is able to bridge the gap between the world of atoms and the world of bits (Ishii et al., 1997). Since the early 2000s, tangible interaction has also been applied to the cultural heritage field for the creation of onsite interactive installations that better integrate digital technologies, the materiality of the objects and the physicality of the experience during the visit. So far, research in the field of tangible interaction applied to cultural heritage has mainly focused on developing new systems and evaluating them while a move towards more theoretical and conceptual works is still missing. As a consequence, there is not a common language in the field, there is not a deep understanding of what has been done and what is missing, and there is not a formalization of the aspects that make up the design of tangible interaction systems in the cultural heritage field. This situation might generate issues such as ambiguity and misunderstanding between the different professionals involved in projects, it might slow down innovation in the field, and last but not least, it might make the design process slower, less efficient and effective. This research represents a first attempt to overcome at least partially these problems by replying to three main questions that are: 1. How has tangible interaction been applied to onsite interactive installations in the cultural sector? 2. What kind of experiences of cultural heritage does tangible interaction allow? 3. What are the aspects that make up the design of a tangible interaction system? In order to answer these questions a theoretical framework for tangible interaction in museums and cultural heritage sites is proposed, similarly to what has been done in the past for other types of technologies (e.g. Spallazzo, 2012). The framework developed as part of this research can be intended as both a conceptual framework and the theoretical foundations of a design framework. Indeed, not only it shows what tangible interaction is by providing a categorization of past tangible interaction systems, but it also identifies a set of aspects that make up the design of such interactive systems. These aspects represent themes around which choices have to be made during the process of design, and the knowledge of which can facilitate or inspire the design process itself. The framework has been developed starting from the collection and analysis of more than 60 tangible interaction projects. In particular, the projects have been analysed using a thematic analysis, combining an inductive (bottom-up) and deductive (top-down) approach in order to identify themes and subthemes (categories and subcategories). In order to discuss and develop further reflections about the framework being proposed, the research goes on presenting a reconstruction and analysis of a practical case study, the interactive exhibition “Voices from Forte Pozzacchio” developed as part of the EU funded “meSch” research project. The proposed framework can be beneficial for researchers as it provides a language and a conceptual model that can help them to reflect and discuss about the topic, to orient future research, to cooperate with other researchers. It can also be used to provide different practitioners (e.g. designers, developers and cultural heritage professionals) with a shared view of what tangible interaction is, that can help reduce misunderstandings and can facilitate collaboration between them. In addition, the framework lays the theoretical foundations for a design framework, addressed to designers or design teams, that aims to provide them with a greater awareness of important aspects to consider during the design process, potentially making it more effective and efficient.

Item Type: IMT PhD Thesis
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
PhD Course: Management and Development of Cultural Heritage
Identification Number: 10.6092/imtlucca/e-theses/232
Date Deposited: 07 Feb 2018 14:39
URI: http://e-theses.imtlucca.it/id/eprint/232

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