Design of a Contextual Digital Wayfinding Environment

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Conference Proceeding

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The user experience presented here illustrates how a digital wayfinding experience was developed for a museum website, using both natural and historical context engagement. A general web site tour is supported for visitors to the museum website. In addition to this standard experience, a botanical and historical tour can be taken. For the botanical and historical layers depicted, the layered maps support differentiated experiences in a digital wayfinding environment, which is particularly important for users not able to be physically present at the site. The botanical layer of the website provides botanical information specific to the property. Using primary historical artifacts, a historical context is provided. Historical documents supporting the grounds layout, such as documents regarding the original plant orders, are presented alongside the landscape at that time. Both the physical and virtual experience of the site is enhanced, depending on the pathway selected by the user through the digital material presented. This digital wayfinding integrates user experience with historical fact, landscape architecture, and physical site information. Contributions of this research include a methodology for digital wayfinding design at other physical locations and lessons learned regarding best practices in developing discrete information layers for traversal by differentiated user communities. Users reported increased interest in the differentiated general, botanical, and historical content when it was presented in context. Overall, interest in visiting the actual museum increased by fifteen percent after users completed the digital wayfinding experience.

Publication Title

Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)

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