Museum Visits for Older Adults with Mobility Constraints: Sharing and Participation through Technology

Kostoska, Galena (2015) Museum Visits for Older Adults with Mobility Constraints: Sharing and Participation through Technology. PhD thesis, University of Trento.

PDF - Doctoral Thesis
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.



The aim of the thesis is to study how older adults with mobility constrains can enjoy museum experiences of their family members (by providing methods and tools for family members to “save” and share memories of museum visits with older adults at home) and to investigate how older adults can remotely participate in museum visits through technology. We employed face-to-face interviews and questionnaires inside two different museums settings to understand if and what visitors share with non-visitors, and which technology they use for this purpose. The results showed that a low number of visitors share their museum visits with some materials like pictures they took or books bought in the shop. Although visitors have the intention and would like to share information, they rarely do so. In order to support sharing with non-visitors, we provided several ways for “saving” museum content. The visitors were able to bookmark objects during a museum visit, and received by email a link with the bookmarked content in the form of a digital booklet. We tested whether people would use these features, and if they would access and share the “saved” content after the visit. The results suggested that our approach can significantly increase sharing: at least half of the participants shared the digital booklet with someone. We adapted the booklet for older adults and we performed usability study on it, in order to understand if older adults with and without cognitive decline can use it. We measured and compared the performance on four tasks: opening the booklet, browsing the content, zooming in the content and closing the content after being zoomed in. Results show that the booklet enables older adults to consume content to some extend and it allows additional in-depth exploration. We studied factors influencing feasibility of remote participation for older adults, where we measured the impact of different designs and interaction techniques on participants ability to understand, follow and engage in remote museum visits. Interactive navigation was found the most suitable interaction paradigm for active older adults, whereas frail adults can participate only through interaction-free tours. While almost all of the participants were able to understand the tours in our experimental setting, the ability to follow a visit was strongly influenced by the interaction type. We investigated levels of experienced presence, social closeness, engagement and enjoyment when older adults join museum visit of onsite visitors in a drama-based approach. The remote participant and onsite participants were connected with audio link, the information about the objects were contained and presented in form of a story connecting all the objects in the exhibition. The constructs of closeness, engagement and enjoyment correlated significantly: we found that both audio channel and interactive story were important elements for creating an affective virtual experience, the audio channel increased the sense of togetherness, while the interactive story made the visit more enjoyable and fun. A virtual tour was designed and developed to engage older adults in an immersive visit through part of the Louvre, by a distant real-life guide. An initial diary study and a creative workshop were conducted to learn how to better support the needs and values of older adults, and which approaches would work better for the scenario of remote participation. Visitors’ experienced levels of social and spatial presence, immersion and engagement were quite high independently of the level of interactivity of the guide, or the presence of others. We discuss further recommendations for video-mediated remote participation for older adults.

Item Type:Doctoral Thesis (PhD)
Doctoral School:Information and Communication Technology
PhD Cycle:28
Subjects:Area 01 - Scienze matematiche e informatiche > INF/01 INFORMATICA
Repository Staff approval on:23 Dec 2015 12:43

Repository Staff Only: item control page