Iterative development

Today I am looking at a paper about a Augmented Reality (AR) project at the Svevo Museum in Italy. TH AR part of the project interests me less than their methodology. As the the authors themselves conclude, AR is a young technology and at the moment the tools for developing the AR experience are mostly in the hands of technologists “could prevent the successful development of experiences focused on content rather than on technology which are capable of attracting diverse categories of users.”

The paper is: Fenu, Cristina & Pittarello, Fabio. 2018. Svevo tour: The design and the experimentation of an augmented reality application for engaging visitors of a literary museum. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies 114: 20-35. doi: 10.1016/j.ijhcs.2018.01.009.

The Svevo Museum is dedicated to the works and life of writer Italo Svevo, and being a literary museum is has many aesthetic challenges similar to the Chawton library where I did my experiment. Bu aesthetic challenges I mean that the appreciation of literature is not the same as the appreciation of the visual arts. Essentially literature is immaterial, even ephemeral – books, even old books essentially being containers for the work, not the work itself. Even if they are “only” containers, they are valuable, and more fragile than many museum collections and providing the access totem that visitors might expect can be an issue. This may have influenced their idea to use AR as part fo the experience, though they point out that “The Svevo Tour is, to our knowledge, one of the first AR projects conceived for a literary museum (AR-literary-museum-issue) and one of the challenges was to use these techniques for engaging its visitors.” That challenge made more acute by the nature of most of their visitors – adults and seniors who are often educators.

There’s not much that’s particularly quotable in this paper (remember I am doing all this reading for the required “modest” corrections on my thesis, but given the nature of the site, and the iterative approach to development. I might well reference this paper as an example of the sort of rapid prototyping that museum professionals can repurposing “off the shelf” software – Wikitude in the case of this project, Scalar for mine.

One thing I do like is that they so call Microsoft Hololens “AR”, not Mixed Reality. see my rant about that here.

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