Museum Personalization Based on Gaming and Cognitive Styles: The BLUE Experiment

Museum Personalization Based on Gaming and Cognitive Styles: The BLUE Experiment

Yannick Naudet, Angeliki Antoniou, Ioanna Lykourentzou, Eric Tobias, Jenny Rompa, George Lepouras
DOI: 10.4018/IJVCSN.2015040101
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This paper details and discusses experimental results obtained towards personalizing a museum visit through a personal mobile guide, using an approach relying on users' cognitive style, gaming, social networks, and recommendations. It describes the personalization system, which relies on a Facebook game to infer users' cognitive style, visiting style and interests, and a recommendation algorithm offering sequences of points of interests to visit. A qualitative and quantitative analysis of an experiment conducted in a museum is given, offering first conclusions and perspectives on the approach.
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Today, technology allows visitors to access and use cultural heritage material before, during, and after their visit of cultural sites (Ardissono et al, 2012). However, the vast amount of available information that can be proposed to visitors requires effective information management. Personalized applications can provide efficient filtering or guiding solutions to help visitors to find and focus on what they like. In this way, a visit in a museum becomes a personal experience, tailored to each particular visitor using mediation ways that adapt to their interests, profiles and/or expectations. Nevertheless, estimating the actual interests or expectations of visitors and recommend them exhibits too see or paths to follow depends on numerous human and contextual factors, which are today not all exhaustively known or understood. Moreover, the museum visit has several aspects constituting barriers for personalized guidance, like e.g., the fact that it can be of short duration, or that visitors might use the application only once. Nevertheless, gathering the more useful data on visitors in the shortest time is crucial to be able to help them from the start of the visit. This article extends and details the work reported in Naudet et al. (2013). It describes the Experimedia Blue project and experiment, and the results obtained towards personalizing museum visits through personal electronic mobile guides implemented as an Android application. It has been conducted at the Hellenic Cosmos of the Foundation of Hellenic World (FHW) in Athens, Greece.

From a scientific perspective, the Blue project investigated novel ways to estimate user's cognitive style, visiting style, and museum interests through the use of a social networks game in order to provide visitors with a personalized guide to enhance their Quality of Experience (QoE) within the museum. The approach to museum visit personalization consists of both recommendations and adaptations and differs from the others in that it relies on three innovative pillars: (P1) implicit user profiling through explicit domain-related actions, (P2) the use of cognitive profiles, representative of the visitors’ way of thinking and their personality traits (Riding & Rayner, 1998), and (P3) linking experiences in the museum with social networks. In particular, a specially designed game for Facebook use, is exploited both as a source of profiling information as well as a way to attract more visitors. We propose implicit profiling through gaming: a casual game gathers explicit preferences and domain-related actions that are translated to real-world preferences and, ultimately, the cognitive profiles. This is done through social media and seen as a novel way to address the cold-start issue. Used prior to the visit, we try to extract important personal information with user consent, in order to create user profiles before the actual visit. This enables us to compute recommendations before the actual visit. At this stage of our research, the focus is put on assessing the interest or performances of this kind of quick profiling for personalized guidance of visitors, not on real time aspects. In particular, profiles are not refined during the visit. Finally, social media (i.e. Facebook) are used not only before but also during (comments, photos) and after the visit (visit diaries). Our specific approach to museum personalization is thought to improve visitors’ QoE. To our knowledge, this is the first work investigating the exploitation of the three pillars listed hereinbefore.

From a user perspective, the Experimedia Blue project aimed at: (1) providing museum visitors a guided and personalized tour including recommendations and personalized descriptions computed from their cognitive styles and personal interests, both inferred from their interactions with a dedicated game; (2) extending a conventional museum visit, which they can report and share with friends, to the virtual world by offering to Facebook users a game allowing them to build their own virtual museum with objects they can win inside the game or can be brought back from actual museum visits. Linking user's experiences, including comments, and pictures into social networks fosters socialization and entices interest throughout a network rather than localizing experiences to individuals.

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