Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) applications are being employed increasingly in museums and cultural heritage sites to enhance visitors’ experience and interactively convey information. Consequently, researchers and museum professionals have shown great interest in designing user interfaces which are effective in terms of learning, usability and economic outcomes. Usability evaluations are often conducted to assess the effectiveness of applications already deployed, instead of being used in the early development stages. This paper illustrates a user-centered design approach to develop an interactive multimedia application for the Chesterholm Museum at Vindolanda, Northumberland, UK. This approach is based on conducting evaluation during the design process to asses the usability and effectiveness of the future application. This paper presents the research background upon which the evaluation has been based; the preliminary analysis of the visitors’ profiles that has driven the first stage of development; the methodology deployed to conduct the usability evaluations and their outcomes, which fed the second stage of the design process. During this process, interactivity, high levels of engagement and technical usability were identified as the main priorities which were later reflected in the effective design of the application. Finally, this paper seeks to highlight the potential and importance of early usability testing in ensuring the effectiveness of the resulting application.
|Number of pages
|VSMM 2008: Digital Heritage; Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Virtual Systems and Multimedia Short Papers
|Published - Oct 2008