The so-called ‘new media’ are increasingly becoming part of our daily lives. The high tempo and diverse range of digital innovations and -applications have as a result that the way we interact with our surrounding, and the role that devices have in these processes, change. Although museums have started to implement these new technologies in their exhibitions there is still much unknown about how these technologies can enrich the visitor experience. To gain more insight into this process, the research group Experience Design for Crossmedia Content (Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences), looks at the visitor experience on a holistic level, and more specifically, the tools that museums have to influence the visitor experience.
To study this, the research group does not only focus on the final design, but rather monitors the decision process of different museums while they are creating their exhibitions. Finally, the goal is to get a better insight into the decisions museums make when developing new exhibitions, or, more specifically, when developing new experiences.
While researching, the group developed the E-scape game and is still working on improving the tool. This game enables museum professionals to reflect upon (unconscious) decisions they make with regard to the effect of the exhibition on visitors. This is especially relevant as there is still limited knowledge regarding the visitor experience on a holistic level and how museums can use that knowledge to design a specific ‘experiencescape’ (Huysmans & de Haan, 2007; Macdonald 2007; Stenglin, 2009; van Vliet, 2012). Additionally, the literature that is available on this subject mostly deals with the physical part only, yet digital aspects too are part of both the visitor experience and the museum’s toolset. The term experiencescape was developed in de 1990s, building further upon the concept of the servicescape (Bitner, 1992), and used to describe intentionally-designed spaces where people come for entertainment, cultural enrichment and social interaction (O’Dell & Billing, 2005).