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The balance of attention: The challenges of creating locative cultural storytelling experiences

The balance of attention: The challenges of creating locative cultural storytelling experiences
The balance of attention: The challenges of creating locative cultural storytelling experiences
There is a long history of research exploring how augmented and mixed reality systems can be used to support visitors to cultural heritage locations, but the technological or application specific focus of much of this research means that our understanding of how these experiences work is more of a collection of insights, rather than a coherent theory about how the elements of the experience come together. There is a danger that without developing this knowledge further, our systems will be technologically complex, but experientially simplistic. In this paper we explore how one form of mixed reality experience, digital locative storytelling, can impact the experience of place, and in turn how place impacts the experience of story. We have analysed 33 interviews, and 25 participant observations from 12 story deployments at 2 different sites. Our findings confirm that locative storytelling experiences not only impart information to readers, but also help them to rediscover familiar places and see hidden relationships - especially through time. But our findings also show how the success of the experience is reliant on the balance of attention between the virtual and real (the story and the place), and that issues with navigation, social interactions, and technology are problematic because they can disrupt this balance. Digital locative experiences therefore need to be designed carefully in order to create a balance of attention (for example, by aligning the elements of the story with the topology and character of place). We call this a state of Loco-Narrative Harmony, in which place and story are working together and reader attention is balanced, creating an effect that is greater than the sum of its parts.
Augmented reality, Digital visitor experiences, Locative literature, Mixed reality
1556-4673
Millard, David
4f19bca5-80dc-4533-a101-89a5a0e3b372
Packer, Heather
0e86c31f-6460-4bbd-b6ac-c717ee2cbd96
Howard, Yvonne
8aecbf0f-ed6a-4ce6-9530-5fa43226a3b0
Hargood, Charlie
309bc436-39f3-49d2-a175-6105e8b4a440
Millard, David
4f19bca5-80dc-4533-a101-89a5a0e3b372
Packer, Heather
0e86c31f-6460-4bbd-b6ac-c717ee2cbd96
Howard, Yvonne
8aecbf0f-ed6a-4ce6-9530-5fa43226a3b0
Hargood, Charlie
309bc436-39f3-49d2-a175-6105e8b4a440

Millard, David, Packer, Heather, Howard, Yvonne and Hargood, Charlie (2020) The balance of attention: The challenges of creating locative cultural storytelling experiences. Journal on Computing and Cultural Heritage, 13 (4), [35]. (doi:10.1145/3404195).

Record type: Article

Abstract

There is a long history of research exploring how augmented and mixed reality systems can be used to support visitors to cultural heritage locations, but the technological or application specific focus of much of this research means that our understanding of how these experiences work is more of a collection of insights, rather than a coherent theory about how the elements of the experience come together. There is a danger that without developing this knowledge further, our systems will be technologically complex, but experientially simplistic. In this paper we explore how one form of mixed reality experience, digital locative storytelling, can impact the experience of place, and in turn how place impacts the experience of story. We have analysed 33 interviews, and 25 participant observations from 12 story deployments at 2 different sites. Our findings confirm that locative storytelling experiences not only impart information to readers, but also help them to rediscover familiar places and see hidden relationships - especially through time. But our findings also show how the success of the experience is reliant on the balance of attention between the virtual and real (the story and the place), and that issues with navigation, social interactions, and technology are problematic because they can disrupt this balance. Digital locative experiences therefore need to be designed carefully in order to create a balance of attention (for example, by aligning the elements of the story with the topology and character of place). We call this a state of Loco-Narrative Harmony, in which place and story are working together and reader attention is balanced, creating an effect that is greater than the sum of its parts.

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Accepted/In Press date: 24 May 2020
e-pub ahead of print date: 3 December 2020
Published date: December 2020
Keywords: Augmented reality, Digital visitor experiences, Locative literature, Mixed reality

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 444357
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/444357
ISSN: 1556-4673
PURE UUID: 69cdb50f-31c1-44bb-9745-a00bfb7e9595
ORCID for David Millard: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-7512-2710

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Date deposited: 14 Oct 2020 16:30
Last modified: 17 Mar 2021 02:36

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Author: David Millard ORCID iD
Author: Heather Packer
Author: Yvonne Howard
Author: Charlie Hargood

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