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The Electronic Guidebook: A study of user experiences using mobile web content in a museum setting

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1 Author(s)

A study of fifteen is reported as part of a larger research project. The Electronic Guidebook, whose aims are to understand how the introduction of wireless technologies changes and augments user experiences at the Exploratorium, an interactive science museum. The main questions being addressed in this study are: How do users respond to a mobile web resource designed to improve and transform user experiences in a hands-on museum? This paper shares results from interviews with three categories of users: teachers, staff 'explainers', and visitors. Several recurring issues and themes emerged from our analyses such as users' sense of isolation and user attempts to make a seamless experience between real-place and virtual contexts. Teachers, in particular, felt the mobile web content would be more useful as learning activities before and after museum visits. While the majority of users expressed a concern that the handheld would interfere with exhibit play, these users also reported positive feedback about the mobile web content and demonstrated new ways in which this resource motivated new ways to think and play with exhibits. Additional insights are provided regarding the role of mobile web content in mediating user interactions including a framework under development for organizing interactions with handhelds.

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Wireless and Mobile Technologies in Education, 2002. Proceedings. IEEE International Workshop on

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