With the design and development of the virtual panorama tour, it was demonstrated how to tell the story of a car collection using rich media resources that engaged audiences. This answered the research questions: PRQ 1:How can we tell a story using rich media resources? and PRQ2: How can we tell the story of a car collection to engage an audience?

During the production phases, various resources such as archival materials, photos, audio and video clips, and short movies were used to develop a virtual museum environment that, it was hypothesised, would offer visitors an interactive and engaging experience. The application of graphical visualisation techniques and the combination of various digital media elements improved the interpretation of the story in a narrative context. The use of rich resources helped to convey information, deliver a greater understanding of the story and the controversy surrounding it, and engage with the audience.

Various methods were used to evaluate the creative production’s usability, users’ experience, engagement, and understanding. First, experts evaluated the pre-publication version of the production and found it learnable, understandable, and attractive. They were satisfied with it, but also provided feedback to help achieve a higher quality digital work. Second, after the corrections and improvements recommended by the expert testers were made, a user-based evaluation was employed to test real users’ experience, engagement, and understanding regarding the final production. Established evaluation techniques were successfully applied in both stages of the research, and facilitated answers to the research question, PRQ3: How can we evaluate users’ experience, engagement, and understanding of a museum-related digital production?

The users’ evaluation confirmed the necessity and usefulness of the experts’ reviews. Overall, the survey participants perceived the production as well-designed, easily learnable, and attractive, and they enjoyed navigating it. However, both minor and significant differences were discovered in the evaluation and enjoyment of various groups of users, suggesting that such digital productions are not for everyone. A positive correlation was found between an interest in cars and overall happiness with the production. Comparative analyses also showed correlations between participants’ gender, age, computer literacy level and their understanding, engagement, and satisfaction.

Significant differences were found between how different genders, age groups, and participants with various computer-related experience evaluated the production. Male participants, the under-40 age groups, and participants with high gaming skills showed a significantly higher level of understanding, engagement and satisfaction than females, users over 40, and participants with little gaming experience. Regarding preferences for media elements, it was found that, again, gender, age, and gaming experience highly influenced the participants’ choices. In the evaluation of the use and effectiveness of digital technologies for the future of museums, no significant differences were found between the various groups. Survey participants found the digital production appropriate for attracting audiences and effective in the museum sector.

The findings indicate that virtual panorama tours featuring multimedia elements could be successful in attracting new audiences; and that using this type of storytelling technique can be effective in the museum sector. This research has implications for museum professionals, their understanding, attitudes, and education. The study provides a reference and example for museums, cultural institutions, and the entire GLAM sector concerning the use of panoramas combined with multimedia to tell stories of specific large objects on multiple platforms. The research also provides a design and evaluation methodological reference for other studies. The strategies and methods used here can be adapted by the GLAM sector to understand and facilitate approaches for improved presentation of our cultural heritage. If museums intend to attract new audiences and impress the younger generations, it is worth the financial investment to ensure that professionals who are highly skilled in technology are employed. This research calls attention to the need for the education of GLAM professionals to incorporate higher levels of technological skills so that they are comfortable working and/or outsourcing with contractors and/or collaborators to take advantage of the 21st-century opportunities for audience engagement. (Dawson, 2019)

Home      PhD project
The story of the Markham car collection (original version)
The story of the Markham car collection (extended version)