Distory is also a mobile application for a pilot interactive guided tour in three small historic towns; Radovljica, Topola, Fermo. And what is it all about?
All three towns had the goal of promoting the town’s heritage to new and diverse audiences using innovative digital solutions, we all came from different backgrounds and had different expectations and ideas on how to approach the project. This was the main problem to be solved because the idea of having a digital solution requires a well-structured methodology. After a long brainstorming, researchers, visiting good practices, learning, we decided on two solutions. First was a platform for collaboration presenting personal stories through short video interviews (you can find it here) and second was a mobile app that adds another layer through augmented reality.
Design for a mobile app for iOS and Android devices includes a presentation for all 3 towns.
Creating content was hard because it hat to be appropriate for different audiences (young, adults, elderly …). We tried to include as much foto material as we could, make text short and simple and also include an audio guide for a better experience. We also looked at best practices. AR as a part of the mobile app is one of the most promising technologies it opens up an opportunity to bring history to life by overlaying the physical world with animated historical content. Furthermore, it actively involves users, making passive observers into active participants.
In devising the app we wanted to provide a way to make a variety of information and stories available for people who were not able to visit the actual sights or just wanted interactive guidance on town. When we designed the app, attention was paid to the selection of fonts and their colours (black and white) so that the narrative part was easy to read.
Outcomes in Radovljica showed that application is easy to use (83 % of users), length of guided tour suits their need (61 % of users). About graphics, they mostly said that is clear (48 % of the users) and friendly to the eyes (51 % of the users). They still said that there is too much text in the application (46 %) and that they would like to have more pictures and photographs (48 %). They find audio guide interesting (63 %) and tasks interesting and educational (46 %). Most of them have decided that application is useful for education (88 %). General evaluation of the usefulness is quite high, 73 % of the users said they find it very useful or like it a lot.
In comments, they wrote they would like to have more information about history, another point presented and tasks that are like videogames. There were also some troubles with WI-FI connection that didn’t worked as it should have and the mobile application doesn’t work on all mobile devices (if they are too old or aren’t uploaded …). There were also some mistakes in content of the app, that arose during testing and we were able to correct them later.
''Topola residents, and also students from Belgrade University, Department of Philosophy, were very positive. They were intrigued by the contemporary approach to presenting heritage and were also glad to find out that Topola is a part of an initiative including two other small historic towns. They were proud of the subject of the royal family and particularly liked the augmented reality part. The AR part was very popular with school groups who wanted to take pictures and share them on social networks. Based on their feedback, this is functionality that should be included and would also help distribution. Comparing their experiences with those of the control group, we can conclude that the app involves the users more, and thus turns a passive observer into an active participant. It may be more suitable for a younger audience, making the experience interesting, up to date and memorable, especially the AR part.''
Digital Storytelling, page 39
''In Fermo, the app was extended to include a virtual reality (VR) tour of the Fermo museum. Results from testing showed excitement by the users over the concept and the innovative approach to the digitisation of local stories. Fermo citizens participated in the virtual tour and tested the app during the official launch. Older citizens enjoyed the virtual tour a lot, while youngsters were keen on using smart phones. The new product is of particular interest for tourists, as the content and structure of the platform enables them to search for more local stories when they get back home.''
Digital Storytelling, page 39