|M.Sc Student||Yaskovich Elina|
|Subject||Designing Experience in Virtual Museum|
|Department||Department of Architecture and Town Planning||Supervisor||Professor Rivka Oxman|
|Full Thesis text|
Over the years since its inception, the field of exhibition design has come to view museum exhibitions as containing a variety of information for public education. The role of exhibition designer has changed from a simple problem solver for the informational environment to provider of more active engagement with information. In this new role, the exhibition designer is involved in the process of creating dialogues between audience and information in a designated setting.
In the last few decades, museum environments have utilized new technologies to meet the varied needs and learning styles of visitors. Museums today are experimenting with many avenues of access for visitors, including computer-based options like art collection database programs and museum websites. The development of virtual museum websites has expanded the possibilities of delivering better-tailored information with more public accessibility.
This study explored the relationship between virtual exhibits and visitor’s opinions following the viewing of the virtual exhibit in order to determine the components of a well-constructed virtual exhibit. To address the research problem, this study explored two aspects of virtual exhibit design:
1) What are the components of a well-constructed virtual exhibit?
2) How does viewing the virtual exhibit change visitors’ opinions about both physical and virtual museum experiences?
Fifty participants were purposively selected from Technion. Each participant was given a survey prior to their viewing of the virtual exhibit, and then they were given the opportunity to view the website and finally surveyed regarding their opinions. In addition, some were interviewed for a better understanding of their responses to various aspects of the virtual exhibit experiences.
Data from the surveys was tabulated for descriptive percentages in order to identify numerical patterns of relationships. Interview data was tape recorded and transcribed into text files.
The results of the study show that respondents' opinions of both physical and virtual museums were influenced by the frequency of their exposure to virtual museum exhibits. This result indicates that something attractive in the newness of one's first visit to a virtual museum "wears off" after later visits to similar sites. On the other hand, many of the comments of respondents indicate that virtual exhibits not only enrich the experience of visitors to physical museums, but also provide a unique experience that cannot be duplicated in real life. In addition, the most valued components of a well-constructed virtual exhibit were audio explanations, interactive tools, many attractive graphics, and clear icon design.