A Virtual Welcome Guide – an interactive digital guide

by Roligen T. Thirstrup

Imagine that you have just entered a room in a museum. You take a quick look at the exhibited artifacts while slowly walking toward the closest exhibition. Suddenly you hear a voice that greets you, and you turn around to see who’s talking. You are surprised when you discover it’s origin – the voice belongs to a person on a screen. A Virtual Welcome Guide – an interactive digital guide was one of the technologies that were presented at the 13th Participatory Design Conference.

Visitors should be involved more

The researchers, Oliver Weede, Simon H. Muchinenyika and Hippolyte N. Muyingi is behind the technology and the article ”Virtual Welcome Guide for Interactive Museum”. They explained that in many cases, visitors have a need for a larger experience during a visit to a non-vivid museum. Especially the younger generations are not sufficiently stimulated by their visit to a non-vivid museum in spite of the interesting artifacts. There is an outcry for interaction or more interaction involving visitors as they slowly tour the Museums premises. The researchers therefore have developed the Virtual Welcome Guide – with an intermediary on a screen that follows the visitors movements.

Creating a persuasive experience for the visitors

Virtual Welcome Guide keeps an eye for when a visitor shows interest in a particular artifact, it offers guests welcome and inform on one or more artifacts. If a guest moves away and miss an artifact, the guest is called back and if the case is that the guest needs to move forward, he or she is guided to another artifact by Virtual Welcome Guide. The researchers, has thereby created a persuasive experience by means of a screen. This kind of experience was made possible by the sensors, and not least, a software program in which the researchers had defined some guidelines for the Virtual Welcome Guide. For example, the Virtual Welcome Guide will only greet a visitor when he or she is within a certain distance. In this way the Virtual Welcome Guide speaks to a guest and interprets a guests movements.


Photo from the article ”Virtual Welcome Guide for Interactive Museum” by Oliver Weede, Simon H. Muchinenyika and Hippolyte N. Muyingi.


An expanded book experience

Virtual Welcome Guide was not the only interactive technology that was presented at the 13th Participatory Design Conference. Participants could also get a sense of an interactive book. The book was a traditional physical book with a certain number of pages users could peruse. The pages contained a number of images which was further expanded and supplemented on a screen. By means of sensors, it was registrered when a page was turned, and the screen displayed a corresponding image to the physical book.

See more in the video below.



You are more than welcome to read associated articles below.

*Sketchbook and Italian drawings


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