University of Southampton OCS (beta), CAA 2012

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iConText – an App for Conveying Archaeological Contexts and Reception Histories of Exhibits to Museum Visitors
Marco Klindt, Daniel Baum, Steffen Prohaska, Hans-Christian Hege

Last modified: 2011-12-13


We present the concept and implementation for an interactive, multi-touch enabled application for use on iPad kiosks in museum exhibitions. The application enables a wide range of the expected population, including children, digital natives, adults without prior tablet knowledge, and elderly people, to approach information about the artifacts on display. The user interface utilizes both modern multi-touch gesture input as well as more traditional touch screen controls. This way we aim to make the exhibits accessible in different spatial contexts to let users make connections between them and to convey their reception history, i.e. the archaeological research work that led to the reconstruction of the historical contexts. The application lets visitors explore selected exhibits multimodally as virtual postcards (as the central metaphor) from several perspectives: accessing the exhibits from different postcard arrangements, locating them in computer generated renderings of the reconstructed architectural context of Pergamon, recalling them from the exhibition floor plan, or locating them in a panorama painting that presents an artistic view of the past. The object descriptions combine present day photographs of objects and find spots, textual descriptions, historic sketches and photographs, computer generated renderings, as well as links to other objects.

The iConText is currently on display in a comprehensive special exhibition about the ancient city of Pergamon at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin.

We furthermore describe the formative evaluation findings made during the development process and the abstraction of user interface events to facilitate a summative evaluation at the end oft the exhibition (in the fall of 2012). Preliminary results of the evaluation demonstrate the usefulness of the employed methods.


user interface design;multi-touch;museum installation