Using Visitor Flow Visualization to Improve Visitor Experience in Museums and Exhibitions

Robert Strohmaier, FH JOANNEUM, Austria, Gerhard Sprung, FH JOANNEUM, Austria, Alexander Nischelwitzer, FH JOANNEUM, Austria, Sandra Schadenbauer, FH JOANNEUM, Austria

Published paper: Using visitor-flow visualization to improve visitor experience in museums and exhibitions

Within this paper, we propose an approach to visualize the flow of visitors through an exhibition in space and time with the goal to assist curators and other museum professionals in the crucial task of analyzing visitor experience at exhibitions in museums.

Detailed information about and deep insights into the preferences of visitors are crucial to improve the visitor experience in exhibitions. Accordingly, visualizations of visitor paths and trends must be capable of presenting data in meaningful and understandable ways. We present several solutions to visualize trends and repeating patterns in visitor behavior, as well as most frequently used exhibits. In connection with the exhibition's floor plans and deep knowledge about the visitor interactions at each exhibit, several interesting and sometimes surprising trends can be identified.

Beside the visualization techniques, this paper describes how data can be collected when interactive computer-based exhibits are used in museums. As an example, the process of gathering data is described based on the scenario of an existing exhibition in which the data was not just utilized for visitor tracking for its own sake. Nevertheless, based on this data we are able to visualize the probability of visitors choosing a distinct exhibit depending on gender, age, time, season, or weekday.

Finally, we include an overview of ideas how data can be gathered in the near future with new technologies for both interactive and non-interactive exhibits.

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