This pilot is located at Donegal County Museum in Letterkenny (Ireland).
The Donegal County Museum is based in a fine old stone building, which was once part of the Letterkenny Workhouse, which opened in 1845. The Museum houses a substantial collection of artefacts relating to the history and heritage of County Donegal.
The pilot is primarily implemented in the first floor gallery where the exhibition gives visitors an overview of the story of Donegal from the Stone Age to the Twentieth Century. Through artefacts archives and images the exhibition explores the history of the county including the first farmers of the Neolithic period, the Land Wars and the Famine of the nineteenth century and the tumultuous period of the First World War, the War of Independence and Civil War 100 years ago.
The objective of this pilot is to provide an enhanced experience to the visitors by allowing them to navigate inside the museum and through the exhibition using an AR & mobile guide. The intelligent guide will help them to follow a meaningful journey through the history of County Donegal. Users will have access to rich media content (pictures, videos, 3D models, audios) that will complement the physical visit.
The “AR guide for the Donegal County Museum” in Letterkenny was designed to enhance the visitors’ experience by allowing them to navigate inside the museum and access additional content compared to the physical exhibition.
The tasks were designed to evaluate if the participants were able to successfully gain new information from the mobile app. Some users reported difficulties in using the system, mainly technical problems related to AR technology. However, the testing results revealed that this service received one the best feedback regarding user experience aspects (Novelty, Stimulation and Attractiveness) and on other hand it received suggestions to improve Efficiency and Dependability. We can conclude that this application has a lot of potential to be a hit with its target audience, considering its “excellent” scores, but unfortunately, did not perform well enough to be found as useful due to technical aspects. Among them we identified that the unavailability of accurate plans of the venue could have had an impact in the final result.
To check the possibilities and solve these technical problems, a second pilot in another site (the Inisihowen Innovation Hub), was launched. This consisted in an AR tour pilot to provide an enriched experience for visitors, offering them the ability to explore the innovation hub with the assistance of an AR and mobile guide. Users will gain access to a wealth of rich media content, including images, videos, 3D models, and audio, which will complement their physical visit and provide a deeper understanding of the innovative projects and activities taking place within theii.
The initial tests showed much better results in terms of usability and accuracy, probably due to the use of more precise plans. The release of the latest version of Arway can be also a factor positively contributing into this.
AR Pilots Donegal
TPL team in Donegal. From left to right (Jose Manuel San Emeterio, Maixa Zabaleta, Leah Ryan, Inigo Zubicaray)