Individualised Experiences – A Summary

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By Niels de Jong, Independent Consultant

So let me recap: we're looking to see how far we should personalise cultural experiences in order to optimise their impact. In doing that, we are starting to understand that visitors can be grouped according to their physical behaviour that tells us something about their needs.

Ideally, we would be able to identify a visitor style early on, at entering a museum, in order to deliver a mobile experience that fits their behavioural preference. And, not unimportantly, this would enable us to test our assumptions on the way.

But how can we know visitor types early on in the process?

Fortunately, we have some solid research in this area. In a study done by Massimo Zancanaro (et al), researchers applied a predictive statistical model to the movements of the visitors. Then, they divided the duration of the museum visits into steps of 10% and applied the model at each separate step. As such, they could detect the accuracy of the prediction over time.


As it turned out, the average accuracy of the prediction starts at a level of about 55% and increases to 90% at the end of the visit. From this they were able to conclude that, using their model, it would be possible to predict visitor types at an early stage of the visit.

So, let’s fast forward and assume we could build this model into multimedia experiences. How fascinating it would be if we could design our experiences to fit behavioural segments?

For example:

Ant visitors seem to neatly follow a given path and as such would prefer strong curatorial guidelines;

Fish visitors take a central stance and would probably like a holistic approach;

Butterfly visitors incline to taking their own path and therefor are more likely to enjoy a more randomised access to (short) content;

Grasshopper visitors move similarly to butterfly visitors but spend more time at selected exhibit, so in a deeper focus on less objects would be most beneficial to their visit.

Of course, these are all assumptions and hypothetical visitor preferences. But the beauty of it is that it allows us to start somewhere and improve along the way. Isn’t that what experience design should be all about?

- author