Personal and Ubiquitous Computing

, Volume 15, Issue 6, pp 649–665 | Cite as

Enhancing and evaluating users’ social experience with a mobile phone guide applied to cultural heritage

  • Youngjung Suh
  • Choonsung Shin
  • Woontack WooEmail author
  • Steven Dow
  • Blair MacIntyre
Original Article


We designed and built a mobile phone-based guidance system to support shared group experiences by suggesting the use of an eavesdropping metaphor inspired by Sotto Voce that allows visitors to eavesdrop on each other’s audio. Going beyond Sotto Voce, we create a shared experience by synchronizing the audio controls of all people who are eavesdropping on each other. Our contribution is the design of a mobile phone guide for cultural tours that combines a linear tour with in-depth information exploration, GPS-based maps offering group awareness, simple content customization and suggestions, and fluid movement between individual and ad-hoc group touring. The most important contribution is the design of a simple sharing scheme that gives all users in an ad hoc group implicit control over the audio content of everyone currently linked together. We evaluated our approach using data collected from participants, and our results validated the effectiveness and usefulness of our sharing scheme and interface for group experiences. In addition, we gained an understanding of how sharing information during visits to cultural heritage sites by socially related people influences the visiting experience; differing mutual eavesdropping and content control behaviors emerged according to group types (family vs. friends). By enabling groups to share their experience on-site, our system should increase the appeal of mobile phones as electronic tour guides, providing adequate support for shared group experiences.


Mobile entertainment Cultural heritage User experience User evaluation Social interactions 



This research is supported by MCST and KOCCA, under the CT R&D Program 2010 and by the MKE, Korea, under the ITRC support program supervised by the NIPA (NIPA-2010-C1090-1011-0008), the Georgia Tech GVU Center, and the NSF under CAREER Grant 0347712. I wish to thank my colleague, Dr. Sébastien Duval, for his helpful comments on drafts of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Youngjung Suh
    • 1
  • Choonsung Shin
    • 1
  • Woontack Woo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Steven Dow
    • 2
  • Blair MacIntyre
    • 3
  1. 1.GIST U-VR LabGwangjuSouth Korea
  2. 2.Computer Science DepartmentStanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  3. 3.School of Interactive ComputingGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA

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