CREDIBILITY AND USABILITY OF TOURISM TECHNOLOGIES: A COMPARISON OF DIFFERENT NAVIGATION AIDS IN A FIELD STUDY
Supervisor: Luciano Gamberini
Co-Supervisor: Valeria Orso
Graduate student: Alice Bettelli
In recent decades, urbanization is constantly expanding, cities are becoming a favorite destination for visitors and they offer different cultural experiences and services. In this context of growth and technological innovation, we are increasingly talking about smart cities, and tourism is an important specific application domain. When exploring a new city, tourists typically employ navigational aids for finding their way towards relevant landmarks. Traditionally, this has been accomplished using paper maps and tourist signage offered by cities. Recently, thanks to the advancement of mobile technology, users are increasingly relying on navigation apps. The aim of this work is to explore which tools are preferred by users and which are considered most useful and credible so as to obtain information on how to invest resources in navigation aids in the city. In particular, the users’ attitudes towards paper-map, smartphone navigation app and tourist signage during pedestrian navigation was assessed.
We ran two experiments in the field in which tourists were provided with different navigational supports and were asked to reach a point of interest. In both experiments, aspects of navigation performance, usability, user experience and credibility were investigated to understand participants’ choices and preferences. We collected data comprising participants’ route choices, questionnaires, semi-structured interviews and video analysis. Our findings indicate that users were more prone to rely on the directions provided by the smartphone navigation app than on the paper map and tourist signage. Furthermore, users’ preferences regarding design and visibility of tourist signs emerged. These data are useful to delineate some guidelines for implementing tourist information in the city.