How gamification motivates: an experimental study of the museum experience using handheld augmented reality
As of late, the renewed interest in Augmented Reality (AR) has seen a wave of gamified applications for handheld devices. Gamification is one approach that can help increase engagement of users by introducing traditional game elements and participatory elements. In this paper we thoroughly investigate how gamification can help museum visitors engage with exhibits while using our own handheld augmented reality application called 'AR Explorer'. Moreover, we were interested in finding out to what extent there could be an interest in using this type of application. The 'AR Explorer' application was designed for museums, leveraging the functionality of augmented reality on smartphones. The purpose of the application was to preserve the visitors' contact with the exhibit, while allowing them to explore features (i.e. symbols, wear marks, damaged details) of the exhibition in detail. Two versions of the applications were developed, a gamified and non-gamified, that were used for the independent variable in a between-group control study carried out on 30 participants. A replica of a museum object was used for the experiment, where 10 features had been implemented. For each feature the participants interacted with, a quiz was shown that they had the choice either to answer or skip. We measured task completion for each of the groups from these quizzes, and likened the quality of answers to their level of engagement. A questionnaire was given to participants who finished the experiment which measured general usability and the experience using our application. The results of our study indicated that gamification increased engagement of participants. Furthermore, respondents of the questionnaires reported that they would be interested in using this or a similar application in the future.