Participation in outdoor recreation at heritage sites is increasingly promoted and delivered, through mobile and digital media, such as mobile phone Apps. At the same time, mobile digital media, devices, and more broadly ‘mobile methods’ offer new opportunities to monitor and evaluate participation, engagement and interaction through outdoor recreation at heritage sites. We briefly present here initial findings from an in-depth qualitative evaluation of a digital heritage App ‘Walking with Romans’, developed by the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority (BBNPA). BBNPA previously evaluated the quantitative outcomes of the project, such as the number of downloads and number of people using the App on-site. The research we present here builds on this to evaluate use of the App through in-depth qualitative social science methods. These included the use of on-body video cameras to record visits, and post-visit interviews allowing participants to reflect on their experience. Drawing on analysis techniques from Human Geography, Social Sciences and Human-Computer Interaction studies, our initial findings demonstrate some of the problem-solving that visitors do to successfully navigate the site using the mobile App, as well as how they engage and interact with the interpretive elements of the App. We discuss some of the challenges for practitioners of utilising in-depth, mobile, qualitative evaluation in measuring and monitoring meaningful interaction and participation in outdoor recreation at heritage sites.
Outdoor Recreation Network > Other Publications > Using mobile evaluation methods to monitor visitor use of a heritage App ‘In the wild’: Walking with Romans in the Brecon Beacons National Park by Dr Thomas Smith, Lecturer in Human Geography, Cardiff University and Suzanna Jones, Interpretation Officer, Brecon Beacons National Park Authority