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Project Summary

Bristol By Balloon is an interactive hot air balloon simulation in which the target audience, school children aged eight to thirteen, can take a virtual tour across the city from inside a balloon basket adapted for children. As we found visitors like to physically interact with tangible exhibits, we have designed an immersive environment. Featuring a balloon basket surrounded by a 360° video projection of Bristol, and simulating the conditions experienced when taking a hot air balloon trip. The exhibit will show Bristol’s iconic landmarks with overlaying historical images from different periods in time, including narrations and subtitles in order to educate the visitors of Bristol’s history and to widen accessibility.

The project is in keeping with M-Shed’s ethos of being a museum ‘about Bristol, for the people of Bristol’. We conducted design-based research on the information systems and educational tools used to engage audiences with the exhibits at Bristol’s M-Shed museum. Our observational research outlined several design problems and insights: Heavy information disengages visitors:

Visitors do not stop long enough at exhibits.
Technology is out of date and unresponsive.
Visitors are attracted to unfamiliar tangible objects.
Visitors walk towards colorful and interactive exhibits.

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