The second PATHS prototype is tested!

Users have been getting to grips with the second PATHS prototype through the summer, with demonstration groups in taking place in Spain, the UK and Greece, and a series of lab-based evaluations being run by the PATHS team at the University of Sheffield Information School. 

MDR PATHS Workshop

Figure 1: Evaluation workshop held in the UK by PATHS partners, MDR Partners

The number of participants in all activities was up on last year, with increases in the both the number of individuals and cultural organisations taking part. 

In total, thirteen demonstrations were undertaken by the University of the Basque Country, MDR Partners and iSieve, with cultural organisations including:

  • Tekniker-IK4, Spain
  • Euskomedia, Spain
  • Elhuyar-Eleka, Spain 
  • CIC TourGune, Spain
  • Ministry of Culture of Spain/Hispana
  • The Byzantine Museum, Athens, Greece
  • Royal Institution, London, UK
  • Manchester Institute for Research and Innovation in Art and Design (MIRIAD), UK
  • Department of Media, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK
  • Department of History, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK
  • North West Film Archive, UK
  • Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum, UK
PATHS Home page

Welcome page of the second PATHS prototype

As with the first prototype (which was also well received by participants), it was evident that the majority of participants had an overall positive response to the second PATHS prototype, finding it mostly Interesting, Understandable, Easy, Useful and Fast. The system was also seen as offering novel functionality that could be useful in a number of different user scenarios. 

PATHS perceived level of support for information tasks

Figure 3: PATHS perceived level of support for information tasks

Exploration and support for tasks were developed and extended considerably for the second prototype (in light of findings and results from participants of the first prototype) and showed high levels of positive responses for tasks related to Serendipity and discovery, Finding items on a topic, Exploring a collection, Sharing content with others and Creating resources (Figure 3). The path following task, Using content created by others received no negative responses at all, and responses improved substantially across all tasks, including those which are core to PATHS, over responses given for the first prototype.

Additionally, the most popular tasks amongst participants of the second prototype were Exploring the collection  and Creating resources , placed first by both Laboratory and Demonstration participants. Serendipity and discovery , Sharing content with others  and Finding items on a topic  all ranked amongst the top three uses for PATHS. The re-development of exploration modes and support for users of PATHS appears to have had a positive impact on participant responses to the second prototype.

The final phase of activities is taking place during Autumn 2013. These field trials will involve a group of invited participants who will be encouraged to use PATHS in a naturalistic setting, undertaking their own work tasks, and over a period of time of their choosing. Individuals interested in taking part in these should contact Jill Griffiths jillian.griffiths@mdrpartners.com  The data we collect from these activities enable understanding of the second and final version of PATHS, and will inform developments of future systems for personalised access to cultural heritage collections.

 Jill Griffiths,
Evaluation Work package Leader, PATHS Project
MDR Partners (Consulting) Ltd.

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