Interactive information delivery: enhancing tourist experience at Ajanta caves
Oza, Manan Vijay
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The main objective of this project was to design a communication product that can address the various informational needs of the visitor to the Ajanta caves near Aurangabad. The emphasis was to find out ways through which we empower the tourist to navigate the place through his own will. A number of reasons were adjudged to contribute to the problem: Lack of information – what to see, when to see and where to see were unanswered question for tourists, The physical topology of the place adds fatigue and unfortunately tourist mostly fail to complete the entire journey, as also the time constraint which only makes navigation through the place all the more difficult. The challenge was to understand the audience for whom we are designing. In this scenario my emphasis was to know who the tourist is, what he/she is here for! A field research was organized to identify and understand tourist at the place itself. The focus was on their movement, what they were looking for and how easy was for them to navigate through the place. What was crucial to observe, in order to make the place easier to navigate from the point of view of information need, was a thorough understanding of the place itself – to identify locations suitable to the passing on of the information. That led to detailed study of the caves spread across area. How every cave was different that the other in terms of visual display, information and architecture was where the research was focused. Taking this as the foundation tourist interests were later mapped onto it; that emerged into designing a multimedia channel of information. Through interaction with the tourist and observing them at the site what stood our importantly was the lack of centralized information – this would be one of the aspects in shaping the product. Tourist usually do look around for information on the internet about the places they are going to visit. When we talk about historic place very basic information is available for tourists and this usually remains common if one observes. People who visit Ajanta are different and have different interest. Not only this but I also wanted to capture information that would have been unknown to them and might have changed the perspective about the place if it would have come as a surprise. The design product act as guide for tourist through interfacing with information and helps them to have a knowledge-enriched experience interacting with the artefacts in physical space. Through this project, the understanding of the user domain led to designing multimedia solutions which reflect the user interest and the solution to the problem is a direct response to the problems raised by the Tourist themselves. And thus, through this process I arrived at a communication design solution through which user interacts with the place with optimum usage of information.