[j70] Raptis, G. E., Fidas, C. A., & Avouris, N. M. (2019, February). Game Designers' Decisions Related to Visual Activities Affect Knowledge Acquisition in Cultural Heritage Games? An Evaluation From a Human Cognitive Processing Perspective. Journal on Computing and Cultural Heritage (JOCCH) - Special Issue on the Evaluation of Digital Cultural Resources. Volume 12. Issue 1. Article No. 4. Pages 4:1-4:25. ACM, New York, NY, USA.
In the cultural heritage domain, games have been used to engage users into an active state of learning through immersive and playful interactions that include visually enriched interaction contexts. There is evidence that individual differences in the inherent way people search, process, analyze, comprehend, store, and retrieve visual information in their surrounding environment are reflected in their performance, experience, effectiveness, and efficiency in such environments. Despite the fact that cultural heritage game designers favor learning experiences in such contexts, current design and evaluation practices of cultural heritage games barely consider the gamers’ individual differences in visual information processing. This can be attributed to a deficiency in understanding and modeling the effects among users’ visual behavior, gameplay behavior, and cognitive styles in cultural heritage games toward knowledge acquisition, resulting in insufficient methods of creating cognition-centered user models and considering such human cognitive factors practically, within current state-of-the-art design and evaluation approaches. To address this gap, we selected three known cultural heritage games, adopted a credible cognitive style theory, and performed, over a 6-month period, three separate evaluation user studies (N=127) following a between-subject, eye-tracking based, experimental design. The results of the evaluation studies revealed that game designers’ decisions, related to visual search, unintentionally favored users with specific cognitive characteristics by influencing their visual and consequently gameplay behavior, resulting in differences in knowledge acquisition. The results of the evaluation studies also revealed correlation effects during gameplay among individual differences in visual information processing, users’ visual behavior strategies, and gameplay behavior. The findings necessitate the consideration of cognitive characteristics as evaluation and design factors when delivering cultural heritage activities that are based on visual search tasks. Their consideration will help us better understand and explain the different information processing approaches in cultural heritage contexts and will drive the design of adaptive mechanisms for delivering personalized cultural heritage activities, tailored to the users’ unique cognitive characteristics.