Transforming audience experience to design enjoyable exhibition

  • Nan WANG

Student thesis: PhD Thesis


Exhibition is a natural and intrinsic human behaviour for communication; with the coming of the information society and the experience economy, exhibition design has been considered as an effective tool to achieve the target of cultural engagement and economic benefit. This thesis aims to investigate the relationship among exhibition design factors (EDFs), audience experience factors (AEFs) and behaviour data (BD). It uses mixed method to obtain and analyze multi-data, finding and establishing a framework of designing an enjoyable exhibition (FDEE) (Chapter 5). The thesis discusses human-exhibition interaction (HEI) as an integrated conceptual framework for designing exhibitions, with a systematic literature review based on grounded theory (Chapter 2). There have been 59 EDFs, 18 AEFs, and 14 BD that were explored (Chapter 3). It moves the attention from the interaction among three stakeholders (clients, designers, and audiences) and exhibitions, to the embedded data with EDFs, AEFs, and BD. Quantitative analysis method and exploratory study were refined using analytic software such as NVivo-11, EndNote X8, and a total of 1467 documents are extracted from EDFs while 270 focusing on the AEFs, and these established an interactive and dynamic relationship among EDFs, AEFs, and BD. The results show only few concerns for the study of designing exhibitions in academic publications, and a trend toward human-exhibition interaction (HEI) in the field of exhibition design can be seen, at the both concept and application level. Experiment 1a and 1b were conducted to identify the EDFs and AEFs perceived by audiences, through a 16 days’ field study with an invitation letter from Expo Milano 2015. Over 500 participants from 10 national pavilions took part in the survey. Then it investigated the EDFs and AEFs used by exhibition designers and perceived by clients like governments and enterprises (Chapter 4) with semi-structured interview. To explore behaviour data, this thesis conducted a field study by using the timing and tracking approach including eye-tracking system, wearable device, and questionnaire, which confirms the interactive relationship among EDFs, AEFs, BD, and EE supported with the quantitative analysis (Chapter 6). The behavioural data were collected and analyzed by using the software ErgoLAB v.2.2, Tobii Pro Lab Analyzer Edition v.1.49, and IBM SPSS Statistics v.22. This thesis discusses the relationship among EDFs, AEFs and BD, primarily a performance way of transforming audience experience by designing an enjoyable exhibition based on the framework of HEI, and thus improving exhibition designers’ and/or clients’ better design decision-making (Chapter 7). In conclusion (Chapter 7), contributions to knowledge and future directions of research are highlighted.
Date of Award8 Jul 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Univerisity of Nottingham
SupervisorLiang Xia (Supervisor), Xu Sun (Supervisor), Glyn Lawson (Supervisor) & Patrick Pradel (Supervisor)


  • Exhibition design
  • audience experience
  • enjoyable
  • enjoyment emotion
  • exhibition design modelling
  • exhibition factors

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