Museums are among the most important institutions used in preserving and promoting the world’s cultural heritage. Museums also act as a powerful learning environment that contributes to both social and economic developments. Recently, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in their Vision 2030 aims to capitalise on their cultural heritage and entertainment in optimising quality of life, improving economy as well as creating more job opportunities. Therefore, the Kingdom seeks to offer a variety of cultural venues to suit the tastes and preferences of tourists, including museums. However, it has been proven that the museums are experiencing the outdated technical base as well as low level use of modern information technologies. Following this, the development of museums requires further integration of new digital tools into museum practice, both in the exhibition activity and in other areas of the museums’ activity. These modern information technologies are important in enhancing the role of museums as educational institutions. However, more knowledge is needed to know whether the investment in digital resources ‘pays off’ for museums. Therefore, this study aims to understand the design of Information Screen at Islamic museums in Saudi Arabia to support visual learning through a qualitative research design with a semi-structured interview as the data collection technique. There are three types of informants involve which are information screen designers , Islamic museum management, as well as visitors. The cluster random sampling technique will be applied in selecting these informants. Qualitative data analysis software (NVivo 11 Pro) also will be used to manage and analyse the wealth of data. The outcome of this research will be a set of guideline in designing the information screen for visual learning in museum context.
Research Questions :
The purpose of this study is to understand the interface design of the information screen at Islamic museums in Saudi Arabia to support visual learning. Based on this purpose, one main research question and three sub research questions were developed as per below.
How can visual design principles be utilised in designing the interface of the information screen for supporting visual learning for visitors in Islamic museums in Saudi Arabia?
- What are the current problems to visual learning for visitors in Islamic museums?
- What are the visual design principles applied in designing the interface of the information screen that impacts visitors’ visual learning in Islamic museums?
- How to design the information screen by incorporating visual design principles to supports visitors’ visual learning in Islamic museums?
There are three research objectives developed in this study.
- To identify current problems to visual learning for visitors in Islamic museums
- To identify the visual design principles applied in designing the interface of the information screen that impacts visitors’ visual learning in Islamic museums
- To evaluate how museum information screen models support visitors’ learning process in Islamic museums from the perspectives of visual design principles
As illustrated, there are three fundamental requirements in understanding the design interface of the information screen at Islamic museums in Saudi Arabia and these fundamentals have been derived from the research objectives, research gaps, literature review and theory. The first fundamental is that the information screen design at Islamic museums in Saudi Arabia requires the input from three types of informants which as the visitors, LIS designers and Islamic museum management. The final output of the LIS should receive and include the opinion from all informants with Islamic museum management as the content creator that receive the assistance from the designers in translating the content into interesting learning information on the screen to the visitors. The mutual relationship and supportive feedback from all informants are needed in turning the ordinary screen into a comprehensive learning information screen.
Then, the second fundamental highlights of seven visual principles needed in designing the information screen. These visual principles have been derived from Gestalt Theory. This theory is a generalization of the visual stimuli and is the shortest description of how the visual stimulus can be re-created. Therefore, the perspective of the informants on these principles will be attained in understanding the design of the information screen at Islamic museums in Saudi Arabia. In other words, these visual principles will provide a lense for this research to understand how Islamic museum management as the content creator and designers as the inventors design the information screen in museums. These principles will also provide a model to understand how the information screen support visual learning for museum visitors.
Finally, the third fundamental emphasises on the visual design principles in visual learning that consist of four elements. These elements are including the scale, visual hierarchy, balance and contrast. Indeed, at the museum, this study perceives that these elements are necessary as supporting tools for learning among the visitors. Therefore, these elements need to be focused on Islamic museum management as the content creator as well as by the designers as the the information screen inventors.