Gamified exploration system for Hvar
Why would such an approach be useful
In the current times of the COVID-19 societal transition, we are forced to redefine the way we experience the world. Education, as one of the sectors heavily stuck in tradition, cries for innovation. This solution combines digital possibilities of the modern world with social sciences.
Team: The Lone Researcher
Members roles and background
A background of Urban Forestry, transitioning to Sustainable Cities study in Copenhagen. Enthusiast for sustainability, landscape architecture and design.
Role: The mastermind
The product of this solution is an idea of integration of a gamified 'explore and reward' system in the application of the tourist board of Hvar. By implementing the idea, exploring and learning about history, heritage and culture of Hvar will become more engaging and fun. Users, especially young ones, will have an extra incentive to use digital tools for learning, and receive rewards for it, such as discounts, coupons and similar. The Success of the solution is measured by looking at the increase of the use of the app. The benefits are many, as educated users will form a bond with their cultural heritage and become proud representatives of their local area.
We have to accept that education is not what it used to be anymore. These days, children are born into an immensely fast-paced world, where there can often be an informational overload. Young people's attention needs to be grabbed through innovative techniques, such as gamification: "Gamification primarily aims at increasing users’ positive motivations towards given activities or use of technology, and thereby, increasing the quantity and quality of the output of the given activities" (Morschheuser Benedikt, 2017).
With a little expertise, it is easy to design an application. However, it often happens in practive that the application is not used or used very superficially, without touching on its full potential. Mobile device users find themselves with a phone crowded with different apps, many of which can be merged or are redundant. The key is not to make a new application, but upgrade existing ones, form partnerships and tackle solutions together. Since there are already educational applications as 'Hvar Guide' in existance, it is feasible to upgrade them with the reward system, so to not make more of them unnecessarily.
The inspiration for the idea has been drawn from the application 'Zagreb Be There'. This application has received succes, as it gamified the act of exploring the city. Upon arrival at an important landmark, the user has received discounts in souvenir stores, shops and restaurants.
The upgrade to the application would enable users to virtually explore the island of Hvar, as it can be done in street view of Google Maps. However, as an addition, the virtual walk would also include a puzzle game. Upon arrival on any significant landmark (e.g. Cathedral of St. Stephen), there would be offered pop-up interesting information about the site. The information would be concise, digestible and interesting, and would also include a question. The question (in a quiz form) would ask for an answer that could be read on another site in the virtual walk. Moreover, these don't have to be simple questions, they can also be a small game as 'Choose the fitting pictures','Connect the dots', or even require of the user to talk to specific individuals. Ofcourse, the application would also support physical exploration, by using the similar system as the 'Zagreb Be There' app.
This way, there would be an incentive for exploring and reading about the cultural heritage of the Island. It would both benefit the young people in education and tourists.
Solution target group
The target group is primarily the young people on the island. Most of the young are digitally educated and skilled enough to be using such software, even though the sofware would have to be designed to be intuitive. They would have a chance to discover new, hidden gems of the island while learning facts that the past generation has missed to pass on to them.
In the second plan, the visitors of the island would get an instant guide, that informal, free, easy to use and rewarding.
The impact of the solution is not predicted to be large, as it targets a relatively small group. Moreover, there would need to be additional promotion so that the app gets the attention from the target groups. However, if implemented correctly, it might be an example of a good transition practice of digital guides across many other popular tourist destinations.
Solution tweet textGamifying Hvar's tourist guide app
The solution itself is not so innovative, as the inspiration was taken from a similar one implemented before. However, the use of it in exactly this age in this context can be considered innovative. Tourist locations as Hvar require these technologies to not fall behind in the transition.
This solution is highly transferable. The most ideal situation would be if the gamified system would be used in a single app for e.g. the whole of Croatia. If this solution would prove to be useful and successful, this idea can be easiliy replicated in different contexts and locations.
The future is uncertain in times of fast transition, however, the idea for the app is made taking the current trends into consideration. This potentially expands the lifetime of the solution, should the current trends of digitalization continue to rise.
Solution team work
Since this team consisted of only one member, the teamwork has proved to be excellent.
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