Awang Laut: Exploring Storytelling in a Mobile Augmented Reality Environment for Cultural Heritage Sites
In the age of mobile technologies, tourists are using their hand-held devices at the same time they are living travelling experiences. Mobile technologies such as smartphones and tablets are not only essential for tourists, but are also frequently contributing to enrich their experiences. This study explores the development of a mobile app that combines storytelling and augmented reality to enhance the visitor experience at cultural heritage sites. Specifically, the study aims to explore an innovative way to incorporate storytelling in mobile augmented reality (mAR) environments. The designed mobile app aims to engage visitors through fictional stories that are weaved into a walking tour. The narrative is crafted for a specific place by incorporating artefacts within and local stories. Imperative to this is an amalgamation of virtual and real worlds, which in this study is achieved through the use of marker and location-aware AR technologies. Langkawi, an island in Malaysia that is very familiar to the author, is the tourism destination chosen for this project. The island's history is rich in myths and legends, thus providing a great opportunity for leveraging storytelling in an “app”. The design and development of the mobile app follow a research-informed approach where a framework is established to guide the process. This is then extended into a creative practice-based methodology to produce the minimum viable product (MVP) of an mAR app. The documentation of the experience with the design and development of this MVP throughout this exegesis provide valuable insights for other research efforts within the area of storytelling and mAR applied to tourism.