Public Practices

Global North/UK/London

Ling Cai

Dissertation Title

Connecting Experience: The Mobile V&A Visitor Experience

Ling Cai

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Connecting Experience: The Mobile V&A Visitor Experience

The digital age has radically changed the world; modern consumers see one brand, one experience, regardless of channels. The framework of a seamless, personalised customer journey with multiple entry points – in particular, the connection of experience with mobile technologies – has been foremost in marketing discussions of the twenty-first century, yet it is still relatively underexplored in museum settings. There has been a concomitant move towards accessing museums via the Internet from searching for exhibitions, collections, and virtual tours. With the pandemic lockdown, the need for online access has dramatically accelerated. The results, however, have been notably uneven. This research considers how a change in approach has changed the V&A visitor experience to deliver positive outcomes, offering a valuable understanding of a balanced and inclusive visitor ecosystem between 2012 and 2020. Building on extensive primary archival research, the study combines a mixed-method framework with history of design and material culture, incorporating innovative experience design methods to answer specific research questions. Aiming to create a foundation for further conversations, the study contributes an examination of both contemporary museum culture, consumer behaviour and human-centred design innovation, while highlighting the need for sustainability storytelling, working together to bridge the gap between physical and virtual museum spaces, and – ultimately - for connecting experiences.