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SUMMARY: In order to better understand what users expect from heritage interpretation at an archaeological site, a series of surveys were carried out at the Roman Baths Museum. These explored visitor preferences when using traditional audio guides available at the site. The results obtained are analysed and discussed.

It was good to have a little talking stick. (Visitor #39, Massung 2005)



A key component of this research involved examining visitor reception to established audio tours in order to determine visitor preference with regards to aspects of content. This data was then extrapolated to a location-based method of delivery and tested with a prototype design, as described in Chapter 7.

Two questionnaire-based studies were carried out at the Roman Baths Museum in Bath, England in March-April and August-September 2007. These surveys collected demographic data, audio guide and content preference, and queried visitors as to hypothetical situations regarding location-based interpretation. A more in-depth view of the methodology behind the survey design and collection procedures can be found in Chapter 4, and copies of the questionnaires are available in Appendix C.

Throughout this chapter references are made to comments written by visitors on the Spring and Autumn Surveys, such as VI.4, #25. The Roman numeral refers to a broad category (e.g. VI is Improvements) and the initial Arabic number denotes the section within that category (e.g. VI.4 is Content: Other). If a second number is listed (e.g. #25), it specifies a particular visitor. Although representative comments are provided as appropriate in each section, all comments can be found in Appendix E, along with visitor comments collected between January 2005 and December 2007 from the Roman Baths in-house Visitors Book

and Comment Cards. References to these comments are denoted in a similar way (e.g. Baths II.8). 5.2 THE ROMAN BATHS: BACKGROUND

The city of Bath, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, welcomes over four million visitors each year (South West Tourism Economic Impact Survey). Visitors are attracted to the

Georgian architecture, the lure of author Jane Austen, and the baths that give the city its name.

These thermal springs were known to the native British tribes, but it was not until the arrival of the Romans that the area developed into a thriving town, with the baths forming the centre of both social and religious life. The temple complex was dedicated to the goddess Sulis Minerva and the town itself was known as Aquae Sulis. However, the complex fell into disrepair with the departure of the Romans in the 5th century (Cunliffe 1984). There was a revival of interest during the 18th and early 19th centuries as taking the waters became fashionable (Frosch 2007).1 The stylish Pump Room allowed visitors to drink the hot mineral water, and areas such as the Kings Bath were redeveloped and remained in use for bathing purposes until the mid-20th century (Cunliffe 1986).

Today, the site consists of the original Roman bathing area and remains of the temple complex, the later Georgian additions, and a primarily Victorian superstructure over the Great Bath (see FIGURE 44, upper level). Each of these time periods and their physical remains form part of the overall narrative of the Baths as a whole.

The waters of Bath attracted a range of tourists from an early date, with both the aristocracy and th those searching for a cure for a myriad of illnesses appearing with greater frequency from the 16 th century onwards (Cunliffe 1986, 106). However, it was Queen Annes visit at the turn of the 18 century that put the royal seal of approval on the city and its medicinal waters; Bath became a retreat for the upper classes and a source of hope for those that flocked to the Mineral Water Hospital (Cunliffe 1986, 114, 126). 118

FIGURE 44. Map of the Roman Baths showing the upper (1-2) and lower levels (3-11). Some of the interior rooms of the museum that connect these sections are not shown. The numbers correspond to the following: (1) entrance and reception hall; (2) terrace; (3) sacred spring; (4) objects from the spring; (5) temple; (6) temple courtyard; (7) people of Aquae Sulis; (8) the spring overflow; (9) the Great Bath; (10) East Baths: changing rooms and saunas; (11) West Baths: heated rooms and plunge pools. Image courtesy of the Roman Baths Museum (<http://www.romanbaths.co.uk/walkthrough.aspx>).



Many methods of delivering interpretation are used at the Baths: signs and artefact labels, written tours, guided tours, video reconstructions, audio guides, and, most recently, historical re-enactors have been enlisted (e.g. a Roman priest and soldier; FIGURE 45) to enhance the visitors experience. Touchscreen tours at kiosks in the entrance hall and terrace are available for disabled visitors if they are unable to navigate the multiple levels of the Baths. As outlined in Chapter 2, each of method of interpretation has advantages and disadvantages that must be taken into consideration. How these methods of delivery operate at the Roman Baths Museum is briefly discussed in the next section.


FIGURE 45. A child is introduced to a Roman soldier in a publicity leaflet from the Roman Baths (The Roman Baths, February 2009).

5.3.1 SIGNS AND LABELS The first sight visitors have of the Roman Baths is whilst walking along the Victorian terrace overlooking the Great Bath. A selection of signs also crowd this area. During the survey period in 2007, these outdoor signs were quite worn and faded, possibly leading to a poor first impression of the bathing complex (FIGURE 46a). Further limiting their usefulness, these signs can only be viewed by a small number of visitors at any one time due to their location, often leading to visitors being forced to bypass them completely, as was observed during the busiest times at the Baths.

At the time of the surveys, the contents of some signs were provided in several languages, whilst the artefact labels were provided solely in English. The outdoor signs were updated during refurbishments in 2009 (FIGURE 46b), and are now cleaner and more modern, but only provide interpretation in English. Thus those visitors desiring an alternative language must rely on the audio guides or written tours.


FIGURE 46. Left (a): Signs at the Roman Baths on the outdoor terrace at the time of evaluation in 2007. Right (b): Replacement signs in October 2009.

5.3.2 WRITTEN TOURS Written tours are primarily for those who do not speak one of the eight languages offered by the audio guides; during the evaluation period, twenty-six languages were available as written guides, and large print and Braille texts were also available in English. 5.3.3 GUIDED TOURS Guided tours by employees of the Roman Baths are provided at the top of each hour for the bathing complex, which consists of the Great Bath, East, and West Baths. Tours last thirty to forty minutes and are only provided in English. Based on observations and the authors experience of taking several of these tours, group size typically ranges from eight to twenty visitors.

Although much of the information imparted by the tour guide is similar to that of the audio guide, there are two notable differences. First, tour guides often mentioned any recent work occurring at the Baths, such as construction and renovation, and how it impacted the archaeology, or discussed areas that were not visible (and therefore not interpreted), such as a gymnasium area beyond the East Baths. Second, they could answer visitor questions in more detail than anything provided on the audio guide; this is not to say that the visitor could not have found the answer in the text on one of the signs, but it is obviously a much more direct way of obtaining information.

Although tour guides were often favourably mentioned by visitors during the survey period (Spring Survey VIII.7; comments in the Visitor Book (Baths VI.4) also sought to commend specific guides by name), this method of interpretation has a restricted audience due to the limitations in language and timing.
SPRING #164 I like tour guides but I dont like waiting for one. They often have great info. to add.

5.3.4 VIDEO RECONSTRUCTIONS Televisions located at several areas throughout the temple and bathing complex allow visitors to view 3D digital reconstructions interspersed with costumed actors (FIGURE 47). The beginning of the video loop shows the remains of the building as they now appear, albeit in a stylised form, giving visitors the opportunity to orientate themselves in the setting. The ruins are then reconstructed and populated by costumed characters using the location as intended. This is a simple, yet dynamic way of illustrating the appearance of the Baths in the past.

This form of interpretation is wholly visual; there is no synchronized audio description, allowing all visitors, regardless of language, to access it.2 However, as mentioned in the Spring Survey comments (e.g. VI.4, #25; VI.5, #24a), several visitors sought integrated audio/video interpretation to better understand what the digital reconstruction was showing.
SPRING #25 Synchronise audio with video sections.

Only one video animation has associated content that can be accessed via the audio guide. As the video reconstruction is on an automatic loop and the audio commentary is triggered by the visitor, the audio is not in-synch with the animation. 122

FIGURE 47. An example of a video reconstruction within the Bath complex; the animation is not insynch with the interpretation on the audio guide.



Audio guides were first introduced at the Roman Baths in 1995. A key motivation for the museums implementation was a desire for quietness; in the past, there was a cacophony of competing tour guides and talking visitors (K. Smith, pers.comm., January 2005). With the introduction of the audio guide, noise was greatly reduced (K. Smith, pers.comm., January 2005; Walter 1996).

Today, audio guides are the primary method of delivering interpretative content at the Baths, and each visitor receives one as part of the admission price. At the time of the visitor evaluations, cost for an adult was 10.25, concessions 8.75, and a childs entry was 6.50.3 The effect of cost on audio guide and location-based interpretation is discussed in section

General tours of the Baths are provided in eight languages: Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, and Spanish. A tour of the Baths given by American travelwriter and humorist Bill Bryson is available in English, and a childrens tour is available in English and French. Additional information about these tours is discussed in section 5.4.3 below.

Current prices for 2010 are: 11.50 (12.25 July and August); concessions 10.00; children 7.50. 123

FIGURE 48. Left (a) and right (b): Images of the audio guide used in a publicity leaflet, with the dual implication that the wands are so easy to use, even a child can use them, and that children enjoy the audio interpretation (The Roman Baths, February 2009).

FIGURE 49. Left (a): The audio guides are a key component of interpretation, and as such are even mentioned in publicity at the Baths. Right (b): The childrens tour and its characters are likewise given a prominent position in the Reception Hall.

5.4.1 HARDWARE The audio guides used at the Roman Baths Museum are produced by Acoustiguide, a leading designer of audio tours for heritage sites and museums. The guide studied during the research period, the AG2000 (FIGURE 51), was installed in 2001. This is a wand type guide, a long device containing a numeric keypad, a back-lit LCD display screen, and depression for audio output. As part of the audio guide controls, the visitor has the option to rewind, fastforward, pause, or stop the recording.

The design of the audio guide, both in terms of its physical shape and content, was the result of a collaboration between the Roman Baths Museum and Acoustiguide (K. Smith, pers. comm., January 2005). Its length allows it to be held without arm strain, and it has features that permit those with disabilities to take advantage of the guide as well. For example, a T-switch allows those with hearing aides to use the guide easily, and headphones can be connected so visitors with arthritis do not have to grasp the audio guide. According to Visitor Services Manager, Katie Smith (pers. comm., January 2005), the devices have a low failure rate, and visitors have the option of obtaining a replacement should the guide malfunction. Data regarding visitor use and behaviour, e.g. the amount of time each audio clip is listened to, is collected by each device.

FIGURE 50. Audio guide distribution point at the Roman Baths; each visitor is given an audio guide in his/her preferred language. Written tours are provided in other languages if needed.


Single speaker audio output

Backlit LCD screen; shows segment number and title of location.

Numeric keypad for entering audio segment locations Control buttons: rewind, fast-forward, pause, play, stop (C), and volume

The wand style allows for easy gripping

Neck strap

FIGURE 51. A diagram of the Acoustiguide AG2000. The audio control symbols for fast-forward, rewind, pause, and play follow international standards, although stop is indicated by the letter C (clear). Diagram provided by K. Smith. 126

5.4.2 ACCESS POINTS Areas of interest, such as architectural features and the museum exhibits, are identified with a two- or three-digit number; visitors type the corresponding number into the audio guide in order to listen to information regarding that section. The numbers are nonsequential in order to ensure visitors are in the proper area of the museum when playing an audio section, and not automatically playing the commentary in numeric order, regardless of their location.

Three tours are currently available for English-speaking visitors, and each of these tours can be accessed from the same device, i.e. English-speaking visitors have the opportunity to listen to up to three narratives during one visit to the Baths.

FIGURE 52: Each audio segment is denoted by a numbered sign, and each tour has its own design. Left (a): The general tour has either a green or yellow background with a stylised image of an audio guide wand (this has not changed despite the new hardware system (section 5.4.4). Centre (b): Bryson at the Baths is denoted by a plain background and a text description. Right (c): The childrens tour uses illustrations of the audio guide characters. The flags visible at the bottom of the Bryson at the Baths and childrens audio tour signs signify the languages that these tours are available in. The numbers of the general tour are consistent across all eight languages.

5.4.3 CONTENT The three narratives available on the English audio tour are: (1) the general tour; (2) Bryson at the Baths; and (3) a childrens tour.4 Some sections of the general tour have layers or fascinating facts, which give the visitor the option of listening to more detailed

The Roman Baths Museum itself uses the term family tour to refer to the general tour, but the latter term has been adopted within this dissertation in order to avoid confusion with the childrens tour. 127

information. These are made available at the end of the main audio segment, at which point listeners are advised to press a second number if they wish to hear further details. In this way, the audio tours are intended to be interactive: visitors not only choose which sections they want to listen to, but can delve deeper into a chosen subject area if desired.

TABLE 11 summarises the number of available audio segments on each tour by length. When

divided in this format, it is clear to see that the childrens audio tour is much shorter than the general tour, with Bryson occupying the middle ground in terms of length.

TABLE 11. A summary of the number of audio segments on each tour by set times. TIMING 00:00 00:30 00:31 01:00 01:01 01:30 01:31 02:00 02:01 02:30 02:31 03:00 03:01 03:30 TOTAL GENERAL 2 17 21 10 8 3 1 62 BRYSON 0 9 9 3 1 0 0 22 CHILDREN 13 19 6 3 1 0 0 42


The narration of the general tour has remained much the same since its inception, although additional layering was added in response to visitors complaints about the length of some sections (K. Smith, pers. comm., January 2005; Baths II.2), and this is still being addressed in the most recent iteration of the tour (pers. comm., October 2009). As the general tour was created before the addition of a specific childrens tour, the narrative content is geared to the age of 12 to ensure better comprehension by a wider audience. The sound files are a combination of facts, dramatic vignettes, and interviews with curatorial staff. In addition to this information, the guide incorporates music, sound effects, and even Latin to construct the story of the springs past, with the narration primarily supplied by actors Stephen Fry and Joanna Lumley (see Appendix D for a short transcript of the general tour).


There are 49 numbered points at which visitors can access this information, as well as 11 additional segments. There are also two general messages, which encompass instructions for using the audio guide and information on returning it to the collection point. The entire tour, including layers, fascinating facts, and messages, has a total running time of just over 85 minutes. A summary of the average playing times for the different types of audio segments used can be seen in TABLE 12, and a full listing of all audio segments and their corresponding lengths is available in TABLE 13. As the general tour was the only tour

available for many years, it is therefore composed of the most audio segments, with the longest overall playing time and longest average time per segment.

TABLE 12. General tour (English): timing summary. Total Average, main sections Average, layers Average, overall PLAYING TIME 85:26 01:24 01:14 01:23


TABLE 13. General tour (English): playing times for each segment. NUMBER LOCATION PLAYING TIME 1 Instructions 02:12 85 Terrace 03:14 27 Terrace Layer 02:07 16 Pilgrims and Priest display 01:08 47 Bather display 02:08 35 Temple Model 02:00 18 Compton Dando Stone 01:27 65 Pediment 02:50 28 Pediment Layer 01:16 29 Pediment Fascinating Fact 00:34 95 Tholos 01:27 40 Flint Tools Case 00:51 80 Temple Treasure Case 01:15 50 Temple Courtyard 01:33 90 Minerva 02:12 31 Minerva Fascinating Fact 00:51 20 Temple Steps 00:48 66 Minerva Layer 01:20 15 Calpernius Receptus 00:35 60 Temple Courtyard Farside 00:42 32 Temple Courtyard Layer 01:35 77 Opposite Spring Entrance 01:12 30 Lucius Marcius Memor 01:05 70 Altar 01:29 19 Temple Entrance 01:38 45 Facades of 4 Seasons/Luna Pediment 02:16 92 Mosaics 01:30 17 Sculptures 01:25 61 Boar 00:40 38 Finds Showcase 01:40 25 People of Aquae Sulis 00:40 NUMBER LOCATION PLAYING TIME 26 Tombstones 01:10 34 Girl's Tombstone 02:25 36 Tombstone Inscriptions Layer 01:11 10 Flavian Lady 01:09 93 Drain 00:47 37 Drain Layer 02:29 39 Mason's Marks 01:06 81 Lead Pig 01:05 89 1900 Model 01:12 82 Gems Showcase 01:20 83 Column 00:45 21 Spring Overflow 00:31 24 Doorway leading to the Baths 01:10 49 Semi-Circular Pool 01:35 43 East Baths Caldarium 00:41 54 East Baths Tepidarium 02:31 51 Tepidarium Fascinating Fact 00:40 55 Natatio 00:29 11 East Baths Large Tepidarium 01:48 53 Large Tepidarium Fascinating Fact 00:41 52 Great Bath South Side 02:14 56 Roman Pavements and Pillars 01:53 96 Frigidarium 00:31 44 Roof Stack 01:07 71 Roof Stack Fascinating Fact 00:29 79 Northwest of the Great Bath 01:25 62 Northwest of the Great Bath Layer 01:32 72 King's Bath 02:36 22 West Baths 01:39 48 Stall Street Bath 00:36 88 Wand Return Point 00:59 130


Although best known as a travel-writer, Bill Bryson has also made a name for himself with non-fiction books such as A Short History of Nearly Everything (2004), Shakespeare (2007), and, most recently, At Home: A Short History of Private Life (2010). The narration of this tour taps into both genres; it was added to the Baths in 2006 and is composed of Brysons unscripted opinions about the bath complex and its artefacts (K. Smith, pers. comm., December 2007). The commentary is available at 22 locations (TABLE 15); see Appendix D for a short transcript. Although composed of fewer segments than the other tours available, the average length of each segment falls between the general tour and childrens tour.
TABLE 14. Bryson at the Baths tour (English): timing summary. Total Average per segment PLAYING TIME 25:39 01:10 TABLE 15. Bryson at the Baths tour (English): playing time for each segment. NUMBER LOCATION PLAYING TIME 12 Welcome 00:41 86 Terrace 01:21 97 Overlooking the Great Bath 00:40 87 "Lonely Place" 01:08 57 Gorgon's Head 02:03 13 King's Bath/Curses 01:25 41 Minerva 00:47 14 Steps to Temple 00:36 42 Altar 01:23 58 Monuments 01:28 67 Spring Overflow 00:57 68 Gemstones 01:15 74 East Baths 01:32 73 Great Bath Extra 01:25 99 Conducting Business 00:37 69 Great Bath 01:48 94 Bathing and Religion 00:49 75 Roof Fragment 01:33 76 North West Corner 01:18 98 Relaxation 00:48 78 Sacred Spring 01:15 84 Terrace 00:50

FIGURE 53. This image of Bill Bryson using an audio guide is part of a publicity leaflet advertising the Roman Baths (The Roman Baths, February 2009).



The audio segments on the childrens tour, which is available in both English and French, are typically narrated by one of seven characters: (1) Gaius Tiburinus (a Roman official); (2) Flavia Tiburina (a Roman lady); (3) Apulia (Flavias servant); (4) Gaius Calpernius Receptus (the chief priest); (5) Lucius Marcius Memor (a fortune-telling priest); (6) Sulinus (a stone mason); and (7) Belator (a bath-house worker). Names and descriptions of each character are provided on a sign when visitors first enter the terrace (FIGURE 54a), and their cartoon image identifies the signs for the childrens tour (FIGURE 54b). See Appendix D for a short transcript of one of the audio sections.

FIGURE 54. Left (a): The seven characters of the childrens audio guide tour greet visitors at the entrance of the terrace. Right (b): The characters are used to signify the audio segments throughout the childrens tour.

There are 42 numbered points where visitors can access the childrens tour (TABLE 16), and incorporated within this are four quiz questions. The average playing time per segment is significantly shorter than the other two tours, clocking in at 48 seconds for each audio segment, for a total of 33 minutes, 45 seconds. See TABLE 17 below for a more detailed breakdown of playing times.

TABLE 16. Childrens tour (English): timing summary. Total Total, excluding quiz answers Average per segment, excluding quiz answers PLAYING TIME 36:05 33:45 00:48


TABLE 17. Childrens tour (English): playing time for each segment. NUMBER 111 113 135 170 150 175 100 101 102 103 133 176 177 181 167 143 161 121 123 156 187 106 200 201 202 203 108 LOCATION PLAYING TIME Introductory Panel 01:57 Terrace 00:29 Spring from Above 01:02 Temple Model 01:05 Overlooking the Great Bath 00:40 Temple Pediment 00:35 Quiz Sulis Minerva 00:46 Quiz Answer 00:15 Quiz Answer 00:15 Quiz Answer 00:14 Spring from King's Bath Corridor 01:45 Coins 00:21 Curses 00:27 Temple Precinct Overview 01:09 Minerva's Head 00:57 Tombstone of Gaius Carpernius Receptus 00:34 Screen 00:19 Marcius Memor Haruspex 01:48 Great Altar 00:25 Spring Entrance Door in Temple Precinct 00:17 Spring Overflow Glimpsed from Temple Precinct 00:18 Faade of 4 Seasons/Luna Pediment 00:25 Quiz Luna Pediment 00:43 Quiz Answer 00:10 Quiz Answer 00:10 Quiz Answer 00:12 Mosaics 00:28 133 NUMBER 110 105 132 118 145 189 122 300 301 302 303 179 146 157 154 107 155 166 400 401 402 403 178 148 188 144 199 LOCATION PLAYING TIME Boar 00:25 Military Tombstones 00:55 Small Altar 00:46 Flavian Lady 01:26 Roman Drain 00:37 Spring Overflow Close-up 00:37 Gems 00:47 Quiz Gemstones 00:25 Quiz Answer 00:11 Quiz Answer 00:09 Quiz Answer 00:09 Doorway leading to the Baths 00:38 Great Bath 01:11 East Baths Semi-Circular Bath 00:47 Caldarium 00:39 Tepidarium 00:30 Natatio 00:53 Great Bath - Social Use 00:48 Quiz Bathhouse 00:38 Quiz Answer 00:12 Quiz Answer 00:11 Quiz Answer 00:12 Frigidarium 00:42 Diving Stone 01:07 Spring from the South 00:52 West Baths 00:23 West Baths Hypocaust and Good-bye 02:09

5.4.4 AUDIO GUIDES: AN ADDENDUM In February 2009, the Roman Baths Museum introduced a new audio guide as part of its renovations. It is an OpusClick, also produced by Acoustiguide, and consists of a colour display screen and mobile phone style touchpad (FIGURE 55a). The devices work in the same manner as the AG2000, with the user entering the number of the audio section they wish to hear. The screen is used to display an image and text title signifying the users location (FIGURE 55b). In September 2010, a British sign language version was unveiled to further utilise the display screen.

As a result of consultations with the Roman Baths in June 2008, some of the authors research findings were taken into consideration during the redesign of the audio guide script. According to Katie Smith (pers. comm., Oct. 2009), some initial editing was done to shorten the audio segments and new audio content has been commissioned with a planned 2010 release. It is intended that the new tour will have a more contemporary feel, with a shorter basic script, and additional layers of information available. All data given here is for the previous version of the tour that was in use during the 2007 evaluations.

FIGURE 55. Left (a): The new Acoustiguide OpusClick audio guide that has been in use since February 2009. Right (b): The display screen shows an image of the users location and a number confirming the audio segment selected. It also has a timeline to show the progress of the audio file.




Below are the results for the survey undertaken at the Roman Baths between March and April of 2007. All three survey designs are included, for a total sample size of 384 visitors. Percentages are rounded to whole numbers for simplification, and voided questions are those that visitors left blank or improperly completed, e.g. a visitor was asked to select one answer but chose several instead.

5.5.1 SPRING SURVEY: DEMOGRAPHICS The initial questions consisted of general demographic data involving the visitors gender, age, country/city of origin, and previous experience in visiting the Roman Baths. TABLE 18 shows that there was an approximately even distribution of male to female respondents, and the ages of visitors are representative of the total population (TABLE 19; GRAPH 1). Based on the results of chi-square testing, there are no significant differences between the populations sampled in the Spring and Autumn surveys. Gender: 2(1, N = 572) = 0.005, p < 0.05 (not significant) Age: 2(8, N = 576) = 10.720, p < 0.05 (not significant)
TABLE 18. Q1. Gender of Spring Survey respondents. GENDER Female Male VOID COUNT 198 180 6 PERCENT 52% 47% 2% TABLE 19. Q2. Age of Spring Survey respondents. AGE Under 12 13 21 22 30 31 40 41 50 51 60 61 70 71 80 81+ VOID COUNT 13 47 74 52 67 84 35 8 1 3 PERCENT 3% 12% 19% 14% 17% 22% 9% 3% <1% 1%


GRAPH 1. The 381 visitors who provided their age on the Spring Survey at the Roman Baths.

Roman Baths Spring Survey: Age

90 80 70

Number of Visitors

60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Under 12 13-21 22-30 31-40 41-50 51-60 61-70 71-80 81+


5.5.2 SPRING SURVEY: UK AND INTERNATIONAL VISITORS Visitors were only asked for the first part of their postcode in order to assure them that they would not be contacted for any marketing purposes, but this allowed for the county of origin to be determined and mapped (FIGURE 56). Based on the results of chi-square testing, there are no significant differences between the population sampled in the Spring and Autumn surveys. Location: 2(1, N = 566) = 0.616, p < 0.05 (not significant) However, of note is the large percentage of international visitors to the Baths (TABLE 20). This is greater than the results of the Bath and North East Somerset Visitor Statistics for 2007, which show that 31% of visitors staying overnight in Bath were of international origin. The overall number of visitors for the city in 2007 was 4,425,000, which includes both overnight stays and day visits; unfortunately, a breakdown of British versus international visitors is not known for the latter.


TABLE 20. Q3/4. Visitors country of origin. LOCATION British International VOID COUNT 223 159 2 PERCENT 58% 41% 1%

TABLE 21. Q3/4. British visitors by country. LOCATION England Wales Scotland COUNT 199 19 5 PERCENT 89% 9% 2%

TABLE 22. Q3/4. International visitors by country of origin; Percent Inter. refers to the percentage based solely on the international total (159) and Percent Total is based on the overall sample size (384). COUNTRY Australia Belgium Canada Catalunya Czech Republic France Germany Ireland Italy Japan Netherlands New Zealand South Africa Spain Sweden Switzerland USA COUNT 17 1 6 1 2 3 5 1 2 3 2 4 3 3 1 2 103 PERCENT PERCENT INTER. TOTAL 11% <1% 4% <1% 1% 2% 3% <1% 1% 2% 1% 3% 2% 2% <1% 1% 65% 4% <1% 1% <1% <1% <1% 1% <1% <1% <1% <1% 1% <1% <1% <1% <1% 27%


FIGURE 56. Map showing the county of origin for British visitors to the Roman Baths during the Spring Survey (March and April 2007). 138

One item of note regarding international visitors is that the two most populous groups on both the Spring and Autumn Survey are from English-speaking countries, Australia and the United States (TABLE 22 and 48). This is in line with the International Passenger Survey (2003) that shows that 38% of international visitors staying in Bath are American and 14% Australian. 5.5.3 SPRING SURVEY: FIRST-TIME AND RETURN VISITS
TABLE 23. Q5/4. Have you visited the Roman Baths before? COUNT Yes: Returning Visitor No: First-time Visitor VOID 71 311 2 PERCENT 18% 81% 1%

There are far-reaching commercial implications based on the results (TABLE 23). Why do a high proportion of visitors not return, and can anything be done to lure them back? The cost is likely a factor, but it is possible that visitors view the site as static and unchanging. This is supported by the results of Q13/12 below (TABLE 24), in which visitors were queried whether they would return to listen to a different tour; over half responded in the affirmative.

Through the use of the birthday-rule (Recreation Site Survey Manual 1983, 17) to achieve a random sampling of visitors during a separate study by the author at the Roman Baths in 2005, it was observed that many visitors mentioned having just celebrated a birthday within the week of the survey period. Although an exact count was not made, it is estimated that at least 10% of the survey population fell into this category, which indicates that some visitors view attending the Roman Baths as something to do to mark a special occasion, rather than a casual place to visit.
TABLE 24. Q13/12. Would you return to the Roman Baths to listen to a different tour? 5 COUNT PERCENT Yes: Would Return No: Would Not VOID

209 134 22

57% 36% 6%

The sample size is 365, as visitors who did not use the audio guide did not answer this question. 139

These survey results (TABLE 24) raise further questions: are visitors more likely to return to a site if the interpretation has changed or been expanded, and does the cause of a visit, such as a special occasion, have an impact on interpretation preference? Such questions are beyond of the scope of this thesis, but pose interesting areas for future work. 5.5.4 SPRING SURVEY: AUDIO GUIDE USAGE Following the demographic questions, the questionnaire asks visitors if the audio guide was used on the day of the survey. Those who answered yes were then queried as to their usage of the audio guide (sections; those answering no were asked for a brief explanation (section 5.5.5) and told to skip the questions about usage. As can be seen in TABLE 25, this applied to only 5% of the visitors questioned.

Despite answering no, four visitors continued with the intervening queries; their responses to these questions have been eliminated in these results as it is unknown whether they were referring to a previous visit or their visit that day. Errors such as this are to be expected when visitors complete the questionnaires on their own (Bourque and Fielder 1995).

TABLE 25. Q6a/5. Did you use the audio guide on todays visit? Yes: Used Audio Guide No: Did Not COUNT 365 19 PERCENT 95% 5%

Very few visitors reported they did not use the audio guide, and there are several reasons that may account for this. First, as audio guides are automatically given to visitors upon entry and are included as part of the admission price, there is little incentive for visitors to bypass the guide completely. As reflected in section 5.5.7, visitors report using the guide along a spectrum ranging from a handful of listening points to nearly all. Second, it is probable that visitors were more willing to complete the survey if they had a positive experience with the guide.


5.5.5 SPRING SURVEY: AUDIO GUIDE NON-USAGE Those who did not use the audio guide gave the following reasons (TABLE 26); visitors could tick more than one selection.6
TABLE 26. Q6b/5b. If you answered no, why not? Please tick all that apply. OPTION I like to move at my own pace The guide malfunctioned Other (comments on right) COUNT 12 0 2 OPTION I prefer to read signs and labels I have used the guide on a past visit Guide (Survey 3, #6) There was no audio guide. (Survey 3, #188) COUNT 9 2

Of those who did not use the guide, most selected one or more of the pre-defined responses, with I like to move at my own pace and I prefer to read signs and labels being the most common selections. This supports research by Alison Woodruff et al. (2001b), which found that visitors to heritage sites prefer to be in control of the method of interpretation used. Some visitors feel that audio guides or other electronic devices hinder, rather than enhance, their experience because they can slow their pace through a museum and provide information only at certain points. This is in stark opposition to much audio-guide literature (e.g. Humphries 2006, 76)7 that touts the devices as allowing visitors to move at their own pace; visitors themselves do not necessarily view the guides as allowing them to do so. Unlike text-based interpretation, which is wholly reliant upon the visitor for the speed at which the interpretation is accessed, audio guides are dependent on the speed of narration and amount of interpretation they seek to impart. Indeed, one visitor (Spring Survey 3, #30) ticked that he listened to the audio guide, but also wrote in the margins: It disturbs the visit and the experience.

Five visitors who selected yes to Q6a/5 indicating that they used an audio guide also answered Q6b/5b. These results were not included in TABLE 26. If they were included, the counts would be as follows: Pace (17); Signs and Labels (12); Past Visit (3); Guide Malfunctioned (0). In researching the audio guide companies outlined in Appendix A, it became apparent that this feature of visitors being able to move at their own pace is often listed as an advantage. 141

5.5.6 SPRING SURVEY: TOUR PREFERENCES The three English audio tours can be accessed on the same audio device, and visitors were queried as to which tours they listened to throughout their visit (TABLES 27-28). Based on these responses, half of the visitors only listened to one tour during their visit, whilst the other half sampled two or more tours.
TABLE 27. Q7/6. Which tours did you listen to? Please tick all that apply. TOUR General Bill Bryson Childrens VOID COUNT 330 179 52 1 TABLE 28. Number of tours listened to by visitors. TOUR One Tour Two Tours All Tours VOID COUNT 183 160 19 3 PERCENT 50% 44% 5% 1%

Visitors were also asked to select which tour they listened to most often (TABLE 29), and it is this tour that is rated in the remainder of the questionnaire. The 19 visitors who did not use the audio guide are not included in this data, leading to a sample size of 365.
TABLE 29. Q8/7. Which tour did you listen to most often? Please tick one. TOUR General Bill Bryson Childrens VOID COUNT 280 39 31 15 PERCENT 77% 11% 8% 4%

These questions revealed that despite requesting the option of having additional tours (e.g. Spring Survey VI.3, #118, #245), visitors do not necessarily take full advantage of the three tours already on offer. Some visitors even commented that they were unaware that three tours were available (Spring Survey II.12), and this factor was followed up on during the Autumn Survey (section 5.6.3).
#13 #34 #118 I was not aware there was a Bill Bryson Tour (unfortunately). Not aware of others; so many numbers. Different people doing guides.

142 SPRING SURVEY: REASONS FOR SELECTING TOUR (GENERAL) Visitors were asked to comment as to why they selected the tour they listened to most often, and these responses can be found in Appendix E. Based on these comments, it is possible to reach a better understanding of what visitors expect from the audio guide tour.

At the most basic level, visitors report that they selected the general tour for information (Spring Survey II.1). This is the largest category, with 73 respondents specifically using the words information, info, or informative to describe the reasoning for their choice.
#23b #82 Wider range of information; didnt know what the Bryson tour included. Most informative Bryson a bit general + not very informative

Other words that commonly appeared with regards to the general tour content include factual, history, precise, relevant, and appropriate. The use of factual and precise is noteworthy, especially when compared to the Bryson and childrens tours, where neither word appears. It was initially thought that visitors were indicating that the tour was accurate; however, if visitors had meant accuracy, they likely would have specified this term. Instead, factual and precise appear to be the audiences way of distinguishing between the fact-based, textbook general tour and the more abstract opinions presented by Bill Bryson.
#6a #18b #51 Wanted just the basic facts. Most relevant to what I want to find out about. Most historical + informative.

It is harder to pinpoint what is indicated by relevant and appropriate. It is possible that this signifies that it met the visitors expectations of what should be included in an audio tour, or it was more appropriate/relevant for their age and/or the site itself.

The word interesting has many connotations, and it is a term that is found to describe all three tours. In this instance, visitors appear to indicate that they have a pre-existing interest in the topic, as well as find the content of the general tour more interesting than the other options.


It was most interesting to me.

Another term that appears in multiple categories is easy (e.g. Spring Survey II.1, #26 and #69; II.13, #277; II.15, #103, #117, and #287). This is quite revealing as visitors answered that one of the most important features in an audio guide was that it was easy to use (section 5.5.10), and it indicates that the current audio guide meets this requirement.
#287 Easy to listen to.

Other comments ranged from time limits to the voice of the narrator.8 Regarding content, visitors showed a desire for both a general overview and an in depth, comprehensive commentary (Spring Survey II.13, #227, #229); despite the apparent discrepancy, the general tour apparently fulfilled both needs.
#25 #60 #229 #284 Listening to both [i.e. Bryson and General] was taking too long. Excellent overview recommended to me. Seemed to be most comprehensive I liked the voice the best.

The reasoning behind the decisions of some visitors was more practical; the signs for the general tour were more visible or, in the case of nine visitors, they were unaware that there were other tours. Visitors also commented as to their own behaviour and general

preferences, both in the Roman Baths and in other museums. These visitors seemed to prefer audio guides to other forms of presentation.
#22 #142 #273 Most obvious (wasnt aware of option). Easiest to see numbers that linked to what we were looking at. Always use audio in museums to get detail

Among those in the Miscellaneous category, several misinterpreted the question, answering why they were at the Roman Baths rather than why they selected a specific audio guide tour (e.g. Spring Survey II.15, #12a, #122).

Baths II.4 in particular shows some of the scathing comments left in the Visitors Book regarding the choice of narrator, e.g. [Baths II.4, #8] After turning on the audio and hearing an American accent I immediately turned it off again permanently. 144 SPRING SURVEY: REASONS FOR SELECTING TOUR (BRYSON AT THE BATHS) Visitors often selected to listen to the Bryson at the Baths tour if they were already familiar with his work, and their past experience provided them with an idea of what to expect. Others responded to Brysons personal opinions and the atmosphere he evoked. As

discussed in section 5.5.9, visitors like to be told a story and appreciate the human element behind the site and its artefacts. Brysons narrative addresses this need (Spring Survey III). In a similar manner, visitors responding to queries about improving the audio guide commented that they would like to hear the opinion of other known personalities (Spring Survey VI.3).
#244 #247 Enjoy his books speaks with more enthusiasm + accessible descriptions. Interested, emotional, sense of actual conversation.

The Bryson tour also had negative responses from visitors who listened to more than one tour. Comments were split between those who preferred a fact, rather than opinion, based tour, and those who found Bryson irritating and annoying (IV.2, #22b and #201; Baths III.2). Although there is little, if anything, that can be done to change the views of the latter group, a clear description of what each tour entails would allow visitors to make an informed decision as to which tour to follow. A brief introduction about the author would likewise assist those visitors who are unfamiliar with Bill Bryson.
#19b Did not know what Bill Bryson tour was. SPRING SURVEY: REASONS FOR SELECTING TOUR (CHILDRENS) Of the 31 visitors who selected that they listened to the childrens tour most often (TABLE 30), the age breakdown appears unusual, with nearly half of the respondents being adults over age 21.
TABLE 30. Ages of visitors who reported listening to the childrens tour most often. AGE Children (under 12) Teenagers/Young Adults (13-21) Adults (21+) COUNT 12 5 14 PERCENT 39% 16% 45%


However, based on observations, many of the adults who listened to the childrens tour were accompanied by children, and in general it is likely adults use the childrens tour so that the family can maintain the same pace,9 as well as be aware of the content.

The simplicity of the childrens tour was often praised by adults, and teenagers and young adults found it easy to understand, as well as fun and interesting (Spring Survey V). Most children (i.e. those under 12) were more practical, commenting that they selected the tour just because they were children (Spring Survey V.4).
#5a #212 Easier to listen to; simple description + not too long to listen to. Because Im a child.


TABLE 31. Q9/8. At which numbered listening points did you use the audio guide? Nearly All About Half A Handful VOID COUNT 232 91 39 3 PERCENT 63% 25% 11% 1%

Based on the quantitative data downloaded from audio guides during the months of this survey, visitors have likely overestimated the amount of interpretation they listen to (TABLE 31). 63% of the visitors thought they listened to nearly all of the audio segments for their selected tour, yet if these results are compared with the data downloaded of the actual usage rates for the months of March and April (TABLE 32), the average numbers of hits, i.e. the number of segments accessed by each visitor, for all tours is significantly less than the number of segments available (TABLE 11).
TABLE 32. The average number of segments listened to and time played (excluding repeats). This is combined across all three tours. See GRAPHS 2-4 for an illustration of the hits and playing times for the survey period. AVERAGE HITS 19 21 MODE HITS 15 14 AVERAGE TIME 21 minutes 23 minutes MODE TIME 12 minutes 17 minutes

March April

As discussed in section, the audio segments on the childrens tour are much shorter than the general tour. Please see TABLES 13, 15, and 17 for a breakdown of the timings of each audio section. 146

This is likewise supported when viewing the hits for the specific tours. For example, on the general tour the segment accessed most often in March was the introduction with 27,764 separate hits.10 This can be assumed to be the approximate number of visitors using the audio guide overall.11 The next most popular segment of the general tour was listened to by 17,448 visitors, a decrease of 37%. If the majority of visitors did indeed listen to nearly all of the available commentary, as indicated by the self-reported data, a more even distribution of hits would be expected across all tours.12

The Bryson at the Baths tour shows a similar decline, with a high of 15,347 hits in March decreasing by 36% to 9,672 for the next most selected segment.13 The childrens tour, however, shows far less of a drop, declining only 6% between the top two audio segments. This seems to indicate that those who started listening to the childrens guide continued with it on a more regular basis than the other tours.

There are a number of possibilities that may account for this difference in self-reported versus actual behaviour. First, and most likely, is that visitors are unaware of the number of segments available on each tour. Second, there is likely the tendency for respondents to show their behaviour in a more positive light (Harrell 1985, 14), and in this circumstance they are likely trying to inflate the amount of material accessed. On a practical level, parts of the Baths were closed to visitors and certain areas, such as the Temple Courtyard, would show a lower than normal number of hits.

Visitors were also asked how often they stopped the audio segment before completion (TABLE 33). Over half reported using this function, which underscores both the importance

10 11



This takes into account the nearly 25% of visitors who repeated the instructions during their tour. When given the audio guide by staff at the Roman Baths, visitors are advised to select the introduction. Based on observations, most visitors do so immediately. In March, individual hits (excluding repeats), range from a low of 117 per segment to 27,764 for the introduction. In April, a similar pattern occurs, with 41,991 individuals listening to the introductory segment, with the next most popular section recording 27,224 hits, or a decrease of 35%. Hits range from 239 to 41,991. In March, the Bryson at the Baths tour ranges from 103 hits to 15,347, excluding repeats. In April, there was a decline of 42% between the top two segments. 147

of providing users with audio controls, as well as the necessity of using shorter audio segments.
TABLE 33. Q10/9. How often did you stop the audio commentary before it finished? Never Occasionally Frequently VOID COUNT 156 181 23 5 PERCENT 43% 50% 6% 1%

As mentioned in section 5.4.3 above, some of the audio segments have additional layers that visitors can access if they wish. Visitors were asked if they listened to this extra interpretation.
TABLE 34. Q11/10. Did you listen to the extra information provided at some exhibits? Yes: Visitor listened to layers No: Visitor did not VOID COUNT 239 121 5 PERCENT 66% 33% 1%


Number of Tour Segments: March 2007

1600 1400 1200 1000 800 600 400 200 0











100 110 120 130


GRAPH 2. This graph illustrates the total number of audio segments available (126 between the three tours) and the number of visitors who accessed them during the month of March.

Overall Listening Time: March 2007

1400 1200 1000


800 600 400 200 0










100 110 120 130 140 150


GRAPH 3. This graph illustrates the total listening time on all three tours (147:10) during the month of March.


Number of Tour Segments Played: April 2007


Number of Visitors

1500 1000 500 0 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 110 120 130 Segments

GRAPH 4. This graph illustrates the total number of audio segments available (126 between the three tours) and the number of visitors who accessed them during the month of April.

Listening Time: April 2007


Number of Visitors

1500 1000 500 0 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 110 120 130 140 150

GRAPH 5. This graph illustrates the total listening time on all three tours (147:10) during the month of April.



TABLE 35. Q12/11. Regarding the tour you listened to most often, how do you rate each of the following? GENERAL LENGTH Just Right Too Long Too Short VOID SPEED Just Right Too Fast Too Slow VOID STORIES Interesting Acceptable Boring VOID OVERALL Excellent Satisfactory Poor VOID 52% 39% 1% 7% 62% 31% 0 7% 61% 19% 4% 16% 57% 33% 2% 8% 67% 23% 0 10% 45% 42% 0 13% 88% 1% 6% 5% 90% 3% 0 7% 84% 3% 3% 10% 78% 18% 1% 3% 82% 15% 0 3% 81% 6% 6% 6% BRYSON CHILDREN

Quantitatively, the results on audio tour length are very similar, although the feedback expressed in the comments (Spring Survey VIII.5; Baths II.2) shows stronger opinions. Likewise, with over half of the visitors reporting that they stopped the audio before the completion of the full commentary, it appears to indicate that the segment length may be too long in some instances. The delivery speed of all tours is comparable.
#51 #5a Good guide but too long at times. I like both audio + signs. Easier to listen to; simple description + not too long to listen to [regarding selection of the childrens tour].

Although rated highly in the other categories, the stories from the childrens tour were nearly divided between interesting and acceptable. Paradoxically, this is likely a result of the preferred short length; it is difficult to develop any story within the short audio segments.

Although the Bryson at the Baths and the childrens tours show the highest satisfaction rating, with 62% and 61% selecting excellent respectively, they were listened to by a

minority of visitors. However, as a whole, this question was not as useful as intended as many visitors left it blank, and it is through the visitors comments that a more complete picture of audience preference emerges.

When subjected to chi-square testing, a significant difference emerges in terms of the length of audio sections, with the primary difference being between the general and childrens tours: 2(1, N = 299) = 9.445, p < 0.05. When the percentages are viewed, this becomes more clear: 6% of those who used the childrens tour found the audio segments to be too long, whereas 18% of those using the general tour rated it as too long.

There is no significant difference between the other options. Speed: 2(4, N = 328) = 3.867, p < 0.05 (not significant) Stories: 2(4, N = 320) = 4.631, p < 0.05 (not significant) Overall: 2(4, N = 321) = 6.077, p < 0.05 (not significant) 5.5.9 SPRING SURVEY: IMPROVEMENTS
TABLE 36. Please tick up to three; how would you improve the audio guides? OPTION Add video or pictures Different types of tours Shorter audio tours Other Longer audio tours VOID COUNT 162 104 82 55 24 27

Please see Spring Survey VI.4 (Appendix E) for a list of Other suggestions, and VI.4-5 for comments regarding the synchronisation of the audio guide with the video reconstructions (e.g. V.5, #24a).

Overall, the response to the audio guides at the Roman Baths was overwhelmingly positive, and many of the comments made about improvements state that the audio guides are fine as is (Spring Survey VI.1; Baths I.1). However, there are several recurring themes that

should be taken into consideration. There is a desire for interpretation to be presented in additional ways, as well as an interest in the human side of the Baths. Based on past research it is clear that, although the public is interested in artefacts, it is the people who once used these items who have captured the audiences imagination (McManus 2000b, 166; Massung 2006b). Likewise, visitors have a desire to identify with people in the past based on their own experiences; presenting the human context allows them to do so (Falk and Dierking 1992, 139).
#33 #99 #180 Very acceptable, change not necessary. Dont need improving. I thought them excellent.

5.5.10 SPRING SURVEY: IMPORTANT FEATURES Visitors were originally asked to rank six audio guide features in terms of preference; however, many visitors had difficulty with this question as discussed in section 4.5.7. The question was changed as a result, and visitors were asked to select up to three choices.

The following responses are based only on answers given after the change in question type; this is a sample size of 268.
TABLE 37. Q15/14. Please tick up to three; which feature do you find most important when using an audio guide, whether at Bath or elsewhere? OPTION Ability to move at my own pace Easy to Use Education: I like to learn something Entertainment: The guide keeps my interest Options: There are different types of tours available Price VOID COUNT 170 116 127 67 17 19 19

The top three selections were also the first three listed on the questionnaire. Although this may indicate that visitors answered based on the first options they viewed, the results throughout all surveys reflect this interest and rating.


5.5.11 SPRING SURVEY: COST Visitors were queried as to their willingness to pay for an audio guide if it were not provided as part of the admission cost (TABLE 38). The 194 visitors who responded in the affirmative were then asked for the amount they would be willing to pay for an audio guide, which resulted in an average of 1.97 (TABLE 39). A discussion about the impact of cost can be found in section
#40 #86 Re: Question 16 it would depend on the entrance fee. Great that its free wouldnt use it otherwise! TABLE 39. Q16/15. If you answered yes, what would be a fair price for the audio guide? AMOUNT 1.00 2.00 3.00 4.00 5.00 AVERAGE COUNT 75 65 43 6 5 1.97 PERCENT 39% 34% 22% 3% 2%

TABLE 38. Q16/15. If the audio guide were not provided for free, would you pay to use it? Yes No VOID COUNT 194 177 13 PERCENT 51% 46% 3%

5.5.12 SPRING SURVEY: HYPOTHETICAL QUESTIONS Of extreme interest are the responses to questions asking whether visitors would use their own digital device at the site (TABLE 40), and whether visitors would want to access additional information about the site once they returned home (TABLE 41; see section 2.7.1 and 2.7.2). The results are nearly inverse of each other.
TABLE 40. Q17/16. Would you like to be able to access the tours on your own digital device (mobile phone, MP3 player, PDA, etc.)? Yes No VOID COUNT 127 250 7 PERCENT 33% 65% 2%

TABLE 41. Q18/17. Would you like to be able to access additional information about the Roman Baths once you are home; for example, through a website personalised with topics that interest you? Yes No VOID COUNT 250 123 11 PERCENT 65% 32% 3%


The answer given to the first question regarding visitors using their own digital device is concerning, as it would indicate that visitors would be unlikely to use location-based or similar technology on their own device if it were to be implemented more widely. However, there are two possible explanations for this response that may lessen the negative impact. First, the question does not provide any specific details or examples, and it is likely difficult for visitors to imagine the type of tour the author indicated.14

Second, when completing the survey, visitors had just used an audio guide that they rate quite highly; this negative response may be a matter of visitors expressing the sentiment of if it aint broke, dont fix it. Likewise, at a location where there are numerous forms of interpretation available, the use of one more may not strike visitors as significant. 5.5.13 PREFERRED METHOD OF INTERPRETATION The intent of this question was to determine if there is a particular method of presentation to which visitors are partial; however, a significant number chose more than one answer, a result that is echoed in the survey at the Clifton Suspension Bridge (section 7.12). These responses have been invalidated in order to provide a more accurate comparison, but in reality, visitors #24a and #33 (Spring Survey VII) are correct: each heritage site or museum is best served by whichever method of presentation suits the environment, and often a variety of methods are able to provide a more complete picture.15 Past studies into this subject have also shown that the number of methods of interpretation used correlates to the degree of enjoyment; more methods yields greater visitor satisfaction (Randi Korn, pers. comm., May 2007).
#24a #33 Mixture diff info needs diff presentation. Would depend on type of visit + which would be most appropriate.



The timing of this survey, before the emergence of the iPhone and its associated apps, is likely to have an impact on visitor response as well. Likewise, other visitors commented to the author that it depended on the location as to which method they would prefer. As discussed in Chapter 1 regarding the definition of presentation, it is specified that appropriate means should be used (Binks 1986, 40); what is appropriate at one site may not be at another, as observed by visitor #33. 155

Audio guides were selected most often, followed by tour guides and signs and labels. Overall, this question revealed that there is no one-size-fits-all method of interpretation, but it is hoped that the potential of location-based media to combine text, audio, and images in one portable device will allow visitors to access the best qualities of each method.
TABLE 42. Q19/18. Please tick one: Which method do you most prefer at a museum or heritage site? Signs and Labels Audio Guide Guide Book/Leaflet Tour Guide Interactive Touch Screen Hands-on Activities Other VOID COUNT 50 148 10 66 16 14 3 77 PERCENT 13% 39% 3% 17% 4% 4% <1% 20%

5.5.14 SPRING SURVEY: FINAL THOUGHTS At the end of the survey, visitors were given the opportunity to express any other thoughts they had about the audio guide or the Roman Baths Museum itself. Overall, the comments about the Roman Baths were positive, and the Baths tour guides received special mention as well (Comments VIII.7).
#79 James the tour guide was rather good. More like him!

In general, the audio guide also received glowing reviews, with attention paid to both the Bryson (VIII.4, #204) and childrens tour (VIII.4, #144, #247).
#144 I enjoyed the new feature of the childrens tour which was not here last time I visited. I found it appealing + entertaining. It was also a much better length for children. I found the Bill Bryson tour very interesting as it was not just facts. Very good exhibits + very well preserved. The audio guide provided a great insight into the history that I probably would not have got from reading signs etc.

#204 #231

There were, however, several negative responses, primarily from visitors who would prefer to access the material through different methods of interpretation. That being said, two visitors (VIII.5, #23 and #232) complained about the overlap of information between the audio guides and signs. These opposing views serve to reinforce the dictum that it is

impossible to please everyone; overall, the audio guide is well received by a vast majority of visitors to the Roman Baths.
#232 I wrote poor because most of the commentaries repeated the information that was on the signs. I enjoyed the extra information made available after this though, although I would not have taken the guide had it not been included in the price.




The Autumn Survey sought to obtain visitors opinions regarding specific features of the audio guide. The overall survey size is 198, including the preliminary survey and the childrens surveys (TABLE 43). As above, percentages are rounded to whole numbers for simplification, and voided questions are those that visitors left blank or answered with more than one response.

TABLE 43. The dates and times surveys were collected at the Roman Baths in the Autumn. VISITORS #1 - 24a Preliminary #1 - 32 #33 - 58 #59 - 77 #78 - 113 #114 - 157 #158 - 174 DATE Saturday, 11 August 2007 Saturday, 18 August 2007 Wednesday, 22 August 2007 Wednesday, 29 August 2007 Monday, 3 September 2007 Wednesday, 5 September 2007 Friday, 7 September 2007 TIME 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM 5:00 PM - 6:30 PM 2:45 PM - 4:15 PM 10:30 AM - 12:15 PM 2:15 PM - 4:20 PM 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

5.6.1 AUTUMN SURVEY: DEMOGRAPHICS As above, the initial questions regarded visitor demographics. The results are similar to those obtained in the Spring Survey (TABLES 18-19), with the exception of those aged under 21. In the spring, fewer children under 12 were represented and a greater percentage of teenagers and young adults completed surveys. The variation may be a natural fluctuation, or a result of the school holiday schedule, i.e. more school groups visit the Baths in the spring.16


Based on observations, younger children, i.e. those under 10, tended to visit the Baths with their parents, whereas older children were part of a school visit or tour group. 158

TABLE 44. Q1. Gender of Autumn Survey respondents. GENDER COUNT Female Male VOID 101 93 4 PERCENT 51% 47% 2%

TABLE 45. Q2. Age of Autumn Survey respondents. AGE Under 12 13 21 22 30 31 40 41 50 51 60 61 70 71 80 81+ VOID COUNT 14 10 34 28 36 44 21 9 0 2 PERCENT 7% 5% 17% 14% 18% 22% 11% 5% 0 1%

Roman Baths Autumn Survey: Age


Number of Visitors

40 30 20 10 0 Under 12 1321 2230 3140 4150 Years 5160 6170 7180 81+

GRAPH 6. The age of visitors on the Autumn Survey.


5.6.2 AUTUMN SURVEY: UK VISITORS AND INTERNATIONAL VISITORS The following responses (TABLES 46-47) consist of just the adult survey (186); the childrens survey did not ask for country or post code.
TABLE 46. Q3. Visitors country of origin on the Autumn Survey at the Roman Baths. LOCATION British International Void COUNT 101 83 2 PERCENT 54% 45% 1% Table 47. Q3. British visitors by country on the Autumn Survey at the Roman Baths. LOCATION England Wales Scotland COUNT 94 6 1 PERCENT 93% 6% 1%

Although Australia and the United States still provided the greatest number of international visitors, the amounts have been reversed, with Australia providing a larger percentage of visitors in the Autumn. This is likely due to the presence of different tour groups visiting the Roman Baths on the days the surveys took place.
TABLE 48. Q3. International visitors by country of origin; Percent Inter. refers to the percentage based solely on the international total (83) and Percent Total is based on the overall sample size (186). COUNTRY Australia Canada China Denmark Finland Germany Italy Mozambique New Zealand Pakistan Russia South Africa Switzerland Turkey USA COUNT 32 8 1 2 2 3 3 1 2 1 1 2 1 1 23 PERCENT PERCENT INTER. TOTAL 39% 10% 1% 2% 2% 4% 4% 1% 2% 1% 1% 2% 1% 1% 28% 17% 4% <1% 1% 1% 2% 2% <1% 1% <1% <1% 1% <1% <1% 12%


FIGURE 57. Map showing county of origin for British visitors to the Roman Baths during the Autumn Survey (August and September 2007). 161

5.6.3 AUTUMN SURVEY: TOUR AWARENESS Based on conversations with visitors and comments written during the Spring Survey (II.12), it appeared that many did not know that the different tours were available on the same device. In this survey, visitors were explicitly asked if they were aware of the three tours.
TABLE 49. Q5. Were you aware that three different tours were available? COUNT Aware of three tours Unaware 121 65 PERCENT 65% 35%

As over one-third of visitors were unaware of the complete range of available tours, more should be done to provide visitors with further details and brief descriptions of what each tour entails. Several visitors commented to the author that it would also be useful to have an idea of the timing of each tour as well so that they could better plan their visit.

Although most of this information is presented in the introductory audio section, it is easy for the visitor to miss (Spring Survey II.12, #232). First, the tour details are presented after visitors are told how to turn the device off. the primary instructions.17
#232 Didnt realise I could listen to Bill Bryson probably because I listened to track 1!

As evidenced by the quantitative data

downloaded from audio guides, visitors tend to find the introduction long and stop it after

Second, most visitors begin to listen to the instructions in the Terrace, which has two distractions: the Great Bath below and the surrounding crowd. Large groups create a noisy atmosphere and visitors often appeared to be in a hurry to go on to the next section. Finally, although visitors may hear the instructions, they do not necessarily listen to what is being said.


In March/April and August/September, visitors on average listened to only 74% of the introductory audio clip; this is 1:39 minutes, vs. the 2:12 of the complete segment. This is also supported in the visitor feedback (Spring Survey Comments VIII.5, #50: Too slow explaining how to use). 162

5.6.4 AUTUMN SURVEY: TOUR PREFERENCES As with the Spring Survey, visitors were queried as to which tours they listened to overall, as well as which one they listened to most often. The percentages seen here (TABLE 51) are nearly identical to those obtained in the Spring Survey (section 5.5.6), with nearly half of the visitors listening to one tour during their visit, whilst the other half sampled two or more tours.
TABLE 50. Q6. Which tours did you listen to? Please tick all that apply. TOUR General Bill Bryson Childrens COUNT 173 103 32 TABLE 51. Number of tours listened to by visitors on the Spring Survey. TOUR One Tour Two Tours All Tours VOID COUNT 97 84 13 4 PERCENT 49% 42% 7% 2%

TABLE 52. Q7. Which tour did you listen to most often? Please tick one. TOUR General Bill Bryson Childrens VOID COUNT 154 21 15 8 PERCENT 78% 11% 7% 4%

There is no significant difference between the Spring and Autumn Surveys in regards to which tours were listened to most often. Spring vs. Autumn: 2(2, N = 540) = 0.152, p < 0.05 (not significant)

The general tour was listened to most often throughout both surveys as would be expected; it is the most prominent audio tour and has the most segments available. However, it would also be expected for visitors to sample the other audio tour options, but this was done by under half of the respondents. As discussed above, a number of visitors are unaware of the different selections, but are there other factors involved that preclude visitors from even trying additional tours?

Regarding the Bryson at the Baths tour, it appears that a combination of factors are at play. First, based on comments written in both the Spring and Autumn survey, a number of visitors do not know who Bill Bryson is, and their lack of interest in this tour is therefore

understandable. Second, there is either apathy or outright aversion to Bryson (e.g. Spring Survey IV.2; Autumn Survey I.4; Baths III.2), and finally, visitors report that a lack of time prevents them from using other options. 5.6.5 AUTUMN SURVEY: TOUR RATINGS Using eight aspects of the audio guide, visitors were asked to rate the tour they listened to most often on a scale of 1 5 as follows: (1) poor; (2) fair; (3) average; (4) good; (5) excellent. Using basic statistical methods, the results are compared in sections

TABLE 53. Description of the audio guide features studied. TABLE ABBREVIATION Pace Length Music Entertain Education Extra Info Ease Overall SURVEY DESCRIPTION Ability to move at your own pace Length of audio clips Music / Sound Effects Entertainment Value Educational Value Extra Information Provided Easy to use audio device Overall


Median is a measure of the middle value in an ordered data set, whilst the mode is the value that occurs most frequently (Wilkinson 2000, 86). The minimum and maximum provide the range of answers selected by visitors. The average has been given to two decimal points as it allows a more clear delineation to emerge between the categories. 164


TABLE 54. A comparison of the ratings for the general tour. Pace Length Music Entertain Education Extra Info Ease Overall AVERAGE 4.46 3.95 3.57 3.99 4.45 4.13 4.60 4.32 MEDIAN 5 4 4 4 5 4 5 4 MODE 5 4 4 4 5 4 5 4 MINIMUM 1 1 1 1 2 2 1 3 MAXIMUM 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5

General Tour (Average Rating)

5.00 4.80 4.60 4.40 4.20 4.00 3.80 3.60 3.40 3.20 3.00 Pace Length Music Entertain Education Extra Info Ease Overall

GRAPH 7. The average ranking for each aspect of the tour and the standard error for each dataset.


TABLE 55. A comparison of the ratings for the Bryson at the Baths tour. Pace Length Music Entertain Education Extra Info Ease Overall AVERAGE 4.45 4.10 3.44 4.35 4.70 4.53 4.75 4.68 MEDIAN 5 4 4 5 5 5 5 5 MODE 5 4 3 5 5 4 5 4 MINIMUM 3 2 1 3 4 3 1 3 MAXIMUM 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5

Bryson Tour (Overall Rating)

5.00 4.80 4.60 4.40 4.20 4.00 3.80 3.60 3.40 3.20 3.00 Pace Length Music Entertain Education Extra Info Ease Overall

GRAPH 8. The average ranking for each aspect of the tour and the standard error for each dataset.


TABLE 56. A comparison of the ratings for the childrens tour. Pace Length Music Entertain Education Extra Info Ease Overall AVERAGE 4.13 3.67 4.47 4.00 4.53 4.00 4.93 4.60 MEDIAN 5 4 5 4 5 4 5 5 MODE 5 3 5 5 5 3 5 5 MINIMUM 2 2 3 1 2 3 4 3 MAXIMUM 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5

Children's Tour (Overall Rating)

5.00 4.80 4.60 4.40 4.20 4.00 3.80 3.60 3.40 3.20 3.00 Pace Length Music Entertain Education Quizzes Ease Overall

GRAPH 9. The average ranking for each aspect of the tour and the standard error for each dataset.

167 AUTUMN SURVEY: TOUR RATINGS (STATISTICAL ANALYSIS) Overall, a similar pattern is found throughout the three tours, i.e. similar averages were obtained for each category regardless of tour type, although the childrens tour varies slightly in regards to music and sound effects. As a result, it is felt it will be best to base the working location-based prototypes on the highly rated features, i.e. educational aspects and easy-to-use hardware, whilst avoiding the negative.

Another pattern visible is that the count typically grows in relation to the positive scale, i.e. poor had the lowest tally and excellent the highest. However, in some cases there is a definite disruption in this model and instead the general tour peaks at the good option (i.e. the greatest number of respondents selected good), whereas the other two tours continue to peak at excellent. It is difficult to know whether this is due to an actual difference in the tours, or the smaller sample size of the Bryson and children's tour.

When subjected to chi-square testing, there is no significant difference between the three tours in terms of "ability to move at your own pace" nor length of audio clips. The latter is unexpected given the visitor comments regarding length (Autumn Survey I.2; Baths II.2). However, this particular aspect is the only feature in which all of the tours fail to follow the pattern of an increase in count from negative to positive, and instead the highest tally falls in the good range. As a result, it appears that while there is no statistical difference between the three tours, the length of the audio segments can certainly undergo improvements. Pace: 2(8, N = 191) = 11.849, p < 0.05 (not significant) Length: 2(8, N = 190) = 10.746, p < 0.05 (not significant)
#115 #116 To [sic] chatty, went on to [sic] long at each station so rarely ever finished listening. Too wordy for each stop, could be shortened a little.

The difference between the three groups in terms of music and sound effects is very significant, with the primary difference being the high ratings on the childrens tour: the majority of the respondents on the childrens tour selected excellent, whilst average

and good are the most commonly selected on the other two; as a result, there is an average rating of 4.47 on the childrens tour, versus 3.57 and 3.44 on the general and Bryson tour respectively. The possible reasons behind this are twofold: the children's tour uses far less music and sound effects than the general tour, whilst the Bryson tour has none (i.e. there is nothing for users to rate). See also Baths II.3 in Appendix E.3 for further comments about the problems visitors found with the use of music and sound effects. Music/Sound Effects: 2(8, N = 188) = 26.382, p < 0.05 (significant) General vs. Bryson: 2(4, N = 173) = 2.143, p < 0.05 (not significant) General vs. Children: 2(4, N = 170) = 21.393, p < 0.05 (significant) Bryson vs. Children: 2(4, N = 33) = 9.859, p < 0.05 (significant)
#133 Some of the music or other theatrical effects were unnecessary + distracted from the presentation. Sounds effects annoying, just wanted info.


There is a slight significant difference between the three tours in terms of how visitors ranked the entertainment value. The difference emerges between the general and

childrens tour, and this is another instance of the tally peaking at good on the general tour, but excellent on the childrens. Entertainment Value: 2(8, N = 189) = 15.888, p < 0.05 (significant) General vs. Bryson: 2(4, N = 174) = 6.502, p < 0.05 (not significant) General vs. Children: 2(4, N = 169) = 9.891, p < 0.05 (significant) Bryson vs. Children: 2(4, N = 35) = 2.892, p < 0.05 (not significant)
#95 Prefer for factual information than entertainment ended up reading the information than listening . Excellent commentary really brought the venue to life!


There is no significant difference in education value between the three tours. This is worth noting when paired with the results above, i.e. visitors feel that all tours are informative, but their reaction to the way this information is presented varies.


Education Value: 2(8, N = 191) = 8.966, p < 0.05 (not significant)

#106 Really useful to get the information as you were going round particular liked the Great Bath information. Very enjoyable & informative tour.


There is no significant difference between the three tours in terms of extra information provided. This is somewhat unexpected as the general tour has specific points with additional information, whilst this does not occur as frequently on the Bryson or children's tour. However, visitors may have felt that the extra information took different forms, e.g. Bryson's opinion adds a different interpretive layer to the Baths, and the childrens tour contains quizzes. Extra Information Provided: 2(8, N = 171) = 8.917, p < 0.05 (not significant)
#35 #59 Actually be nice to know which ones had extras a number + sign could be useful. Maybe the option to know more on each section would be good.

The same device was used in all tours, and as would be expected there is no statistical difference regarding the easy to use audio guide. However, the chi-square results are higher than would have been supposed, and the percentages reflect this: a far higher percentage of users of the general tour selected good (28%) than those on the Bryson and childrens tour (5% and 7% respectively). Again, it is difficult to gauge whether this

discrepancy is due to a genuine perceived difference by the visitors, or the result of the small sample size of these secondary tours. Easy to Use: 2(8, N = 191) = 13.079, p < 0.05 (not significant)
#131 I prefer audio guides with headphones. More comfortable when youre spending a couple of hours listening. Would have preferred it to have been numbered in order ie 1 onwards.


The overall category introduces a degree of complication, and the results are dependant upon how the numbers are calculated. If following the typical formula for chi-square, the degrees of freedom are 8, and the chi-square value of 12.549 is below the 95% probability threshold (p < 0.05), i.e. the results are not statistically significant.

However, the two categories of poor and fair were not selected by any of the visitors. As discussed in Chapter 4, when the count is 0, these rows are not counted towards the degree of freedom, and it becomes 4; therefore the results are significant. The percentages again bear out this difference, with only 38% of users of the general tour selecting excellent, but with 74% and 67% of those using the Bryson and childrens tours selecting this option. Further calculations pinpoint a statistical difference between the general and the Bryson at the Baths tour. Overall: 2(4, N = 181) = 12.549, p < 0.05 (significant) General vs. Bryson: 2(2, N = 166) = 8.991, p < 0.05 (significant) General vs. Children: 2(2, N = 162) = 4.907, p < 0.05 (not significant) Bryson vs. Children: 2(2, N = 34) = 0.336, p < 0.05 (not significant)

5.6.6 AUTUMN SURVEY: FINAL THOUGHTS As in the Spring Survey, the final question gave visitors the opportunity to share their opinions about the audio guide or the Roman Baths in general. Overall, a similar array of thoughts was expressed, e.g. the Bryson at the Baths tour is either loved or hated (Autumn Survey I.1, #19a and #48; I.4; Baths III.2) and audio segments on the general tour are considered too long (Autumn Survey I.2, II.3; Baths II.2). However, the general consensus regarding the audio guides is overwhelmingly positive (Autumn Survey I.1; Baths I.1).
#2a #5a #148 Very interesting, wonderful audio guide, clips could be shorter though. Bryson didnt add much for me . . . Sometimes felt a bit overloaded by all the info but generally great.



Over 500 visitors were surveyed as part of the Spring and Autumn Surveys at the Roman Baths, and in general, traditional audio guides are well-received, with 95% of those surveyed using it during their visit. From their responses a number of factors were highlighted regarding visitor preferences when using this form of interpretation. These can broadly be divided into: (1) the content of the audio guide; (2) choice; and (3) visitor behaviour.



The results regarding the audio guide content were a mixture of the surprising and expected. Based on the qualitative data obtained through both the surveys and Visitors Book comments (e.g. Baths II.2), it was anticipated that there would be a significant difference regarding tour length, but this did not materialise in the chi-square tests performed on the rating of the Autumn Survey. However, over half of the respondents reported stopping or pausing the audio segments before completion (TABLE 33), and some visitors disagree with the blanket statement that audio guides allow them to move at their own pace. Likewise, the Spring Survey did reveal a difference between the general and childrens tour, with indications that the shorter length of the latter is preferred. The rather vocal qualitative responses also serve to indicate that more can be done to shorten the audio segments, either through judicious editing or the use of layers (e.g. Press x to hear more information). Music and sound effects, however, were rated quite low on the general and Bryson at the Baths tours, reflecting prior visitor comments (e.g. Baths II.3).

Also unexpected, there is no quantitative difference regarding the use of extra information, but in hindsight it appears that the way in which visitors may have interpreted this phrase varies, i.e. each tour added information in a different way: the general tour through the use of fascinating facts; Bryson at the Baths by using opinions rather than fact-based interpretation; and the childrens tour through the use of quizzes.

Of great interestfrom both a commercial perspective and for heritage interpretation in generalis the number of visitors who reported being willing to return to the Baths to use a different tour (TABLE 24). This indicates that visitors value the option to get additional, different interpretation; however, as discussed below, this option was not always taken.


5.7.2 CHOICE

Surprisingly, only half of the respondents took advantage of the multiple tours available and listened to more than one (TABLES 28 and 50); it was subsequently shown that approximately one-third of the respondents were unaware that they had three options (TABLE 49). Visitors cannot be expected to automatically discern the availability of options, especially when the data obtained from the guide itself shows that many visitors prematurely stop the audio guide instructions. In a similar manner, the Bill Bryson tour is in need of a better

introduction; comments on the Visitors Book/Comment Cards questioning the use of an American accent clearly reveal that at least some of the audience is unaware of not only Brysons background (Baths II.4, #6, #13), but also the reason his tour is included (Baths III.2, #8, #10).


A number of issues of interest fall under the category of visitor behaviour. One such item is the use of audio controls: over half reported pausing or stopping the tour before completion. As mentioned above, this indicates that the tours are too long at present; it also shows the importance of providing visitors with a method of controlling the audio commentary. Visitors also overestimate their consumption of interpretation, which is worth bearing in mind when designing interpretive content.

Of note are the responses to the questions that seek to gauge visitors interest to downloading guides to their own device and the use of post-visit websites to provide additional information. The results are inversely proportionate, with only one-third

indicating willingness to download such a guide, but a 65% majority expressing interest in obtaining additional information. Based solely on these results, it appears that using ones own device in a museum setting, where a number of interpretive methods are at the visitors disposal, has little interest.


Overall, however, the contradictory nature of the public is evident throughout both the quantitative and qualitative results. For example, although different types of tours was the second most common selection for improvement, it drops to last when visitors were asked to select which audio guide features they find most important. The comments, both on the surveys and in the Visitors Book/Comment Cards, reflect individual preferences: some feel there is too much overlap between interpretation, others would like to see additional methods used (Baths VI.2); the Bryson at the Baths tour is loved by some, loathed by others (Spring Survey IV; Baths III); the motivation of visitors can range can range over sixteen possible reasons for selecting a particular tour (Spring Survey II).

As a result, it is clear that a one-size-fits-all approach, whether in the method of interpretation or the content presented therein, does not necessarily meet the needs of visitors. This underscores Ronald Hawkeys assertion (2004, 4) that The real key to future development [of interpretation] is likely to be personalisation. . .