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The Roaring Navigator: A Group Guide for the Zoo with Shared Auditory Landmark Display

Christoph Stahl
In: Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Human Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services. International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services (MobileHCI-07), 9th, September 9-12, Singapore, Singapore, SIGCHI, ACM, New York, 9/2007.


In this paper, we introduce a shared auditory landmark display which conveys spatial survey knowledge and navigational aid to multiple users. Our guide is situated in a zoo environment, so we use recordings of animal voices to indicate the location of the animal enclosures. Spatial audio manipulates the volume and stereo balance of the sound clips, so that the listener can identify their distance and direction. The system also proactively presents audio clips with detailed information about each animal. To avoid the typical effect of social isolation through audio guides, we use shared audio so that the same sounds will be presented to each user at the same time. We have conducted an initial user study of paired visitors in the zoo to evaluate the usability of the system with positive results. The participants reported that the system is easy to use and has a stimulating influence on the communication between the visitors. As a further result, the study indicates that ‘lightweight’ navigational aid can be sufficient for wayfinding tasks in certain environments, which provides only the linear distance and direction of the destination.

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