The Value of Mobile Apps in Heritage Interpretation and the Superficial Engagement of Digital Communities

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Many heritage sites are investing in apps, yet there isn't any concrete evidence for how effective they are in interpreting heritage sites to visitors. Do apps deliver the key aims of organisations, such as the National Trust, to ‘grow the nation’s love of special places’ or English Heritage to 'help people understand, value, care for and enjoy England’s heritage'? My research has established the top interpretation priorities of heritage organisations and then collected feedback from app users to see if these priorities have been met by apps. First results show that whilst enjoyment and engagement are well met, learning lags a little behind. Over 50% of respondents also valued the heritage site more after using an app. An unexpected research finding has been the digital heritage community's superficial engagement with mobile technologies. Whilst many are busy tweeting about apps and developing them, most haven't tried one themselves. At the moment apps cater for a niche market, but the likelihood is that they will break into mainstream and attract more than just a superficial following. How can we, as part of the digital community, facilitate this?
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2014
EventDigital Heritage : Digital Communities in Action - University of York, York, United Kingdom
Duration: 12 Jul 201412 Jul 2014


ConferenceDigital Heritage
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • heritage, digital, mobile phone, app


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