Phases of urban tourists' exploratory navigation: A field study

Tuomas Vaittinen, David McGookin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientificpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
293 Downloads (Pure)


There is a lack of widely available mobile map applications that effectively support pedestrian tourists who prefer the freedom of exploring their surroundings, and might not have an explicit destination they are trying to reach in mind. Although research systems to support such exploratory navigation have been developed, these are often only studied in controlled trials. It is therefore unclear if researchers are covering all types of navigation tourists do. To get a comprehensive picture of tourists' navigation, we carried out a field study with 16 tourists, shadowing them during part of their visit to Helsinki. Our findings support designers of mobile applications by describing the phases and dynamics of exploration and wayfinding, as well as how existing popular navigation tools are used during exploration. The phases contribute towards a framework for assessing existing tools and developing new ones to cover all navigation activities tourists undertake. We present 5 design implications to support creating tools that take into account the real-world insights collected in the study.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDIS 2016 - Proceedings of the 2016 ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems: Fuse
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4503-4031-1
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jun 2016
MoE publication typeA4 Conference publication
EventACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems - Brisbane, Australia
Duration: 4 Jun 20168 Jun 2016
Conference number: 11


ConferenceACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems
Abbreviated titleDIS


  • Exploratory navigation
  • Field study
  • Foraging
  • Mobile applications
  • Pedestrian navigation
  • Shadowing
  • Tourism


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