Design for Technology-Mediated Memorable and Meaningful Tourism Experiences
: A Strengths-Based Approach

Student thesis: PhD

Abstract

This study investigates a technology-mediated experience design that fosters memorable and meaningful tourism experiences (MMEs). Technology has been playing an integral role in facilitating people to make personal choices on their tourism activities, from itinerary planning, online bookings, and way findings, to social sharing of people’s journeys. This study shows how technology may offer the potential to transcend personalized experiences into memorable and meaningful experiences. A review of literature in positive psychology provided three insights on MMEs. First, a holistic understanding of MMEs from one’s explicit experiential dimension to implicit experiential dimension, which includes what people do, feel, think, and value. Second, MMEs also result from pursuing growth goals derived from their past, present, and future aspirations. Lastly, character strengths, which represent positive traits of individuals, can be the pivotal component in MMEs because they are the bridge between the implicit and the explicit dimensions of experience. Experience of meaning can emerge by making the implicit explicit, thereby fostering self-awareness, a sense of purpose, and self-development towards flourishing.
Therefore, this study seeks to incorporate character strengths into an informatics system so that users can cultivate their character strengths and facilitate users in the appreciation of their MMEs by connecting what they do, feel, think and value. This thesis is composed of interrelated three studies that progress through a design process. The first study explored how technology can support people to cultivate their character strengths for the creation of memorable and meaningful experiences. It resulted in a tripartite strengths-based HCI framework that encapsulates three aspects of strengths used namely, strengths well spent, reflection and introspection, and anticipation of future self. The second study focused on the stage of reflection and introspection by investigating people’s proficiencies in creating visual diary with photos generated on their memorable and meaningful journeys because comprehensive visual storytelling is the prerequisite for people to connect the experience to the associated implicit psychological motives and needs. The result informed the development of a proof-of-concept strengths-based journaling platform. The third study involved the evaluation of the platform from three perspectives. First, on the features that facilitate users to create meaning by making the implicit psychological dimensions of MMEs (e.g., character strengths, motives, and values) explicit. Second, participants’ strengths that had drawn upon on their MMEs. Third, their intentions on cultivating their characters strengths, and pursuing values gained in their future journeys. The result showed that people deepened their self-awareness by using the platform. Also, MMEs more often involved people’s moderate character strengths rather than signature strengths. Participants were more willing to pursue the value gained and develop the character strengths used in their future journeys rather than revisit the places. By making the implicit psychological dimensions explicit, this study showed that technology facilitates people to deepen their self-awareness through recognizing deep-rooted values and appreciate character strengths from their MMEs.
The result of this study has multiple implications and contributions to the field of technology-mediated experience design and smart tourism innovation at the levels of empirical research, theory, and artifacts.
Date of Award21 Jul 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • School of Design
SupervisorKa Nin Chow (Chief supervisor), Cees J.P.M. de Bont (Chief supervisor) & Paul Hekkert (Chief supervisor)

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