Published: March 15, 2001.
Providing Personal Assistance in the SAGRES Virtual Museum
Session: Seeing Differently
The SAGRES system is an educational environment built on the Web that facilitates the organization of visits to museums, presenting museum information bases in a way adapted to the user’s characteristics (capacities and preferences). The system determines the group of links appropriate to the user(s) and shows them in a resultant HTML page. In addition, SAGRES enables cooperative learning by supporting interaction among users and also among members of groups of users.
Users in SAGRES are aided by personal assistants that are software agents, whose purpose is to monitor the visitors’ actions, helping them during the navigation. Considering studies in human-computer interaction (Ball et al, 1997) (Koda, 1996) and aiming to provide a friendlier interface for the SAGRES system, the agents have a graphical representation as animate characters. These characters improvise a group of behaviours similar to human behaviours (happiness, satisfaction and vibration), making the interaction more attractive.
In order to evaluate the user's degree of satisfaction with the agents, we developed a questionnaire and obtained some favorable results. This system is developed in the Museu de Ciências e Tecnologia (MCT) at Pontificia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS), Porto Alegre, Brazil.