Designing historically informed soundscapes for the augmentation of modern travel-guides: Challenges and compromises
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The design of immersive soundscape experiences, both for artistic and informative purposes, is an established field in Auditory Display. This paper describes the process of designing historically informed soundscapes to be incorporated in modern travel-guide applications. The work stems from the research project TRACCE (TRavelogue with Augmented Cultural & Contemporary Experience), which focuses on the design and development of a platform for augmented cultural routes. Using this platform, hikers can follow the journey of 18th and 19th century travelers, having access to the original travelogues, tracked routes, and a wide variety of modern information. User experience is augmented by means of visual and auditory reconstructions of the original surrounding environments in several identified points of interest in each path. Apart from the creative process and technical details, the paper discusses the design challenges, which mainly stem from a) the limited data available which would allow an accurate and convincing reconstruction of the acoustic environments, b) the need for diverse auditory displays which would grasp the users' attention, and c) the difficulty in designing soundscapes which would be interesting, appropriate, and informative for a wide audience of various age groups, educational backgrounds, and sensory abilities.