Conceptual Framework for On-site Digital Interpretation Developments in Cultural Heritage Sites
On-site heritage interpretation plays a vital role in cultural heritage sites in conveying the significance and multiple heritage values to the visitors. In an era where the world is transforming with innovative digital applications, the heritage sites are also being integrated with digital interpretation techniques to deliver a better interpretation and new dimensional experience to the visitors. Though multiple digital solutions are available, not all the techniques are appropriate, applicable and feasible to every site. Besides, neither proper worldwide principles nor framework has been exerted for these digital heritage interpretation developments. Therefore, this study is focused on building a generic conceptual framework to select the most appropriate digital interpretation technique(s) that fit the context of the heritage site, giving special reference to the six Cultural World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka. The relevant qualitative and quantitative data were gathered via in-depth interviews, field observation, literature survey and a visitor survey questionnaire. The main themes and sub-themes derived through the thematic analysis were adopted as the theoretical framework for the research to analyze the collected data of the six Cultural World Heritage Sites and the selected digital techniques. Based on the results, the study recommends appropriate digital techniques for each Cultural World Heritage Sites of the country. Further as aimed, the study presents a conceptual framework for on-site digital interpretation developments for cultural heritage sites by categorizing the 24 criteria derived for data analysis under five phases namely ‘Prepare’, ‘Assess’, ‘Design’, ‘Implement’ and ‘Sustain’.