Mmap

Museum Experience Reimagined
A phone with an example webpage opened

TEAM

4 designers

TIME

2 weeks

MY ROLE

I primarily focused on building the low and high-fidelity wireframes, but I also collaborated on user research, design development, and testing with the team.

THE PROBLEM

According to the National Endowment for the Arts,
attendance at art museums dropped 16.8 percent in the past 15 years

OBJECTIVE

How can we redesign the museum experience using existing technology?

PROCESS OVERVIEW

User research

After doing quantitative research online, we wanted to conduct personal interviews with museum-goers. Due to our tight time constraints and our access to the RISD museum, we decided to interview the people there.
“There are so many pieces I don’t know where to start.”
— Tourist
“It doesn’t leave an impression on me after I leave the museum.”
— Student
“I am not a docent.”
— Security guard
“We are trying to regain interest from the public.”
— Museum staff
From the interviews, we identified two major painpoints and opportunities.

persona

Our research highlights an opportunity to improve the experience for people with limited art backgrounds. We then created a proto-persona to help us better understand the user journey and goals.

WHO

High school student visiting New York and its famous museums with their parents

GOAL

Have fun and gain knowledge while traveling (and share on social media?)

ACTIONS

Rushing through all the pieces because they spent $20 on the ticket, but many of the artworks don’t align with their interest. They don’t understand what they are viewing, and the museum placards take too long to read, which gets tiring fast.

IDEATION

With our objective, research insights, and user pain point in mind, we sketched out quick ideas on our own. We then came together to discuss and consolidate our concept.
white boarding discussion
Converging our ideas
Is it a design session without sticky notes?
Whiteboarding session

INITIAL CONCEPT VALIDATION

We decided to carry out a scavenger hunt-style game, and we tested if our idea was valid with a quick paper prototype. The experience includes a series of hints that guides the user to a specific piece in the museum and teaches them about the artwork’s background.
Found it!
User interacting with paper prototype
From the test, we learned that people were excited about a game-like experience, and they felt rewarded after completing the task. However, we noticed that people were trying to find the artwork by viewing as few hints as possible (which is not what we want. We want people to read and learn). We speculate that people’s mental models associate “more hints” with less accomplishment, and we continued our process with the insights in mind.

FLOW / INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE

We first created a simple flow map, and we continuously updated it as we worked through the project. Our design grew a lot more from where we started.

LOW-FIDELITY PROTOTYPE

We quickly put together low-fidelity wires and mocked up three different ways ( art “Tindr,” gallery, and bubbles view) to help determine the user’s interest, which we would use to create a personalized tour.

We tested the three and moved forward with the listed gallery view because it provided a variety of options without introducing significant bias.

ANOTHER ITERATION

We delved into more details of the rest of the flow while also exploring some visual treatment. We also focused on breaking up and delivering the artwork’s information to the users, and conducted usability tests with the different design treatments.

STYLEGUIDE

We created a simple style guide to help multiple designers work together. We went with a “dark mode” approach because it works better in a museum setting where artworks are sensitive to bright lights.

THE FINAL EXPERIENCE

1

WAITING IN LINE?

While waiting, visitors scan a QR code to start the experience in their browser (because no-one likes downloading another app)
2

PERSONALIZATION

Users first select multiple artworks they like, then the system plans out a personalized route aligning with the users’ interests.
3

INFORMATIONAL CARDS

Visitors can flip through the cards to find informational clues that will guide them to the next artwork.
4

MAP

A little lost? A map is also available to guide visitors to the proximity of the artwork.
5

SUCCESS!

Users use their cameras to confirm that they have found the artwork. They can now read more about the piece and learn about relevant works within the museum.

PAUSE?

Since the museum offers so much to see, visitors are prompted to take a break and check out the surrounding after they have found a few pieces.

FUTURE DIRECTIONS

We presented the final product to the RISD Museum directors, who were very interested in the personalization features we offered. We also discussed our possible next steps and future visions.
Other users:
How would the experience differ for other types of users? i.e. when the users are more knowledgeable about arts.
Rewards:
Can the experience offer rewards such as free admission or gift shop discounts?
“My journey”:
Users can view their past found artworks. We can also make suggestions on exhibitions and museums based on their interest.
Artwork by @duckliving

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