This was a 10 week UX design course project created in collaboration with my three wonderful teammates: Vishaka Nirmal, Annie Xia, and Alex Banh. Together, we designed a tablet-based app that enables a more engaged and memorable experience for museum visitors of all backgrounds. My primary roles were in User Research and UX Design.
How can museums be better?
Try to think of the last time you visited a museum. Do you remember your favorite parts? For my team and I, we struggled with remembering the details of our last museum visit, and wanted to further explore this problem. Hence began the Experience Museum Project, which we designed based on insights from user research and usability tests.
Experience Museum Project enhances the art museum experience for visitors of all backgrounds. Visitors can interactively access exhibit information, take notes and pictures, and connect with other visitors to form lasting memories.
Pictured above is me taking notes while people-watching at the Seattle Art Museum.
So, what exactly are the problems?
We each conducted a semi-structured interview to understand who we are designing for. We also visited the Seattle Art Museum to do fly-on-the-wall observation and conducted competitive analysis with related products such as the Cooper-Hewitt Pen, the Henry Art Gallery interactive exhibits, the Louvre’s Nintendo 3DS guide, and Smartify.
Using interviews and observations, we created a persona to guide our design direction.
A journey map of Isabelle's museum visit helped us hone in on frustrating situations that might occur in the museum experience.
The above images are visual representations of our user research in the form of a persona (Isabelle) and a user journey map (Isabelle's experience).
Making sense of our findings
Synthesizing our research allowed us to determine several design requirements.
A storyboard I sketched out. For this, I tried to think outside the normal form factor of a screen-based experience. Instead, I thought about a wrist watch that I could keep on my hand that would track exhibits I visit and enjoy.
Mapping out the architecture
We moved onto imagining the interface design and decided on a pen and tablet combo. The pen could be used to scan bar codes associated with artwork to encourage physical engagement with the museum exhibits. After deciding our interface design, we diagrammed the information architecture of our product by closely referencing our design requirements.
A diagram of the information architecture. We designed this directly based on user research insights and our design requirements.
Now, onto the designing! We created a paper prototype based on the information architecture. This was by far, my favorite part. Using Exacto knives, hot glue guns, piles of cardboard, and a plethora of craft supplies, we brought our prototype to life.
Using the prototype, we conducted usability tests through contextual inquiry. By asking participants to think-aloud while completing several tasks with minimal instruction, we identified many issues to fix in our interface design and user flow.
After collecting and analyzing our critique, we moved onto creating high-fidelity samples of our product. To challenge myself, I took some time to evaluate and create my own frames using Figma.
Add A Friend
Visiting a museum with a friend? Sometimes, it's nice to be able to explore the museum on your own for a little bit and meet up with your friends or family at certain points. By adding a friend to your map, you can see where your friends are in their journey and decide on exhibits to meet up in.
Users can find the artwork that is most relevant to them in the explore page. If they can't find a specific piece they were looking for, they have the option to search for the piece in the search bar. This page is curated with artwork personalized to you based on your preferences in the onboarding process, and also takes into account what you have favorited during your journey.
Learn and Engage
This page appears when users click on an artwork in the Explore page. This page expands the image of the artwork and offers a brief history on the art piece. They can also tap on the pen icon to use their pen to write a personal reflection or sketch about the artwork.
If I were to work on this project again, I would want to conduct more usability tests to validate design decisions, create a more consistent visual design language, and explore ways to incorporate AR/VR technology to make EMP an even more immersive experience.
This was one of the most time-consuming classes (so many meetings!) I've ever taken, but I came out of it learning so much about user-centered design, thanks to an incredibly AMAZING team. 😎