This was a course project where we designed an app that enables a more memorable experience.
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.
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.
So, what 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.
Making sense of our findings.
Synthesizing our research allowed us to determine several design requirements.
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.
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.
Using our research findings, I storyboarded a concept of a solution involving a smart watch that would help users find and remember their favorite exhibits.
Some of the wireframes I sketched out to kickstart the design phase.
Experience Museum Project
I took some time to redesign and prototype my own screens by incorporating our original research findings and design requirements.
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.
Validate with more people
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 class was my first formal exposure to the user-centered design process, and is a huge reason why I decided I wanted to pursue design as a career. Although I didn't know any of my teammates prior to this class, they've since become incredibly close friends. I had so much fun completing this project, especially all the late nights working alongside my team. I'm certain our great team dynamic was crucial to the success of this project –– I'm excited for future projects where I can similarly creatively collaborate while having a blast with my teammates.