Path: Virtual Art Museum

JANUARY 2021 - MARCH 2021

Lead Researcher

Application

Design Sprint

Art Museums

About

In my User Interface Design II class, our project was to think about a physical space and replicate it digitally using the Sprint framework developed by Google Ventures and written about by Jake Knapp. In my team, I was the interaction designer and researcher.
For this project, we decided to see how we could augment the experience of walking through an art museum digitally.

Challenges: Because of COVID-19, we held all of our team meetings, user interviews, and class sessions on Microsoft Teams.

Design Sprint

Jake Knapp's Design Sprint Graphic

Research

We interviewed five participants to get an understanding of their overall museum experience. I facilitated these interviews. We found that 3 out of 5 participants preferred to visit the museum alone or have as little interaction with others as possible. Another research insight we found was that 3 out of 5 participants would go through the museum’s curated path and the other two participants would make their own path by visiting specific sections of the museum. 60% of participants visited art museums frequently. 60% of participants discovered art museums through social media while 20% of participants discovered art museums through friends and poster advertisements.

Map of the Problem

After our research insights, we created a map of our problem space that illustrates our end goal of a successful art museum walkthrough. The map of the problem is a visual aid to represent users moving throughout a space or product. The map includes actors that represent the main characters that are present throughout the space. We decided on three actors: the main visitor, curator, and other visitors that are present in the museum. The main visitor sees an ad, visits the museum, either follows the museum’s curated path or makes their own path, interacts with the exhibit, and finally buys a souvenir or considers a membership. The curator will interact with the main visitor by distributing pamphlets, answering questions, and recommending pathways. Other art museum visitors may want to discuss artworks with the main visitor.

Map of the Problem

Pain Points

We were able to pinpoint three areas on our map that users tend to experience issues. The pain points we discovered were mostly about costs and socialization.  For instance, participants wanted little to no interaction with other people when viewing artwork. To avoid talking to a curator, they collected brochures and relied on them for any information. Participants also wanted to view artworks alone without discussing with other visitors. Their justification for this was that it was too distracting to talk and look at artworks.  They said it took away from their experience.They also did not want to be influenced by the opinions of other visitors when viewing art. Another pain point we found was that participants wanted their museum expenses to be affordable. They would only consider buying souvenirs or subscribing to a membership if it was in their price range. Moving forward, we focused on creating a digital experience that addresses these pain points and user goals.

Pain Points

How Might We?

The next step in the design Sprint was to create our How Might We statements (HMW) based on the pain points we highlighted in the map. As a team, we all created several HMW statements. We then placed them on a scale from high user need to low user need. After sorting out these statements, we decided that creating a self-led experience at the museum was highest in user need.  We then took our HMW statements and placed them on a 2x2 graph adding low to high feasibility to our high and low user need scale. By the end of this activity, we concluded that our focus HMW statement would be “HMW create an experience that is self-led”.

Design Critique Art Museum

We sketched out how we thought our HMW statement looked andthen created a low-fidelity storyboard that would be critiqued. We dot voted on the aspects we liked the most and our decider, Katie, made the final decision. She ended up choosing two aspects from her story board and two from my storyboard. Both my storyboard and Katie’s storyboard gave users the option to take a quiz. This would give users a self-led experience. My storyboard highlighted a way for users to view art in more detail and provided a description for users to read. Katie and I had an artist profile page on our storyboards. We wanted to include that as well. We thought these three parts of our storyboards could successfully show a self-led art viewing experience. With our low and high fidelity wireframes completed, we were able to conduct usability tests.

Storyboard

User Testing

For our user testing, we decided to go with the risky assumption route, instead of the goal-based route when creating our prototype. We wanted to make sure that the quiz was designed well, since it was the focus of our app that would lead to a successful self-led art museum experience. We made a six question quiz on Google Forms that showed two pieces of art side by side. Users had the option to choose one of two artworks. The art varied in medium, style, and subject. We asked our five participants to use the think aloud protocol while taking the quiz to understand why they made the choices they did.

Museum Quiz

At the end of the quiz, all of the participants expressed that they enjoyed taking the quiz and wanted more questions. They suggested we add more questions because they felt the results wouldn’t accurately represent the type of art they enjoy viewing. They also wanted to see a wider variety of art media and other cultures in the quiz. Their final suggestion for the app was to consider implementing a tag system where users could choose their preferred artwork and choose keywords that described what they liked about each artwork.

Conclusion

Path is a product that I am very proud of considering the time we had and the various limitations due to COVID-19. This was my first time following the Design Sprint process. The team worked efficiently to map out our problem space and figure out what exactly our users want to get out of a visit to an art museum. I enjoyed this process. A particular skill I worked on during this project was prototyping at a faster speed than I'm normally used to. It was very different building a part of a prototype versus creating the whole thing. This project was very fast paced and I'm glad to have worked with a very communicative and hardworking team.

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