My Role: Lead Designer, UX Researcher
- Mobile Design
- Sketch App
- Adobe Photoshop
- Adobe Illustrator
- Marvel App
- Team-Based Collaboration (Agile)
My Role: Lead Designer, UX Researcher
Now with a general idea of what the average museum-goer's habits were like, I tailored some of the secondary survey questions to be geared toward current visitors of the actual museum. I expanded upon our initial set of questions, went into more detail, and took a trip to the museum with my team to interview actual potential users about their museum experience.
• What brought them to the museum that day?
• What was their plan (or lack thereof) for navigating through the exhibits?
• For users who had children with them— did they feel their children had enough activities to keep them fully engaged throughout their visit?
• What was their favorite part?
Interviewing various museum-goers led us to the direction we knew we needed to take with our app. We talked to and interviewed 18 visitors total, and through interviewing actual museum visitors, gained some insights we hadn't fully considered before. Even visitors who didn’t have children said that educating children was and should continue to be one of the primary missions of the museum.
I asked one museum-goer, an elderly photographer on a leisurely visit, which direction he thought the museum was taking with its new programs and exhibits, and what his thoughts were on this app idea. He pointed at a child looking through the glass at the mammal exhibit and said, "That's your target audience right there."
Through conducting a business analysis, I learned that the Smithsonian does place a lot of emphasis and focus on research and education, and they have a wealth of activities that are geared toward children— fellowships, games, internships, and other educational activities. The business analysis was an integral part of my team's research and design process; we wanted to not only speak to the Natural History Museum's general audience, but also create something that fit the overall brand and message of the Smithsonian.
I also conducted a competitive analysis to take a comprehensive look at what other museums out there were doing, e.g. whether they had a mobile app specific to the museum and, if so, what features they included therein; activities they offered at the museum, whether there were kid-friendly exhibits and programs, etc. I wanted to see not only what was offered, but take a closer look and find out what was working and what wasn't. I wanted to integrate the features my team and I felt were positive and effective into our own app, and come up with something innovative that would set this new app apart.
My team and I then put our heads together to come up with a sitemap and main user flows .
This process helped us all come together, brainstorm rapidly, critique and give feedback to each other's ideas, and come to a conclusion about which features and flows we wanted to focus on specifically. We took the best attributes from each person's ideas and melded them into several main features. This was an excellent team-building exercise and we learned that several heads are often better than one when attempting to focus, ideate, and innovate.
After the Design Studio came sketching and wireframing. We started out by sketching out some possible screens based on the main user flows and features we had agreed upon.
After building out the clickable prototype, my team went back to the museum to do some user testing on our targeted app users. We conducted 5 user tests, mostly on kids, to see how they navigated the app.
The first iteration illustrated here occurs on the topic interests page. We realized through user testing that we had not provided an intuitive way for the user to continue to navigate forward in the app.
The AR feature was updated to bring the exhibit to life as the user walked around, augmenting their reality, providing interesting facts about the exhibit and encouraging the user to collect stamps for their personal "passport" (user profile) and “level up" as they navigated through the museum exhibits.
Children especially responded well to the dinosaur "skin" feature; it felt like a video game, and they enjoyed the idea of tapping on parts of a skeleton's "skin" to learn facts about that animal (e.g. the triceratops's horns).
Through testing the prototype on actual potential users, we were able to discern which particular areas we needed to improve on, and also see which features excited users. Parents and young adults in particular got excited about the customized-trip-planner feature, as they felt the museum's layout wasn't "intuitive" and they would benefit from an app that could help them navigate more clearly to exhibits of interest. Most users didn't plan their trip beforehand, for various reasons— one user said, "I'm not very good at planning things."
- One user's feedback about the dinosaur exhibit's AR feature
- Question from an excited museum-goer