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HiMoA

HiMoA

Class Project

HiMoA is a visiting app designed to be used in the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. It provides an all-in-one solution to various needs of museum visitors through the incorporation of AR technology.

My Role

End-to-end designer

Skills Used

UX research, UX design, UI design

Timeframe

August 2021 - December 2021

Team

Siman Ao, Abhinav Thukral, Zhoujun Sun

Inspiration
Inspiration
Inspiration
Inspiration

Museums are constantly challenged by problems of diversity, equity, and accessibility. Visitors sometimes feel excluded due to a museum's problematic way of information presentation. While a comprehensive solution requires a collective effort of several parties, I wish to contribute to these problems from the perspective of a human-centered researcher and designer. Can I design a system that helps visitors feel more engaged while visiting the High Museum of Art in Atlanta

Problem Statement

How could we help individual visitors (aged between 18-34 years old) without relevant art backgrounds to be more engaged in their visiting experience at the High Museum of Art during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Our Solution
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Provide Information in Demand

Provide Information in Demand

After the AR technology recognize the artwork that the user scanned, the user will have access to different types of information related to this artwork.

Comment, React and Interact

Users can comment on an artwork and check other users' comments. Users can also react to an artwork using the emoji on the right.

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Bookmarks and Notes

Users can bookmark artworks to save them for future reference. Users can also take note on artworks and access their notes afterwards.

Make and Share Postcards

Users can make postcards with artworks in the museum and share postcards with others.

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Generative Research

Research  —  Analysis

In order to better understand the user need of museum visitors, the group conducted a generative research. We utilized the following research methods to get closer to our users, and analyzed the results to assist future design. ​​

  • An on-site observation in the High Museum of Art

  • A secondary research through academic journals and High museum reviews

  • A comparative analysis of systems that help improve museum experiences

  • A survey with High museum visitors

  • 5 interviews with High museum visitors

  • 2 contextual inquiries with High museum visitors

On-site Observation

Research Goal

  • Understand what visitors do in the High museum

  • Explore the infrastructure of the High museum

Research Findings

  • Many wall labels only mentions the name and artist, thereby failing to provide detailed information about the artwork

  • Some wall labels are placed in places that are hard to recognize, causing visitors to struggle where to find the art-related information

  • Accompanied visitors would explain and share thoughts on artworks with each other

  • Some individual visitors would chat with strangers to discuss about artworks

  • The High museum does not provide audio equipments or tours during the pandemic, this prevents visitors from accessing many information 

Secondary Research

Research Goal

  • Understand why people go to museums

  • Understand what problems people have with the current museum experience

  • Check if there's any proposed solutions to this problem

Research Findings

Research Findings

  • People visit the museum for different reasons, the two prominent one being attending cultural and leisure activities

  • Museums generally failed to pay enough attention to the leisure aspect

  • High museum visitors are unsatisfied with the current service of the museum, in particular the lack of guidance in navigation and art-viewing

Comparative Analysis
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Survey

Research Goal

  • Understand how and why people visited the High museum

  • Understand how they performed during their visit

  • Explore visitors' feelings about the visit

Sample Questions

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  • 72% of respondents choose to read information from museum labels

  • 62% of respondents will search for information online

  • Most respondents use their phones to take photos/videos, share content on social media and search for art-related information during their visits

  • Most respondents visit the High museum for relaxation/meditation purposes

  • Visitors coming for socialization purposes prefer to view the artworks with others while visitors coming for educational purposes prefer to have a tour guide during their visit

Research Findings

Research Findings

Semi-Structured Interview

Research Goal

  • Understand how visitors perceive their visits

  • ​Understand the value of digital experiences during their visits

  • Explore what motivates visitors to go to the museum in greater depth

Sample Questions

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Contextual Inquiry

Sample Observation Guide

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  • Explore visitors' visiting styles and personal preferences

  • Check if visitors consult additional resource during their visits

  • ​Check what problems visitors encounter during their visits

Research Goal

Affinity Diagram

We produced an affinity diagram based on results from interviews and contextual inquiries.

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Summary of Research Findings

Visitors express a large interest, need, and reliance on the information provided by the museum, while the currently provided resources of information in the museum are inadequate to satisfy the users.

Visitors need refreshments and prefer to have interactive elements during their visits while the High Museum is lacking improvements on both.

Visitors need a way to collect visit-related information and material for future references and for socialization purposes.

Aside from appreciating artworks, many visitors visit the museum for relaxation and socialization purposes, and expect the experience to be more leisure rather than serious.

Iterative Design

Design — Feedback — Iteration

Research to Design

Ideate

Feedback

Wireframe

Feedback

Prototype

Usability Testing

3 Personas

3 Empathy Maps

1 Storyboard

4 Sketches

2 Sessions

3 Participants

2 Sessions

4 Participants

3 Expert Testings

5 User Testings

Personas and Empathy Maps

Based on the research, we created three personas and their corresponding empathy maps.

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Storyboard
Storyboard

We then brainstormed on our design and drew a storyboard for our initial idea.

Task: Checking for more information for an artwork

Persona: Jacob

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1. Jacob browsing through artworks at an exhibition

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2. An artwork catches the Jacob's eye and he pause to look

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3. Jacob tries to look at the label next to the artwork and finds minimum information

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4. Jacob wishes to know more background information about the artwork and the artist.

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5. Jacob pulls out his mobile phone to open the HiMoA app and tries to scan the artwork

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6. Jacob can see different kinds of information about the artwork pop up on his screen

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7. Jacob clicks a button to "note/record" this information for future reference.

7. Jacob clicks a button to "note/record" this information for future reference.

7. Jacob clicks a button to "note/record" this information for future reference.

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8. Jacob is happy and continues exploring the museum.

Sketches

To further develop our design ideas, we created 4 concepts with corresponding sketches.

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Sketches Feedback

We then ran 2 feedback sessions on our sketches and analyzed the results.

Findings

Participants show a preference for concept 1

Design Recommendations

emphasize concept 1

Participants show less interest and more confusion towards concept 3

Participants show a need for navigation between concepts and features

take off concept 3

design need to be more understandable and easy to use

Wireframe

Based on these findings, we refined our design and created a wireframe.

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Information on Demand

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Bookmark an Artwork

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Comment on an Artwork

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Create Diaries and Postcards

For the full document, check the Figma file below:

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Wireframe Feedback

We then conducted 2 feedback sessions on the wireframe. We analyzed the findings and came up with corresponding design recommendations. We addressed some of the findings by modifying the wireframe. Some key modifications are listed below.

Findings and Design Recommendations

Participants are confused about the dot on the note-taking icon

The system should use an alternative representation to indicate notes have been taken

Participants are confused about the difference between notes and comments for paintings

To reduce confusions, the system should use clear language to describe features

Participants are overwhelmed by collection lists

Rather than creating personalized lists to collect different artworks, the system should allow users to bookmark single artworks and offer easy search & sort through the bookmarked items

Modifications

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See below for the full list of findings. Issues that have been fixed after the first session are marked with green color in the table cell, changes made after the second session are marked with purple color. We tried to resolve the rest as we proceed to create our prototype.

See below for the full list of findings. Issues that have been fixed after the first session are marked with green color in the table cell, changes made after the second session are marked with purple color. We tried to resolve the rest as we proceed to create our prototype.

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Prototype

Feature 1: Providing Information​ on Demand

Research Finding:

Visitors express a large interest, need, and reliance on the information provided by the museum, while the currently provided resources of information in the museum are inadequate to satisfy the users.

Solution 

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Feature 2: Comment and Interact

Research Finding:

Aside from appreciating artworks, many visitors visit the museum for relaxation and socialization purposes, and expect the experience to be more leisure rather than serious.

Solution 

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Feature 3: Documentation

Research Finding:

Visitors need a way to collect visit-related information and material for future references and for socialization purposes.

Solution 

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Feature 4: Sharing

Research Finding:

Visitors need a way to collect visit-related information and material for future references and for socialization purposes.

Solution 

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For an annotated prototype, please check the Figma file below:

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Prototype Feedback

To evaluate the usability of our prototype, we conducted 8 feedback sessions with people from diverse backgrounds. We utilized various research methods for a comprehensive and valid result.

  • 3 expert testing with HCI professors and students

    • Heuristic evaluation​

  • 5 user testing with High museum visitors

    • Think aloud​

    • Semi-structured interviews

Findings and Design Recommendations

Modifications

Participant hardly realize that the yellow dots (info tags) are clickable

Make the info tags more prominent by adding a halo and animations

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Participants prefer constant access to the menu button

Make the menu button global

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Most participant express no interest in the diary function, and even for those that did, the diary function causes more confusion than benefit

Take off the diary function and make the bookmark function more powerful

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Participants are confused about how to start using our system

Add an onboarding to clarify how and when to use our system

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Our system should better help users recover from errors

Add a recently reviewed section so that it's easier to recover from accidentally closing the scanned page

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The system should improve on the visibility of status

Make the system's feedback to user actions more visible

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Our comments section is lacking user control, and the reaction animation appears confusing

Make all comments scrollable and turn floating emojis to fixed

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The system failed to present why related artworks are "related" and failed to meet participant's expectations on what's "related"

Explain why artworks are related and provide navigation guides for artworks exhibited in the High Museum of Art

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Participants are confused about the timeline section and did not express much interest in it

Take off the timeline section and make expert's comments more prominent

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View the Final Prototype

For better experience, you may also click here to explore!

Reflection

Even though we have made a lot of updates to the final prototype, there are still aspects to work on:

  • The sharing function shall be further developed as our participants express need in sharing bookmarks and notes in addition to postcards

  • The system should provide more concise information by categorizing artworks  so that users can quickly catch a glimpse of the artwork they scanned

  • The system should contain a museum map as our participants want help in navigation

  • The system should give more consideration to the moderation of comments as participants express concerns about the comments' quality 

Aside from these issues, it is also worthy noting that this project is built based on a key assumption: all the information we designed to contain in this app is accessible. In the current museum setting, however, visitors sometimes struggle to find art-related information because the museum does not provide it.

 

Therefore, although a good design is important in resolving problems in museum practices, a practical and successful solution requires the collaborations of different parties. Designers do not work alone, we work with a group of people to make impactful products that make people's lives more enjoyable.