We want more design, Atlanta.
MODA (Museum of Design Atlanta) is located in the heart of Atlanta. The museum advocates design in all varieties, from designing how to wear technology to designing how you eat!
MODA's Mission: "...to advance the understanding and appreciation of design as the convergence of creativity and functionality through exhibitions, education, and programming for visitors of all ages."
For our team project, MODA had a clear business requirement: MODA wanted a mobile application that would inspire design thinking and learning. The mobile application would also provide users with information about the museum.
Along with designing a mobile application, this project also gave us the opportunity to design for an additional interface to help us better understand the "mobile first" concept and also the importance of lean design. For this reason, my team and I decided to design the Apple Watch prototype along with the iPhone experience.
Once we understood what MODA had conveyed to us on paper regarding this project, my team and I decided to visit MODA and talk to a few museum go-ers ourselves to begin our research!
As we talked to MODA visitors and also sent out a survey to capture data from a larger user base, we began to design the experiences that would be integrated in our MODA mobile application.
What do our survey results say?
Based on our survey responses, my team and I determined that most museum visitors do not prefer or do not use a museum's mobile application before and/or while attending a museum. For those who do utilize museum apps, users want an app that could help them understand the museum better, whether it be through an audio guide, a way to reach out to museum employees, or some way to access curated museum content so that visitors can get the most out of their museum trips..
Team concerns turned into unconventional thinking!
After doing research from every angle about the museum culture and talking to several people, my team and I began to determine some of our own pain points, which we would have to overcome while also fulfilling our client's needs for their mobile app.
Below are some of the concerns my team and I expressed as we wrapped up the research phase of our project:
The MODA venue was very small, and it did not display as many exhibits as were expected, based on the MODA website.
It seemed that not many users visited MODA regularly. The website itself advertises its potential to hold events more than it promotes its exhibits.
Based on our survey results, most users find out about museums through peers and social media. They rarely download a museum's app to navigate through the venue and learn about the exhibits.
The Pivot in our Design
Although we had these concerns, my team and I thought out of the box to truly understand and effectively address MODA's provided business requirement: inspire design thinking and learning. How can we translate this into an app experience?
Aha! We got it! For some tike during the project, my team and I were thinking about how to promote MODA and invite more people to visit the museum. But MODA's ask to inspire design thinking and learning had more to it. It was goal that could be fulfilled outside the museum, but also can be advocated by the MODA app experience. Learning and design thinking are concepts that can be applied anywhere, like outside of the 4 walls of MODA...like into the city!
Our Pivot: Designing a mobile experience to inspire users to think and learn about design in different parts of the city of Atlanta and provide exposure to how MODA is showcasing curated design content.
What are other museums doing?
Along with getting to know our existent and potential users, it was very important to understand where the museum culture was when it came to mobile apps and how much of a part it played in the amount of visitors they received. For this reason, we conducted comparative and competitive business analyses.
NOTE: Gray text boxes indicate areas of opportunity to differentiate our MODA app from competitors.
As we determined the main focus of our project, we worked towards creating our personas.
Our first persona is considered the learner persona because as we researched, we came to see that many museum goers or those who take an interest in the museum culture are mostly students who visit museums due to assignments or for independent learning.
Our second persona is considered to be the educator/teacher persona because we saw that museums serve as a great resource to educators who are always looking for teaching material as well as seeking opportunities for their students to experience the topics taught in a more interactive manner.
Once we had our personas and user research ready, we began the process of sketching out what components the MODA mobile application would have. As a team, we came to the drawing board with several different ideas, so it was very important that we had the opportunity to sketch out our concepts out, bring in preliminary users for feedback, and come together to decide which aspect of our ideas would be best for the MODA museum app.
My Contribution to Sketching:
Below are some of the sketches I created to visualize the aspects I thought would be great for MODA visitors to interact with.
In my sketches, the following aspects are present:
- A "My MODA" screen where users can share their own MODA experience with others by writing a caption and using a trending MODA hashtag.
- An audio tour capability to select which part of the museum the user would like to learn about
- A screen that displays programs and events that are being held at MODA, which can be of interest to visitors
- Featured exhibits and a way to plan your visit, and donate to the museum
THE MODA User's Happy Paths (User Flows)
After we developed our personas and sketched out low fidelity wireframes of our thought process, my team and I began to work on our user flow. At first glance, creating the user flow after sketching out initial wireframe designs may seem out of place, but this was the the ideal time for my team and I to create the user flow.
After sketching out our ideas and discussing through them, we began to understand in more depth what MODA wanted their users to experience within their mobile application. We also had the chance to address our pivot in our design, which were addressed in the "Team Project Concerns" within "THE RESEARCH" section of this case study. After designing our ideal user flows, or happy paths for the project, we began to translate our sketches into more high fidelity wireframes. Here are our happy paths for the MVP version of the MODA App. The boxes that are pink highlight these paths in the overall user flow.
After our sketches were presented to each other, my team and I had the opportunity to discuss which aspects from our sketches would be best to include in our final MODA mobile application. My team and I did a very good job of discussing and understanding each other's ideas and thoughts by presenting our sketches to each other.
This activity of discussing and coming up with a consolidated solution together really helped us come together and create a great app that fulfilled MODA's requirement and served as a great presentation to our class. Below are the annotated wireframes for the mobile application as well as the Apple Watch interface. The annotated wireframes show the screens that would be seen based on which happy path the user decides to take in the MODA App.
MODA Home Screen
1- Profile Account is visible after logging into app from Social Media path (Assume: User is logged in)
2- User can call MODA or check museum hours for the day
3- Global Navigation:
MODA Feed- home
Discover MODA- museum details
Explore Design- MODA curated design locales
Discover MODA Screen
1- Learn about who is MODA and what museum does.
2- Read a summary of current, past, and upcoming exhibitions at MODA.
3- When at the museum, user can take an audio tour via their MODA app.
4- User can learn about exhibited designers and how they successfully showcased their work at MODA.
5- User can explore different programs and events that are held at MODA.
6- User can see museum entry costs, and a more detailed view of hours and who to contact for questions.
Happy Path 1: Taking an Audio Tour
1- Select which exhibit you are viewing at MODA
2- Enter exhibit item code to listen to an audio tour of a certain exhibit
3- Begin audio track for exhibit item
4- Standard functions when listening to audio on mobile (play, pause, forward, rewind). User can can also adjust the volume and also rate the audio tour so the curators can improve the experience
5- User can begin another tour at any time
Happy Path 2: View Exhibited Designers
1- Select preferred exhibit designers based on time of exhibit
2- Select name of exhibit to view preferred designers
3- User can read about the designer and their MODA journey and also navigate back to the Exhibited Designers main page to explore more designers
Happy Path 3: Explore Design in Atlanta
1- Select Category of Design the user would like to explore
2- Select Venue of Design the user wants to learn about and possibly visit
3- User can favorite this design location to save in their profile preferences
4- User can also visit the venue's website, contact the venue, or even plan a visit to explore more design
Apple Watch: Audio Tour Capability
Since the Apple Watch requires for an even more lean design, my team and I decided that the Apple Watch would have only the capability of providing audio tours, since our user feedback showed that users do not like to constantly look down at their Apple Watches while exploring design within or outside MODA.
1- Select which audio tour the user would like to take while inside MODA
2- Standard playing options (play, pause, rewind, forward) to navigate within the within audio tour
3- User can return to main page to browse other audio tours
Mobile and Apple Watch Prototypes
The prototype on the mobile interface shows the happy path of viewing MODA's exhibited designers.
THE USER TESTING
"Discover MODA needs to be more visible."
"I need more navigation features."
"The text is difficult to read."
Our MODA team had three members, including myself, and it was a very good experience working with my teammates since we all came to the table with different but very strong skill sets. Being in the Project Manager and UX Designer role within the project, I got the opportunity to learn about the process it takes to manage the team, the project, and the overall timeline to complete the project.
The Skills and Tools I learned and applied in the project:
- Project Management
- Content Strategy
- Competitive Research
- Persona Development
THE NEXT STEPS
- Social sharing and developing design conversation within the app
- Exploring watch capabilities while also keeping in mind lean design
- Expand on accessibility and offer more languages in the audio tour capability