LACMA Integrated Experience
Designing an integrated experience at LACMA
How can technology support museum visitors before, during, and after their visit?
4 weeks execution time
User-Centered Design Course
Chris - UX Designer/Researcher
Jimit - UX Designer
Lynda - UX Designer
Most museum companion apps are designed for use during the museum visit. We wanted to explore how technology can also support museum visitors before and after their visit.
A mobile app for LACMA visitors which can be used before, during, and after their visit for a fully integrated experience.
Our mobile app design allowed our users to effectively perform tasks. Most importantly, our design addressed user pain points we discovered from our contextual inquiry.
We wanted to explore how technology can support a fully integrated experience at a museum like LACMA, one of the most visited museums in the world. Our design, the LACMA Integrated Experience, aims to support visitors before, during, and after their visit.
In order to understand areas where visitor need support, we needed to understand our users: museum visitors. We conducted a contextual inquiry where we spoke to museum visitors to understand how they visit museums and where they encounter issues. Our users could be categorized into two groups: novices, who visit a museum two or fewer times a year or experts, who visit a museum three or more times a year.
Our inquiry revealed some key insights, such as that novices are more likely to visit museums in groups of three or more people compared to experts. Additionally, we found that experts tend to be more strategic when visiting a museum, first visiting displays of interests and then exploring the rest of the museum.
Modelling & Requirements
We created models for our two users classes based on our insights. The models included personas, use case scenarios (before, during, and after a visit), and conceptual model diagrams. These models helped us to define user requirements for our system, a mobile app.
Christine Copperfield, 38
Education: Masters in Marketing
Quote: "Arts education is important; culture feeds the soul."
Familiarity with technology:
- Regularly uses desktop creative software at her work to create marketing materials
- Primarily uses her phone for picture, social media, and calls
Goals and Motivations
- Wants to find information about limited time exhibitions
- Wants to find in-depth information about specific artifacts in the museum
- Wants to support LACMA and the arts community through donations, membership, or purchases
Frustrations and Pain Points
- Loves visiting the museum, but hates going back and forth between buildings to find specific artifacts or artists
- Disappointed whenever an information placard is sparse
- Having to learn new mobile apps that are not social media (marketing) based
Design & Prototyping
We created a card sort survey to understand how users would categorize elements from our conceptual model diagram. The results of our card sort informed our navigation map, which in turn informed our prototypes. We also took care to address our discovered insights in our designs.
We evaluated our clickable prototypes with think-aloud user testing. Our testers were given the same set of tasks to perform. Through the evaluation, we collected data which included the time to complete a task and the types of errors when completing a task. We ended our test sessions with a debrief to get user feedback on our design.
"I really like that you can see what's in the gift shop for this artist" - Martha, User Tester
Overall, our testers were able to complete their tasks. However, some testers had difficulty finding navigating to their cart while others had trouble distinguishing the "Map" feature from the "Map Route" feature.
The LACMA Integrated Experience is a mobile app which supports users before, during, and after their visit. Before their visit, users can plan their visit, by adding exhibits of interest to their "Must See List." During the visit, users can use the app to follow the optimal path to see all the items on their "Must See List." Users can also use the app to reveal more information about an artifact and favorite an item. After their visit, users can review their favorited items and order related items to their favorite works from the LACMA gift shop.
The outcome of our design process was a mobile app which supports many of the pain points we discovered during our contextual inquiry. Future iterations of the design would improve upon the app, especially in the problem areas we identified with our evaluation.
Overall, I believe that our design process reflected a user-centered approach, since many of our design decisions were driven by our user research. I think that with future work, the LACMA Integrated Experience could be successful, since it includes features our research revealed museum visitors want but do not currently exist in the actual LACMA mobile app.
Our work was conducted as a remote team, which made it somewhat difficult to coordinate our design efforts. Despite this, I believe we uncovered valuable insights that are useful not only in the case of LACMA, but art musuems in general.