Project 3 UXDI General Assembly London: Designing for the lost in V&A Museum

A 2-week sprint with a team: Timi, Valeria, Rebecca & myself. We researched extensively on both markets & users and worked towards a high-fidelity prototype that can effectively solve the pain points & frustrations of the V&A visitors. We identified key opportunities and designed a hybrid app to make visiting the V&A an easy & engaging experience

Cellyn Tan
May 28, 2017 · 6 min read

UX Techniques
Market Research (feature analysis, contextual inquiry), User research (guerilla testing, interviews, surveys), affinity mapping, empathy maps, user flows, task analysis, sketching and prototyping

Sharpies, whiteboard markers, lots of colourful post-its. Invision & Sketch.

Client Objectives
Make the experience of visiting V&A easy & engaging for the visitors

A little about the brand
V&A Museum in London is the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design. It houses a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects with a great diversity from architecture, fashion, ceramics and so much more.

Competitive Analysis: Market Research
We looked at a few other fellow museums in the same space such as Tate Modern, Design Museum, British Museum, National Gallery and other must-visits such as London Dungeon and Royal Buckingham Palace.

Our feature analysis spreadsheet we worked on

Some interesting key findings from this was:
1) Most have maps, if not downloadable PDFs that can be easily accessed from the website
2) Visitors can easily access “What’s On” on their websites.
3) They all have some kind of guided tours available for visitors to book for their visits.

User Research: Interviews
One of the primary research method we used extensively for our user research is conducting interviews. We found interesting insights that lead us closer to the issue/opportunity for this project brief.

Some of my key findings from the interviews

User Research: Contextual Inquiry
We decided to go do some guerilla testing at V&A Museum as part of my site visit. We prepared some questions to discover some of the major frustrations and motivations in their museum-going experiences.

Some of the responses we’ve got

With that in mind, we also created some screeners questions to look for qualified and suitable users for our project which includes questions such as “What excites you to go to the museum?” “How do you usually find new exhibitions/museums to visit?”

Some key findings that we gathered:

1. Going to the museum is a social activity (enjoying time with friends & family)

2. They go to the museum’s website to mainly look for location and opening hours

3. Some main reasons for people to visit a museum is to be inspired, and to learn about something new.

At the end, we mapped out a affinity map with all our findings from interviews, surveys and contextual inquiries and got a good idea on how we should framed the problem/opportunity.

A short snippet of our affinity map

Some questions we defined at the half-way point of the double diamond methodology:

How can we better guide our users navigating the museum?

How can we create ease in our visitors’ museum-going experiences?

How can we better assist visitors’ engagement in the museum?

User Research: Personas
From all our interviews, we each have an idea of a proto-persona in mind. With discussion, there’re overlaps in our proto-personas such as:

Some common qualities with our proto-personas

With these characteristics in mind, we created an empathy map and crafted our primary persona — Vanessa.

Primary Persona, Vanessa

User Journey: User Scenario & Task Analysis
Pooling all our user insights & research, we gathered enough input to map out a current experience on a based scenario. From our first iteration, we expanded on the ‘navigation part’ of the journey — as our research and interviews pointed out the frustrations in getting their way around the museum.

Vanessa is planning a hen-do for a friend on the third weekend in June. She looks for interesting events in Time Out.

Drawing an experience map (left) • Focus in on the Navigation part of the journey (right)

Feature Prioritisation
We also looked at features to be included in our solution as a MVP (Minimum Viable Product) with a Moscow Method.

Must-haves included:
Interactive Mobile Map
What’s On
Services, Facilities & Amenities,
Quick Search

Should-haves included:
Social Media Interaction
Crowd Sensors
Plan Your Visit
Personal Passport or Scavenger Hunt
Push Notifications

Idea Generation: Design Studio
The team conducted a design studio, focusing on the domain ‘Navigation’ for our app. These are some ideas that popped up that we all liked and brought forward.

Idea Generation: Whiteboard Sketching
With the design studio features in mind, we stepped back and detailed out tasks that Vanessa will attempt to accomplish based on the scenario. The task analysis details:

From these, we gathered 4 areas that we will work on:
1. Getting from place to place (Navigation)
2. Finding amenities e.g. toilet (Navigation)
3. See if anything’s missed (Content)
4. Getting everybody together (Social Engagement)

Whiteboard Sketching

We put up our user flow on the board and sketched our paper prototypes and re-iterated them again. We then uploaded our paper prototypes onto Marvel and planned to go for guerilla testing at museums.

Our Paper Prototype Flow
Testing our paper prototype at museums

Some findings we gathered from testing:

  1. They will need to see where they are located (user location)
  2. There are two separate screens for overview map & exhibition maps
  3. Would like to see events tailored to my preferences
  4. Users like that they can see which room they have visited

We then looked at our happy paths and shared with each other the results we gathered from usability testings. Each of us wrote findings on yellow & green post-its before discussing and wrote our game plan on orange ones for each key screen and divided up to work on our high fidelity prototypes.

Discussing on Iterations (left) • Happy path — Mid Fidelity (right)

Images below details some of the key iterations we made while progressing to a higher fidelity.

The V&A App we designed creates a frictionless environment for visitors to navigate the museum, be it finding the restroom or even locating a specific exhibition. The visitors can also curate trails that gives them freedom to tailor their visit and discover new things that may interest them.

Click here to check out our Invision Prototype!

Cellyn Tan

Written by

Digital Product Designer @redbadgerteam • visit my portfolio

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