Case Study: New Website for The National Community Art Museum of Malta

Wilbert Tabone
UX Station
Published in
7 min readFeb 7, 2019


MUŻA (Mużew Nazzjonali tal-Arti) is Malta’s new National Community Art Museum and the flagship project of Valletta’s European Capital City of Culture Title in 2018. The project is a national-community art museum, the first of its kind, developed in a historic site within the Capital City of Valletta; a UNESCO World Heritage Site built as a city-fortress.

It is housed in the historical Auberge d’Italie (where the Italian langue of the Knights of St. John lived) which has been restored and restructured specifically for this project. The building is now fully green-powered , generating its energy requirements through renewable sources, and representing a best practice in retro-fitting a Maltese historic building.

One may experience MUŻA through a journey across its various galleries and its extensions of itself — the concept store and the restaurant/cafe. The latter presents dishes inspired by what one can see in the galleries whilst the store contains carefully curated products that reflect the MUŻA vision and which are developed in conjunction with local artists.

MUŻA has been touted as “One of the top 15 noteworthy museums opening this year” by Architecture Digest and “One of 13 must-see new galleries and museums in Europe” by The Guardian.

Problem and Opportunity

Wow! With such accolades and being housed in such a prestigious location, the museum does indeed also deserve an appropriate web presence. The current MUŻA website is still structured as a project website detailing the progress of the Auberge’s transformation, product development and the sustainability ethos. It served a very good purpose to promote the project during development but since the museum has now been inaugurated and opened to the public, a proper museum website is required.

The current project website

My point of departure is therefore to transform a project website from the ground up into a website which showcases the museum and its various facilities. It should also function as a one-stop-shop for visitors, diners, customers and researchers alike.


For this project I was a one-man UX team conducting the research and design. A shout-out to my colleagues at the museum for continuously providing feedback along the way.


The first step I undertook was to conduct a semi-structured interview with a number of museum visitors. Among the various questions, visitors were asked to think about the last time they had browsed a museum website and what they had found useful on it. They were also asked about what they look for in a museum website and whether they would prefer purchasing tickets online or offline.

The results from a test-base of seven visitors who indicated that they were visiting for the first time, revealed that they would all like to have practical information, facility information and information about the collection on the website. Furthermore, 5/7 indicated that they would prefer to purchase their tickets online.


With this data, I was able to create a number of personas based on the categories of visitors the museum gets and their various needs.

Job Stories

In addition to the personas, I also spent time reflecting on the context of each potential user in order to understand their motivations and desired outcome from the system. The outcome were the following job stories inspired from the interviews and personas and based on the Jobs to Be Done Framework.

Affinity Map

The next day I analysed the conducted interviews and jotted down each user requirement on virtual post-its. These were then used in an affinity mapping exercise which grouped requirements into similar categories. The category name is the solution to the user’s problems.

Affinity map with user needs. Each colour represents a separate user.

Ideating Solution

In order to tackle the various requirements identified and grouped in the affinity diagram, the following decisions were taken.

  • The main structure of the website will be composed of sections pertaining to the main facets of the MUŻA experience (ie: galleries, shop and restaurant). In this case, the galleries are represented with a collection section which includes
  • The homepage includes a highlighted event at the top together with the most important practical information on the right hand side. Here, a potential visitor would be able to be directed to the ticket purchase page, quickly identify if the museum is open through an indicator and also know the location of the museum though a quick-access map. The rest of the page includes information about events, news, blog posts from the curatorial team and a link to an educational program page (an important aspect of every museum seeking to educate).
  • The Galleries are represented through the Collection page which contains the main narratives of the collection together with highlights. Each theme is colour coded together with its respective highlight section. At the bottom of the page, the user would be able to find information about the reserve collection (ie: archive) and the library facilities, together with a booking function for researchers.
  • For users who wish to know what’s on sale, the Shop section would show the latest special offers on merchandise together with various pre-selected collections.
  • The Restaurant section would be operated by the respective management. This would display the current menu, seasonal offers and offer a booking facility.
  • The Visit page would include all practical information (accessibility information, closing hours and all facilities offered).
  • The Group Visits page shall display practical information for group visits and school groups together with the appropriate booking form.
  • The About Us page shall include the story of the building and the vision behind the MUŻA project together with short bios of the team. The Blog page shall serve as the main bloglist, whilst the contact page is a generic form.

With the above information in mind, I got around to sketching two concept key screens — the homepage (What’s On) and the Collection page. These two pages would provide a concept feel to stakeholders.

Lo-Fi UI Sketches

Hi-Fi Mockups

Interactive Prototype


This case study has been published as a WIP. This section will be amended once this proposal is taken on board. Since the website has not been developed yet, direct usage comparison to the old site is not possible. However, the interactive prototype was presented to a number of museum employees, visitors and third parties for feedback.

The general reception was positive with 100% of the 16 interviewees asserting that the new website does indeed offer a better experience and better targeted the current user’s needs than its current counterpart. This is also due to the fact that the above process has created a design which alleviates the problems that are currently being faced by visitors (as identified through those which were interviewed). Gathered feedback indicated that this design does indeed make it easier for the everyday visitor and researcher alike to quickly get a feel of what the museum offers, quickly know the practical information and explore what the collection offers. Now visitors may plan ahead and begin their MUŻA experience from their own homes.


There is always something new to learn with every project. During this process, I learnt how to approach potential users whilst they were engaging in an activity (in this case exploring the galleries or museum’s shop). Moreover, I learnt the ins and outs of Adobe XD which I utilised for the first time whilst tweaking the design which was originally done with Sketch and creating the interactive prototype.

As both a UX designer and computer scientist I now look forward towards working beyond the website by exploring the next stage of this project. This shall entail the creation of more interactive informative experiences in the museum itself which complement the website and enhance the one-weave concept at the heart of MUŻA.



Wilbert Tabone
UX Station

Human-Robot Interaction PhD candidate with a background in AI and a passion for culture and art. Working on AR for automated vehicles. #VR #AR #AI #UX #HCI