Sep. 2017 - Oct. 2017 | Austin
ARch, which represents the 'Augmented Reality for Cultural Heritage’, is a mobile app that would enhance museum visitors’ experiences by using innovative technology.
Our stakeholder, the School of Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin, came to us and asked for thoughtful solutions for how technology can improve a more interactive visitors' experience. This is a 7-week rapid prototyping project and the primary goal of ARch is to focus on creating a more interactive and engaging experience for Harry Ransom Center museum visitors for an upcoming exhibit.
For this project, our team focused on ideating possible solutions based on the research gathered by the School of Architecture. Our design process included generating a journey map for better understanding, creating low-fidelity prototypes and high-fidelity mockups, and conducting user testing for the final prototypes and concept video.
For this project, my main contributions included designing the user journey map, presenting potential concepts to stakeholders, and iterating wireframes, 1st round low-fi prototype, and 3rd round high-fi prototype.
As a renowned humanities research library and museum, the Harry Ransom Center (HRC) exhibits items of cultural and historical importance to the general public of all ages and backgrounds to discover and learn. One of the major desires of the HRC is to have each exhibit say something new, and something bigger than just a story.
However, the main challenge for HRC is how to provide an engaging and interactive experience for visitors and how to help people get a deep understanding of these arts & crafts exhibits within the short visiting time or even after their visits.
Based on the stakeholder's requirements, our goal is to create a more interactive and engaging experience for museum visitors.
Prior to the project started, we first collected individual research on how current museums or other exhibits employ technology to make the visitors experience innovative and interactive. The School of Architecture students had also generated the user research report including the exhibit design, visitor personas, and an overview of exhibit themes and collections.
Therefore, our project started with researching the 4 types of user archetypes and narrowed down our MVP to one persona because of the 2-month time limitation.
Based on the research, we identified there were 4 main user archetypes including the Expert, the Weekender, the Scout, and the Treasure Hunter. After the team discussion, my team decided to narrow down the targeted user to the Weekender because the HRC is in a location where a sizable proportion of the surrounding population shares similar personality characteristics to “the Weekender”. Therefore, we decided to emphasize this persona because of the representation in the local area, and their propensity towards technology and the likelihood to use an app.
User Journey Map
We created a user journey map to better understand the targeted user’s thoughts, feelings, and pain points. The experience started from pre-visit, at the exhibition to post-visit. The journey map also helped us identify the potential opportunities where our solutions could reach the goal of engaging museum visitors with interactive experiences.
Based on the research reports, group brainstorming session, and journey map, we were able to come up with the required features:
To better clarify our design ideas, we generate the video to show the AR concept.
Design Iteration I
I drew the first page-by-page paper sketches to gather our team’s ideas and confirm the product workflow, structures, and features.
I took the sketches and created the low-fidelity wireframes for the ARch app. To make sure users could understand and know how to use the app, we focused on the most important parts:
Implement AR feature for users to get further information of each exhibit and also have a social platform to review other visitors comments;
Provide Map for users to get a fully idea of where they are and how many exhibits they have explored. We combined the AR and map to help users find their route for certain exhibits;
Design User Profile for users to explore their journey, route, and comments. This helps users’ post-visit experience. Users could record their journeys and check any time after their visit to the museum.
Design Iteration II
We tested our wireframes with 8 participants from opening the app, leaving comments and seeing others’ comments, using the map and finding exhibits through AR, and exploring the profile sessions for recalling the experience.
The insights and feedback we learned from the user testing help us iterated on the 2nd low-fidelity prototype in Marvel App to 2 rounds of high-fidelity mockups and prototypes in Sketch and Axure.
1st High-fidelity Prototype
Final High-fidelity Prototype
Our team had a very intense collaboration and during the design stage, we all tried to help out the mockups. However, it was hard to organize and collaborate because of the separated Sketch files. The feedback we got from the 1st round of high-fidelity prototype also reminded us to reframe our app visual design with the HRC representing red color and reorganized the whole flow to make sure a better user experience.
From this project, I especially learned how to follow the process and ideate the possible solutions from other people's research results. To design an experience our users need, we must work closely with the research team and frequently sync with them to make sure we are all on the same page and the design could meet the targeted goal.