The way we interact with the world is changing rapidly everyday. How we social, eat, work, consume are completely different from 100 years ago. Museums have served as long-standing institutions championing art and culture. How can we use existing technologies to give the experience a refresh for the new generation?

MMAP is a new approach to challenge the traditional museum experience and reconstruct a way that both benefits the museum goers and museum stakeholders.
Role: UX Design, research, product thinking
Time: 2019, 3 weeks
Team: Ben, Maggie, Sharon, Janice

Process Overview

My team spent a week studying and conducting researches and interviews on RISD Museum. From the insights we gathered, we identified a few problems and established our user groups. From there, we generated a few ideas to prototype and test. Finally, we arrived at our MMAP concept and brought it to the RISD Museum to test.


We interviewed a sample of 15 museum goers, consisting of museum guards, art students, designers, travelers, and local residents. The feedback and insights we organized from the researches helped us understand user pain points including information overload and disconnection due to little art background. Some of our findings and observations point out that:
- 80% goers find it hard to navigate through museums
- All of the users think information in the museum is overwhelming and hard to digest. One user specifically mentioned they like small sized museum.
- 66% goers agree that museum experiences usually leave little impression after the visit
- Above half of the interviewees like to visit museums alone.
- Having no art background is usually a huge barrier, even for people who actually have some background in art. The disconnection between the desire to learn and the learning materials are very prominent.
"There are always so many pieces. I don't know where to start."
"Art is not essential to my life."
Museum security guard
"It doesn't leave an impression on me after I leave the museum."
"We are trying to regain interest from the public and younger generation."
RISD Museum

Target user

Our extensive research highlights a huge opportunity to improve experience for people with limited art background or have restrained learning experience. These people also account for the majority of the museum goers. Thus we decided to target younger audience with little art background and created a persona to help us identify meaningful deisgn opportunities.

A high school student visiting New York and its famous museums with his parents.
Have fun and learn a few things.
Feel compelled to see all the pieces because they spend $20 dollar on the tickect. So they rush through and skim the artworks. A lot of the artworks are not catered toward their interests. They think their time is not well spent on things they care about. Placards are hard to read and digest as well. Most of the time, they are clueless.

The user pain points and opportunities that we identified along the way helped us set a few design boundries and goals.


Design goals:

Gamify museum experience, break down information, increase engagement

After a couple rounds of concept generation sessions, we settled on creating a web-based mobile product. We chose to pursue mobile experience rather than creating additional hardwares due to the fact that there is unbeatable mobility and interaction advantages. Carrying extra hardwares will eventually cripple users' experience and deliver very limited interactions. And a web/browser-based application is more convenient than downloading an app that most users might feel reluctant to.

Quick user testings conducted with in-museum visitors drive us move quickly through rounds and rounds of iterations. From the paper mock-ups test to low-fi mock-ups, and eventually hi-fi mockups, we conducted all of them in real environments. RISD museum internal structure is particularly complex so it was a good environment to test how well the application guide the user and how long it would take a user to achieve their goals.

The experience evolved into a art-finding journey after several iterations. And we were able to solve problems by breaking up information, generating personalized journey route, and making learning experience less tedious.

Initial information architecture and user testing

Final user flow and hi-fi mockups

For early user testing, we utilized simple paper mockups test and card sorting methods to help us understand the architecture and task flow of the product. At later stages, we conducted qualitative behavioral user testing with random users as well as A/B testing on a few feature sets. A total group of 14 people were invited to go through the final test.

User testing

How it works

After picking out some of your interested artworks from the museum collection, MMAP creates a personalized journey for you to find "missing artworks" in the museum. You will be provided with 6 info cards with educational infomartion regarding the piece broken down for you. Clue cards will be curated by museum curators to cover information like art background, style, color, material, form, concept, etc.
Your journey is responsive to the way you explore the museum. Your finding mission will always be around you. This way, the app not only follows your footsteps but also surreptitiously guides you.


Art experience is very personal and subjective. This is why a perosnalized journey is extremely benefitial in terms of engaging viewers and helping viewers digest tedius information.

Embark on a journey

Here is a showcase of a simple tutorial on how to navigate through the app. A pre-written story will be given to the user. The user have to utilize 6 clue cards to find the artwork.
We envisioned endless opportunities for the curators to compose narrative stories for the missing artworks. Don't you want to embark on a journey to find out how Monet became a pioneer in Impressionism?

Clue Cards

These clue cards will come in handy when you are on your quest of finding all the missing artworks. Unlock the clue cards and use the information to locate the piece. Meanwhile, we hope these cards will help the particular art leave a long lasting impression. Just like this impressionism painting by Monet.

You probably need a map

We intend to redefine the concept of map by providing an unique experience. But in case you wonder around and get lost, which you probably will, MMAP does provide a map. On top of that, you will also be able to see the rough location of the art that you are looking for.

What if you find it!

Simply snap it with your camera. The camera will automatically detect if you have found the right artwork. More in-depth information about the piece will be provided along with related artworks.

We all hate downloading a new app that we know we won't use frequently.
Luckily, MMAP experience starts with only a simple scan of a QR code.

Now you have explored a couple of artworks. But we really want you to spend more time with the museum not your cell phone! Pause-for-a-bit makes sure that you take a break and divert your attention to some of the artworks that you might be interested around you.