Museums+Culture

Museums+Culture is an exploration of user journeys in museums. The process was built around a goal to understand how the visitors’ experiences have shaped their perception of museums as part of their daily life.

Initially, five interviews were conducted in order to form a view on why, when, and how people visit museums. The interviews were specifically focused on topics about the visitors’ self-awareness and physical comfort during museum visits.

The team then travelled to the ARKEN Museum of Modern Kunst to gain insight on how museums discern their visitors. Interviews with museum staff focused on understanding what factors affect the curation of a museum experience and how these factors are prioritized and managed.

After the first round of interviews, the team focused on clustering gathered insights and discovering patterns of ideas, thoughts, and conversations. The team first extracted quotes and discussion topics from each interview and arranged them into groups based on the team’s perception of their commonality.

Five key insights emerged from this process: time management, self-awareness, participation and learning, engagement, and affordance. In further analysis, the team narrowed down the focus to three main questions that emerged from these key insights.

How might we…

encourage people to perceive museums more casually by taking out the planning component of a visit?

explore the sense of guilt to create a more engaging experience by providing seamless choices and guidance for each individual visitor?

explore people’s self-awareness during visits by customizing the physical experience?

The following brainstorming sessions were geared towards answering these questions with design concepts. The team picked and developed on ideas that best tied into the key insights and the general findings from the interviews. Three general concepts were picked for the co-creation process.

Inspirado Card keeps track of your museum visits. The idea is that once you reach a certain threshold in museum entry costs, your subsequent visits are free.

Physical Comfort in order to create a more casual experience for the users. The team created a maquette that featured chairs, carpets, slippers, and other objects of comfort and asked the interviewees to describe how they would feel about finding these objects at a museum.

Self-Expression as a way to explore how to make visitors feel more connected with the art. A maquette of a room was built that allowed interviewees to place small notes on the walls expressing their opinion/knowledge about the art.

Further interviews were conducted to allow museum visitors to express their thoughts and concerns about the concepts. With permission from staff, the team set up camp at the Charlottenborg museum and conducted interviews with exiting visitors.

The resulting feedback led the team to flesh out the concepts into more specific ideas. For example, the interviewees were excited about having extra comfort in museums but expressed concern over having objects interfere with their perception of the art. The concept of self-expression was also well received; however, the visitors suggested that a less literal approach than notes would be most appropriate.

The team converted these findings into main design ideas.

Self-expression pins that would allow users to communicate their perceptions of the art with colored pins. This method was less literal while still allowing users to feel welcome to express themselves and connect with the museum’s curation process.

Chairs folding into the floor. Everybody wanted more chairs. Backs and feet begin to ache after hours of meandering around a museum and visitors want to rest. The team aimed at a method to provide the option of comfort without interfering with the art.