Museums and galleries are trying to increase customer satisfaction when viewing art. GalleryPal wants to design a way to improve the experience of viewing art in a museum or gallery using the Google Ventures Design Sprint process. They provided in house research in the form of user quotes, a persona, and video of an interview with a museum docent who provided an expert opinion. Gallery Pal's design brief specified that the solution should:
Focus on improving the in-person viewing experience
Be designed as a mobile app or mobile-optimized website
I approached this brief following the Google Ventures Design Sprint process, a five-day process for answering critical business questions through design, prototyping, and testing ideas with customers. The result is the minimum viable product (MVP).
I worked solo on this sprint basing my solution on the research and personas provided with the design brief, and primarily using Sketch, Figma, Illustrator, and Photoshop.
Understanding the problem
Day 1 of the GV design sprint is to understand the problem and map out the users experience. GalleryPal wants to help museum and gallery guests have more engaging experiences while viewing art in person.
GalleryPal asked users to describe a recent visit to an art gallery or museum, and also interviewed a museum docent to get observations on user behavior and responses while touring the museum. Highlights from this initial research and a persona were provided in the design brief.
To create an empathy map and refine the problem space for ideation, I synthesized the information from guest interviews and input from a museum expert.
Museum and gallery guests want to engage with art, but often feel that their lack of knowledge about the artist or artwork diminishes their experience.
How might we help guests better engage with art while visiting a gallery or museum?
Next I created a map based on the persona Angela. The map anticipates Angela's interactions with the product while visiting an art exhibit. The flowchart shows everything that happens as she encounters an unfamiliar artwork and uses GalleryPal to quickly and easily learn about the piece, enhancing her viewing experience.
Day 2 : Sketch
Day 2 focuses on ideating solutions which I began by doing a lightning demo where I examined existing solutions.
GalleryPal's design brief specified a product solution that would enhance guest's in-person viewing engagement. Their research reported visitors looking up information on their phone's while viewing art in museums and galleries, so I opted to create an iOS app.
I made a competitor analysis of the features offered by five art/gallery apps for data and inspiration. Below is a summary of the strengths and areas for improvement for each product.
Lists gallery exhibits by neighborhood in major cities
Shows very few images
Listings are mostly dense with elevated text
The product is elitist overall
The only product that helps users find artwork to view in-person
Offers work for sale by major artists
Very clean visual interface
Info is presented in manageable chunks that can be expanded if desired
Good offering of other works by the same artist, gallery, or similar artist
No connection to in-person viewing unless you purchase an artwork
Offers a mini daily art hit for a casual viewer
Interesting swipe-to-zoom feature
Minimal info that could be better sorted for user access
No connection to in-person viewing
Google Arts & Culture:
I loved the closer look bubbles on the extremely hi-res images
Fun and interesting interactive elements, though they are not conducive to enhancing in-person viewing engagement
The information architecture of the text could be more intuitive
I appreciated the link to relevant videos
This product was the most successful at creating engagement with artwork among the products in the competitive analysis, but there was no connection to in-person viewing
I enjoyed the carousel galleries, and appreciated the filters for changing views
I liked that the images enlarge to fit the screen at minimum dimension by default
I appreciated the link to view other artworks by the same artist with the ability to sort views
There were no links to other artworks in similar genres or styles
The text is very dense, not delightful to read, and very poorly formatted
No connection to in-person viewing
Crazy 8s Sketch Exercise
This exercise is a core design sprint method in which the designer quickly sketches eight screen ideas, spending a minute on each.
Users reported that their limited knowledge about specific artworks inhibits their viewing experience, but they don't like heavy research.
A solution could have the product launch with the phone's native camera for viewers to photograph the artwork they want to know more about. My sketches start on this launch screen and then explore options for guests to discover more about the artwork.
In response to the crazy 8s exercise, the next step in the sprint is to create a solution sketch which details the critical screen in the MVP, along with the screens immediately before and after in the user flow.
I chose the second sketch as the basis for the critical screen showing guests an image of the artwork they photographed with circled areas to tap for fun facts or more information about the piece. I also added a tab bar so guests could quickly access bite-sized information about the artist, materials, technique, etc. that were shown to be important to guests through the preliminary research.
Day 3 : Decide
In a typical team design sprint, there are multiple design solutions for the decision maker to choose from on day 3. Because this was a solo sprint, I used my solution sketch from the day before to develop a storyboard, which I would also use to build my wireframes on day 4.
The top row of the storyboard shows our persona, Angela, entering a gallery and then shows her using the product to photograph a sculpture on display. Next we see Angela tapping a "closer look" circle and the following screen with bite-sized information about the artwork.
The following boxes show Angela tapping through the tab bar options, easily discovering more about the artist, the materials, technique, form, and concept of the sculpture. Angela also has options to see more works by the same artist or similar work by different artists.
The last image shows Angela's gallery, where she has saved favorite artworks that she's seen on her museum and gallery outings.
Day 4 : Prototype
Day 4 of the GV sprint is to build a prototype of the user flow for testing.
I made the prototype in Sketch, incorporated icons from the Noun Project which I modified in Illustrator, and artwork and graphic images from the public domain which I adjusted as needed in Photoshop.
The original prototype screens show the user flow in the following order:
Launch on camera
Closer look > fun fact #1
Artist info (from tab bar)
Materials info (from tab bar)
Technique info (from tab bar)
Form info (from tab bar)
Concept info (from tab bar)
More info (from tab bar)
My Gallery screen
Day 5 : Usability Test
For the first round of usability testing, I met with five users who have a history of viewing art.
User 1 (remote): Non-artist, wants to see art but often feels ill-informed, and has a high enjoyment of reading
User 2 (in-person): Artist and art educator, and has a low enjoyment of reading
User 3 (remote): Non-artist, academic, wants to engage with art, and has a high enjoyment of reading
User 4 (remote): Non-artist, wants to engage with art but feels ill-informed, and has a low enjoyment of reading
User 5 (remote): Artist and art historian, and has a medium enjoyment of reading
Measure the discoverability of finding more information about the artwork in question
See if testers feel this product would help them to better engage with viewing art in a museum or gallery setting
Users responded positively during testing that this was a product they would use and that it would increase their engagement when viewing art in person (regardless of their existing knowledge).
Users easily discovered more information about the artwork
Users felt the navigation was smooth and intuitive
Would like to be able to "ask an expert" a question within the app
Would like to be able to "favorite" artwork from any page
Would like to know when and where she saw the work that she added to her gallery
Would like to be able to add notes to artworks in her gallery
Would like to be able to purchase items through the app in lieu of going to the museum gift shop
Would like to be able to connect with friends to ask questions about art
As this was a solo design sprint with the goal of an MVP, I prioritized implementation of user suggestions #3-6 because they were simple adds with high user gain.
I created a purchasing screen (4.3 below) in response to #7, but did not build an e-commerce user flow as it is not MVP for the brief.
I opted not to create a social media component in response to #8 as this does not encourage in-person engagement. Rather, I added a feature to spark conversation between friends when viewing art in-person together (screens 2.1 and 2.2 below).
Although the GV sprint doesn't include a second round of testing, I wanted to see how users would respond to the new features.
I tested again and had overwhelmingly positive response with no usability issues.
Working through a solo design sprint was both exciting and intimidating. Once I started the process though, it was really enjoyable to have such quick daily deliverables, especially after spending several months on an OTT aggregator app.
Crazy 8s, solutions sketches, and storyboarding are excellent vehicles to quickly move through an iterative design process.
Prototyping in sketch has limited interaction options, but is very easy to share and access for user testing.
Gallery and museum guests often feel intimidated by their lack of knowledge about artworks and artists but rarely do extensive research before their visit.
Intimidation is a significant block for experiential engagement.
Giving guests easy access to bite-sized information about artworks and artists in real-time can be a successful solution to increasing viewing engagement and general enjoyment.
Users responded positively to the GalleryPal prototype and affirmed that this is a product they would definitely use to help them better engage while viewing art in person.