UbiMuseD: Ubicomp Museum Design
I love museums. There's so much to learn, and despite the omnipotent power of the internet, the experience of a museum can't be matched. Of course, there are good museums and bad ones, big ones and small ones, but they all have a shared goal of creating an engaging experience that fosters learning and appreciation of art, science, and culture.
Unfortunately, not all museums succeed in doing this. As technology improves and computing becomes ubiquitous, My group - UbiMuseD (Ubicomp Museum Design) - is designing a way for museums to use this technology to augment and enhance the experience for museum-goers through a ubicomp system.
Initial observations were informal and done with an open mind. The goal was to enter the brainstorming process with real data to fuel ideation, instead of our own hazy memories of museums. Each member of us conducted observations individually.
We met as a group and had a breakout session to discuss our observations. We created design ideas from the observations but intentionally kept things as broad to avoid letting any of our personal biases skew the focus and narrow the scope without solid evidence. We then sketched our concepts.
In order to move forward with our concepts, we wanted to get some user research to supplement and give depth to our initial observations. We decided that a cultural probe that consisted of participants taking pictures and using a map. We also wanted to interview the participants. We chose to have a mix of individuals and groups to mimic different museum-going experiences.
We chose these activities because our observations indicated that these are activities that many people do anyway. So, our study would fit in naturally with the museum-going experience and would not be a distraction for participants. The instructions were simple: take pictures as you would and use the map as you would normally. Even if we got little data from any individual, it was important that we got real data, and not things that the participants thought we wanted to see.
After the participants enjoyed their time at the museum, we followed up with an interview. In addition to seeing what stood out to the participants while they were at the museum (the results of the probe), we wanted to see what the stood out to them after the experience.
We had another breakout session to unpack and digest all the information. We started with going over the probes and recapping the interviews for each participant. We then merged all of our notes and looked for common themes and patterns.
From here, we individually sketched ideas based on research. The goal was to have multiple sketches for each research theme, as well as sketches for any design ideas that were conceived during our affinity session. As a group, we chose the sketches we liked the best and created storyboards. These storyboards concepts represent our new scope, refined and focused by the new research.
*To be continued*