MoMA Smartphone App, Research Methods with Alex Wright, Fall 2010. In collaboration with Kristin Breivik, Sarah Koo, Carrie Steins, and Catherine Young.

Challenge

Develop a smartphone app for the Museum of Modern Art, based on a field study of museum visitors.

Approach

This marked our first real project of our first semester of graduate school! And a really short turnaround at that (a total of 7 weeks of class)! Since our class was focused on discovering and exploring research methods, our process was broken down into several steps around this process: Observe, analyze, sketch, prototype, and test.

To start off, my team ventured to the MoMA to conduct a field study. In other words, we spent a good amount of time observing museum goers and learning how to be more mindful of our problem space. We then reconvened to conduct a KJ Analysis,¬†collecting our individual observations and seeing what patterns would emerge. Awkward at first, but we soon realized how insightful this process of collective post-it noting could be. We realized that…

  • People come to the MoMA for the experience;
  • People view art at different distances and physically interact with the art;
  • People want to remember, extend, share.

After analyzing the patterns, we synthesized our findings into larger themes: 1) An¬†emotion based experience; 2) as well as a chronological timeline of the user experience were key in framing a visitor’s time at the MoMA.

Our synthesis of the insights from the analysis really drove the remainder of our process, including crafting personas, creating tasks flows, and defining user needs. The KJ Analysis soon became our best friend, kindly reminding us to continuously reference back to the problems we identified and were attempting to address as we moved forward with our concept and eventual prototypes. And going back to our research, we then identified areas that we could specifically address through our application, MoMENT.

Outcome

MoMENT is a smartphone app that allows the user to easily remember and share his or her museum experience. Sensors triangulate the artwork that the user is closest to, automatically displaying relevant information. With the click of a button, the user can add works of interest to his or her own curated list, adding comments and sharing with friends outside of the MoMA. All visitor actions are aggregated and visualized in the Our MoMA view, enabling each visitor to feel like they’re part of a larger MoMA community.

    Conducting our KJ Analysis and the groupings that began to emerge

    Conducting our KJ Analysis and the groupings that began to emerge

    We hit a lightbulb moment in our analysis as we began sketching on the whiteboard

    We hit a lightbulb moment in our analysis as we began sketching on the whiteboard

    As we looked for patterns in our observations, large themes began to emerge within two threads (emotion and chronological)

    As we looked for patterns in our observations, large themes began to emerge within two threads (emotion and chronological)

    Defining the user tasks for our four identified personas

    Defining the user tasks for our four identified personas

    Charting out the user flow

    Charting out the user flow

    My team found it more conducive to hold our brainstorming sessions outside of the studio. Here's us at Karloff Cafe in Brooklyn.

    My team found it more conducive to hold our brainstorming sessions outside of the studio. Here's us at Karloff Cafe in Brooklyn.

    Cardboard paper proved useful as a sketching medium :)

    Cardboard paper proved useful as a sketching medium :)

    We referenced our analysis to ensure that we were addressing the insights with our mobile app

    We referenced our analysis to ensure that we were addressing the insights with our mobile app

    We returned to the MoMA to test our prototypes

    We returned to the MoMA to test our prototypes

    Iterating our final prototypes for MoMENT

    Iterating our final prototypes for MoMENT