Organization: Wellesley College HCI Lab, Davis Museum
Project Overview: This project investigates how the use of mobile human-computer interaction paired with social networking can offer advantages for museums seeking to redefine and enhance visiter experience.
Team Members: Consuelo Valdes, Michelle Ferreirae, Lia Napolitano, Orit Shaer, Jim Olson
Role: Lead User Experience Designer, User Researcher, Content Strategist
We observed visitors at the Davis Museum glossing through exhibits, lacking the confidence to engage with and interpret the works of art on display. In patron interviews, we found that such visitors are often not comfortable discussing works of art due to a notion that those without a studio art or art history background lack the capacity and authority to discuss it. Supporting these visitors in building confidence in their art-viewing capacity is essential for encouraging life-long learning in the arts. To address this issue, we developed, in collaboration with the Davis Museum, a social-mobile application that helps museum goers build confidence in their art-viewing capacity, engage with works of art on a deeper level, and become active participants in the museum community.
I designed a comparative study to test the app's effectiveness. We asked users to view art in a gallery in the museum as they would on a normal visit, closely observing their interactions and the amount of time they spent with each piece. We then asked them to view art in a similar gallery, using the app as a tool with which to interact with the art.
Time spend engaging with art increased by over 400% when visitors used the app while touring the galleries.
Post-viewing questionnaires also indicate that users developed deeper personal connects to the art they viewed, and wrote about their opinions in greater length after using the app.
Our research culminated in a paper that was accepted to the 2011 Museums and the Web conference.