Gander

Project Vision

Challenges

Gander is an art history app for a museum in London, which is a prompt I was given for Google certificate, via Sharpen. 

This project is about creating a new app to allow users to enjoy art from their favorite museum in London and learn art history. I wanted to understand how much depth the user would like in reading history vs viewing the art itself in video and photo form.

For this project, I chose a user-directed design method which revolves around focusing on my persona creation, research, and user experience goals. This product was developed as a mobile-based application rather than being web-based, to showcase my mobile design skillset.

  1. Create an interactive app similar to in-person experience in the London museum. 

  2. Provide user friendly app that is not only educational but also entertaining to use.

  3. Give the user exhaustive search functions and extensive information on all exhibits and displays of art. 

  4. Allow provisions for those with accessibility needs.  

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Kickoff

In this project, I took a user-directed approach that proved to be quite effective in my design efforts. I found qualitative research methods to be the most useful; literature review, competitive analysis, and most important my persona hypothesis construction. I started out by asking some initial key questions, which I proposed to my Facebook contacts with a coffee card incentive! Some of the questions I asked were:

  • What challenges do you face with visiting art museums?

  • How does this make you feel?

  • What is your favorite app to use, and why?

  • What do you imagine would be an interesting and fun art history app experience?

  • Is internet speed ever an issue for you?

  • Do you have any of these accessibility limitations when it comes to using techngoloy: color blindness, weak eyesight (contacts or glasses corrective), hearing or speech impediment, either hand impaired, etc? 

  • Describe a technology problem you sometimes have with apps, and how/why it is frustrating for you. 

Meet the Users

The data garnered from my interviews helped me to start recognizing main themes and start synthesizing the data to construct personas that most closely matched the issues from the interviews. Some of the challenges I faced in this project was budgeting. It would have been more beneficial to also utilize quantitative research methods for possible deeper insight and also ease of scheduling. I needed to wait on responses from research participants and work with their schedules in order to get interviews with them. 

The reoccurring frustrations, pain points, and similar demographics in the interviews helped me to find the best representation in two characters I created in the ficticious Dianne and Erik. I used diagramming to understand how to construct the personas. 

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Competitive Analysis

Competitive Analysis Report

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I then conducted a competitive analysis to examine the websites and apps of various art museums and art apps. Due to the prompt from Sharpen labeling it "art history app for museum in London," combining all of those aspects into one app was important. After my research was cross-referenced in Excel, I compiled it into a report and then began the process of creating a big picture storyboard, close-up storyboard, crazy 8's exercise, user-flow, then journey-mapping. 

Wireframes

At this point, it was easy to begin laying out the wireframes according to all the time I had spent in research and sketching. I knew what features needed to be included, what kind of user flow needed to happen, and it was a matter of putting it in LoFi wireframes and then testing what I had created on live users. I drew out the wireframes, connected them in prototyping, and then shared my Figma file with many who could interact with it and give me valuable feedback. 

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Iteration

I conducted a usability test after completing my wireframes and asked 5 participants to engage with my Figma LoFi prototype. The usability study revealed 4 major insights that I began to iterate upon and find solutions for. This was helpful in creating a much better user experience. 

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CHALLENGE 1

The app features the exhibits and artifacts that are on display at the museum, as well as the ability to favorite pieces of art, read more about the history of the pieces on display, and watch fascinating videos.  
A calendar with events and fun virtual things for the family to enjoy are also available.

Patrons are also able to donate safely online to support their memberships and have various levels of museum/app access. 

Create an interactive app similar to in-person experience in the London museum. 

CHALLENGE 2

Provide user friendly app that is not only educational but also entertaining to use.

The app does more than just show the artifacts on display, it also features a fun trivia game for users and merchandise is available in the shop to order by mail. 

CHALLENGE 3

Give the user exhaustive search functions and extensive information on all exhibits and displays of art. 

Many people will enjoy just browsing the app for a fun museum experience, however some users will want to specifically search an item or era of interest and may look through the extensive search library as well as pick suggestions from search results. 

CHALLENGE 4

Allow provisions for those with accessibility needs.  

Not only does high contrasting color gives visual accessibility, but videos are accompanied with audio/sound and subtitles in their chosen language. 

Style Guide

Combining incredibly vivid colors to represent Gander's look meant finding tones that may remind a user of London, but also of art and history and the museum experience. Gold and purple represent royalty (bearing the British monarchy in mind), but at the same time also feel luxurious like an art museum experience can be. The highly contrasting colors also keep accessibility in mind and provide further ease-of-use. These vibrant tones are also classic, and therefore "never go out of style" and keep a brand looking fresh in the longterm which is also appealing to stakeholders.

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Takeaways

I greatly enjoyed designing this app from beginning to end. It was great to apply my knowledge about the design process to a fun project that resulted in a beautiful app with interesting features and UI. It would be enjoyable to take this to production and iterate based on the KPI's that would become available through further usability studies. 

One of the key learning points for me was that organization and documentation along the way is extremely important in saving time and effort in presentation. It is important to quickly access saved files and edit them as there are many parts to the entire process of designing for UX.