British Museum Interactive Digital Design


Full Report

This student team project involved producing an interactive digital design to enhance the British Museum Egyptian Galleries experience.

A user centred design process was adopted including user research, conceptual design and detailed design.

The Problem
Digital technologies are used more and more to enhance the experience of museum visitors. However, there are few systems that allow visitors to contribute information and content back to the museum’s digital systems. The challenge was to design an interactive digital technology to enhance the experience of visitors to the British Museum’s Egyptian Galleries. The project required that the designers understand the people, the place and the activities they engage in. The scope of the project was user research, conceptual design through to detailed design with a small-scale evaluation.

Visitor looking at a sarcophagus
Visitor to the British Museum Egyptian Galleries

Role
The team was made up of four MSc students. Most of the tasks were carried out by the whole team but where team members have particular talents then those tasks were allocated to them. For example Alex created some excellent 3D rendered diagrams of the detailed design.
My extra contributions included sketching, the Hierarchical Task Analysis, Personas, Wireframes and putting the final report together.

User Research
To better understand the users and the domain observations, interviews and contextual inquiries were conducted. Our goal was to discover how visitors to the Egyptian galleries currently engage with it. The user research was carried out at different times and locations in the museum. The interview questions were semi structured with the answers being recorded into SurveyMonkey by the researchers. Early observations were used to determine the questions to ask.

The Design Process – Conceptual Design
The results from the user research were reviewed by the whole team as a group and the pain points were identified:

  • Overcrowding
  • Comprehending displayed information
  • Navigating the museum / Egyptian galleries effectiviely and efficiently

Current Users Journeys were created to help visualise the pain points.  The HTAs helped to identify steps that could be removed for example physical maps would no longer be required. The team used brainstorming to come up with 31 potential ideas, these were grouped into nine themes and later narrowed down to four. These four themes were explored using concept sketching. After discussing the storyboards and design sketching the team decided on the final design. This design was a device for frequent visitors / members to contribute tours of the museum for other visitors to follow.

Hierarchical Task Analysis
Hierarchical Task Analysis

Personas were created to explore how visitors would use the new device. We developed four personas a primary and secondary persona for both a route setter and a route taker.

Primary Persona Route Taker
Primary Persona Route Taker
Primary Persona Route Setter
Primary Persona Route Setter

The Future User Journeys were created with the device in the form of a ring worn by the visitor. During the evaluation it became clear that users were not happy with the ring and the design was changed to a smart compass worn on the wrist.

The Design Process – Detailed Design
Once the conceptual design had been established the team moved on to the detailed design. The system requires a kiosk to program and dispense the smart compass. Wireframes for the kiosk screen were designed using Balsamiq. These wireframes were linked and used for further user testing.

Wireframe of Tour Selection Page
Wireframe of Tour Selection Page
Wireframe of Route Creation Page
Wireframe of Route Creation Page