Image is Everything is an interactive museum exhibit celebrating Pen & Pixel (1992-2003), the Houston based design firm famous for their outlandish aesthetics in album artwork defining the “bling” era of hip-hop. Album artwork has always been an important component to music, it can serve as a contextual marker to themes in music as well as draw the viewer in based on the imagery alone.
In the digital age of social media, people tend to have short attention spans and get bored rather quickly. Museums can sometimes be too academic or typical in the way the art is presented to the viewer.
The goals of this project are to design an engaging experience which captures attention, creates delight, and delivers meaning. In order to enhance the storytelling of each artwork the viewer has access to different features which utilize sight and sound that allow different people to engage at different levels.
Utilizing secondary research, I was able to gain insights of current pain points experienced in modern museums. Many museums face some of the same problems as technology advances, museums are slow to adopt new ways of keeping guests engaged and entertained.
• People tend to only want to read the shortest paragraph on a plaque. “So if you’re telling a story through the exhibit, you have to do it knowing that people may only experience 50 percent of the exhibit or less.”
• People don't typically utilize a museum app after visiting, how can we create value? “The way visitors save information to reference later is heavily reliant on them using their personal devices. Saving information to reference later should be made simple for the user.”
• People have short attention spans and aren't engaged enough with exhibits. How can we keep visitors engaged? “These 3D personas are then able to provide a narration. AR gives an opportunity to add a third dimension to displays, bringing objects or scenes to life.”
• People are already on their phones most of the time, so there is an opportunity to engage viewers with an AR experience that enhances their experience. In a study done by Carnegie Museums, in a sample size of 316 participants only 14.9% of visitors did not use their phone while at the museum.
Based on the secondary research, two personas were created in order to get a better understanding of the customers behaviors, needs, and motivations.
After analyzing secondary research, constructing HMW questions helped guide the next steps in order to focus on the problem that needed to be solved.
How might we tell a story to create an experience that is both memorable and informative?
The feature prioritization map aided in identifying what features must be included in the app. Through secondary research, insights were gained as to which features were necessary in order to achieve project goals.
After ideating through paper prototypes, low-fidelity prototypes were made in order to visually represent the concept and get a feel for the flow.
A user flow was created in order to clarify the path that they would take before continuing on in the design process.
It was important to consider museum visitors may not have experienced using AR technology before. Onboarding allows the user to quickly get educated on the functions and features of the app.
Once a museum visitor points their phone at the album artwork being displayed, a 3D element that references the artwork will emerge. The main reason behind the AR component is to add a level of intrigue and keep the visitor engaged. An audio preview of a song on the album plays as the AR experience begins to add another layer to the storytelling.
The visitor can read about the artist being displayed and get a backstory on their career as well as insight into the themes of their music.
The music behind the artwork does most of the storytelling and paired with the visuals creates for an immersive experience. Visitors can get a preview of every track in the album or only listen to what peaks their interest.
To create a seamless experience for the visitor, it was important to include a photo/video feature that allows them to capture the experience in app so that they are able to view it at a later time and and share on social media.
It was essential to create a use for the app so the viewer can utilize the app beyond the exhibit. Visitors can save albums that really resonated with them and go back to them or to keep track of music they would like to add to their personal playlists.