Signalisation in the physical space
About the project
Audience department team from Agència Catalana del Patrimoni Cultural asked me to help them conduct a usability study of Visitmuseum's mobile web and Apps in order to create a strategic plan for the Product and plan a redesign. The process consisted in a research plan that included benchmark, heuristic report, analysing available quantitative data, recruitment, usability studies with users and finally, redesign recommendations.
Visitmuseum is a digital tool envisioned to help museum visitors access more information about the museums' content. It has more than 250 Catalan museums in its database with detailed information about museum's history, exhibitions, audioguides, photo gallery of spaces and artworks and also general information about the fees and working hours.
The team needed help detecting usability issues, but also giving a voice to frequent museum visitors and discover what they really need while visiting.
Project took place in April and May of 2020. During that time I worked closely with the team, having weekly meeting to share the findings and adjust next steps.
As the main research goal was to understand how Visitmuseum might serve better to those who are visiting museum in person, the initial plan was to intercept users in the museums. Just when the project was about to start, the Covid-19 crisis started and all museums were closed until further notice. The team decided to conduct the research anyways, and it had to be done remotely.
As our initial plans had to change, we launched a recruitment form looking for frequent museum-goers with a recent visiting experience. We decided to conduct 4 mobile web, 1 iOS and 1 Android user test.
The users' profile we were able to recruit were quite varying in terms of interests, motivations and demographics. Losing the immediate visiting experience by going remote, we gained in great user profiles that probably wouldn't be available otherwise, and in-depth interviews.
Analysing available data
Apart from checking GA data, it was quite interesting to analyse the available reports and the Product itself. The conclusion was that the web and App experiences weren't consistent. We found some interesting user patterns, especially on Apps, which are mainly used on tablets that museums provide as part of the visit. On the other hand, we concluded the App had stability and usability issues and that it makes more sense to build upon the website base.
I conducted 6 interviews which focused on general product usability and content relevance.
We used card sorting for one page that was especially heavy on content. After the session, I sent them the list of page sections and asked them to sort it in order of priority. This gave us a great insight on how to organise this page.
In general, remote interviews went great, had only one drop off and no major technical difficulties. Each interview lasted about 1 hour and we provided a great museum-related gift to thank user for their time and dedication. I've done all the interviews through Zoom or Skype, whichever tool the user was more used to. The sessions recordings and transcriptions in form of quotes were shared with the team.
Apart from the many usability issues, we discovered an audioguide related insight of a major impact for the Product. Although the profiles we interviewed were quite various in terms of interests, motivation, demographics and tech savviness, this pattern repeated in all of them. They all wanted a certain type of audioguide. As this finding's implementation would cause a major shift in Product's roadmap and business model, I advised the team to run a quantitative research in order to confirm or reject this finding.
The final document was an excel sheet with all feedback transcriptions. As I wanted the team members and senior management to be as much as exposed to the users' feedback, I've been using real quotes in all stages.
What have I learned from this project?
Using rough quotes from start to finish is fine. Having exact user's words helps defend their point of view.
Physical experience can't be treated separately from the digital one, it forms part of the same customer journey and it needs to be consistent.
Always plan some time for preparing the senior management presentation.
Photo credits: Visitmuseum and Unsplash