How might we redesign the audioguide to enhance the visitor´s experience at an exhibition ?

Museums are windows into a new world where visitors can immerse themselves for a limited time. A common way of how visitors getting their information is the use of audioguide devices. Most of these devices are technically not digitally connected to the modern infrastructure of the museums.

THE PROCESS

The double diamond is a clear, comprehensive and visual description of the design process I used for my thesis.  The two diamonds represent a process of exploring the issue more widely or deeply (divergent thinking) and then taking focused action (convergent thinking).
In the seperate parts of the process I have used different types of methods to create a user centred concept.

DOING THE RIGHT THING

DOING THE THINGs right

DISCOVER

Develop

Deliver

DEFINE

Shadowing

SHADOWING

I observed visitors in various museums in Cologne. Through that I wanted to see the natural setting and understand how people use audioguides. 

User research is an essential part of the design process. User research is used to understand the user’s needs, behaviours, experience, and motivations through various qualitative and quantitative methods to inform the process of solving for user’s problems. Empathy is the key to user-centered design. Empathy means putting aside your own assumptions to see things from someone else’s perspective. I observed visitors in various museums in Cologne. Through that, I wanted to see the natural setting and understand how people use audio guides.

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PRODUCT ANALYSIS

Insight!

Over 90 % of the observed people are not alone. They coming with friends & family.

Product analysis

I observed visitors in various museums in Cologne. Through that I wanted to see the natural setting and understand how people use audioguides. 

In the various museums, I tested the audioguides and compared them after my research trip. All the devices are quite similar. They work like button telephones and the handling is very easy to understand. But even if they work quite well, the design and function are perceived rather like a side product. It doesn´t demand anyone’s attention.

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Insight!

Obsolete design language

Interview

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"I have never used a audioguide before! They look like old mobile phones. "

Sven, 54

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"My favorite activity is to go to the museum with my friends. We always dicussing the art. That helps me understading !"

Lisa, 23

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"I always book a tour in advance! That way I can ask questions on topics I am interested in. "

Zahraa, 36

User journey

"What was the name of the artist of this one painting in the big room?"

We can´t always sum up our new impressions after an exhibition, because there were too many signals.

Design challenges

Once the research was complete and I captured the main points from each activity, the next stage was to start the process of synthesising. The goal is to identify patterns and themes across the research and find innovation opportunities, which help my potential user. Those opportunity spaces can be translated into design challenges.

1.Communication

Communication is key! People coming in groups and talking to each other makes it easier to process complex topics and abstract art.

How might the device achieve better social interaction between the visitors?

2.Notetaking

After the visitors get out of the museum with a lot of new insights and inspiration. But what stays in the longterm memory?

How might we design a tool, that summarizes the exhibition visit & helps the customer recap and cluster the new knowledge?

3.Keep up the intrest

Listening and processing information is much easier when you are intrested in it.

How might we redesign the audioguide to enhance the visitor´s experience at an exhibition to keep them intrested?

4.DESIGN  language

A obsolete design language, can cause that visotors are not interstend in taking a audiohuide

How might we design a audioguide device, which matches the modern enviroment of a museum?

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ideation

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The intelligent audioguide system:

VIA

Once the research was complete and I captured the main points from each activity, the next stage was to start the process of synthesising. The goal is to identify patterns and themes across the research and find innovation opportunities, which help my potential user. Those opportunity spaces can be translated into design challenges.

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User

The user experiences is based on a individualised tour. The length, the voice type and information type can be adjusted in the VIA app. The whole audioguide tour adapts to the location. And  the interaction is reduced to a simple interaction on the headphones.

Device

The VIA audioguide is a bone conduction headphone. The ears are free and therefore it is possible to talk to your friends.  
The design language is minimalistic and subtle, to adapt to the aesthetic to the different types of exhibitions.

App

The most important aspect of the product is the VIA app. The user can create a “culture” profile, where they can type in their preferences. The device during the visit is linked with the app and it can track the behaviour. Which audio bits did the user listen to? In front of which sample did the visitor spend the most time? What kind of topics is the visit interested in? Is it the historical aspect, the feasibility of the exhibit? Or the meaning behind the art? All this information is collected during different museum visits. Within the time the profile gets more and more detailed and the user gets better and individualised audio tours.  

 

Bone conduction headphones

User journey

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VIA

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