An augmented reality mobile app that helps museum visitors be engaged with the artifacts while providing them learning experience
Eskenazi Museum of Art
We had an online Zoom showcase of the class where everyone presented their idea to the the Director of Museum of Indiana University. Our project was chosen among 10 other projects to be collaborated with Museum curators to implement our idea in the Museum.
How might we
The audience enjoyed the jewelry try-on feature and were more engaged with the artifacts, increasing their curiosity to know more about the artifact.
The audience found it difficult to look closely at the Jewelry exhibits, not able to experience its detailed designs adequately.
All artifacts have a historical context for which it was used. This feature tells the story, captivates peoples' attention, lets you hear, reading the text, and taking pictures of yourself. The information is collected and curated to satisfy users’ curiosity
To understand the problems, interviewing the museum curator and audiences allowed us to get insights into their needs and expectations. Ethnography helped us understand users' behavior in the museum, while exemplars helped compare different museums' experiences.
People miss out on Intricate design details of ancient artifacts due to the way they are exhibited.
Due to glass protection covering, people are unable to experience the artifacts closely, missing out on the design's details.
Guided tours help the audience better understand the 'context of use' of artifacts.
The curiosity of Museum visitors is not satisfied by labels placed next to the exhibits. They want to learn more about the history and not just the dates the artifacts were made in.
Museum curators want visitors to understand the significance of artifacts and develop a sense of appreciation for it.
There is a deep history behind every artifact. Museum curators want to engage the audience in the artifacts to attract a wider population and acquainting them with the history and culture.
To develop an AR application for the Museum, we needed to know the challenges that might become a hindrance in the design process. We identified following contraints
Limited Space in the Museum
The large number of museum artifacts resulted in limited space, This would obstruct free movement during the AR experience
No QR codes in front of Exhibits
We needed QR code to trigger AR application at the Museum. However, the curators were not ready to install because they feared it would block user’s view.
We had variety of options to choose from. We chose these two because of the different set of usage and experience they offer.
Ornamental artifact providing personalized experience
Challenges in terms of design intricacy
Difficult to get the context of use
Ornamental artifact providing spatial experience
Challenges in terms of storytelling
Difficult to get the context of use
Keeping our design principles in mind, we did some brainstorming session to generate ideas around the chosen artifacts to narrow down our problem.
The idea of trying-on jewelry fascinated users the most and aligned with our goals
We tested our low-fidelity setup with 5 participants. As we could not test it in the museum, we created the museum-like setup at our testing site.
Participant while user testing
The users moved forward without reading the whole information
We decided to present information in card format and added audio feature to not overwhelm users with loads of information
Unable to see intricacies of Jewelry
4 out of 5 users conveyed to still not able to see the Jewelry designs closely
Adding Rotation and Zoom-in functionality to view the complex designs accurately
The coronavirus pandemic hit while we were still in the middle of the project. The Museum was closed and we encountered the following challenges:
No photogammetry for 3D modeling
Introducing website to move the experience from physical space to virtual space
Utilizing Sketchfab website to get the similar looking 3D models
We suggested a online Museum website to showcase our projects. Users needed to download a separate Zappar application in order to trigger the AR application. This was an extra burden for the users and we sugested to move our AR application to Web AR. The website has a QR code through which visitors can directly open the website.
Creating onboarding experience on the app itself to better inform users on how to use it.
Adding color change interaction features, making users visualize how differently the jewelry would look in bronze, copper, silver, etc.
The app is expandable to accomodate different artifacts from the Museum.
With a first time AR learning experience, we also faced a number of challenges while making the design application. It’s necessary to adapt to every situation and go with the flow.
Selecting the right technology is important when there are so many constraints and challenges. Also, the technology should be easy to use because Museum is the place where all age groups like to engage.
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