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 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 2022.
The audience enjoyed the jewelry try-on feature and was more engaged with the artifacts, increasing their curiosity to learn 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 hinder in the design process. We identified following constraints
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 a variety of options to choose from. We chose these two because of the different sets of usage and experience they offer.
Ornamental artifact providing a 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 sessions 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 not to 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 photogrammetry 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 an 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 suggested moving our AR application to Web AR. The website has a QR code through which visitors can directly open the website.
We conducted the next round of testing with a high-fidelity prototype. Because of the COVID situation, we decided to go for a remote AR experience and decided to introduce a website. We provided the URL of this website to our participants and asked them to explore it freely.
Changing buttons format
The design of earlier UI seems to have hindered users' view and is also distracting with bold colors when trying on the jewelry. We iterated to tone down the UI to make it a better experience when trying on the jewelry.
Changing card design and placement
The previous card display placement blocked users' faces. We redesigned the card and placed it at the very bottom. We reorganized the information to divide it into multiple cards not to overwhelm users with a lot of information at once.
We iterated on the color palette to make it look more modern and suited for the museum experience. Because we were designing for IU, the new color palette was inspired by IU's brand colors to make visitors feel more related to IU.
Users can select a culture to explore
Users can read about the culture's information
They explore the jewelry pieces to try-on
Users can rotate and scale the piece to get a closer look
They try-on the ancient jewelry
They can learn about jewelry through these cards
They can also listen to the information
Creating an onboarding experience on the app 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 accommodate different artifacts from the Museum.
With a first-time AR learning experience, we also faced several challenges while making the design application. It’s necessary to adapt to every situation and go with the flow.
Selecting the right technology is essential 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.
Designed by Sukruti © 2020