Ancient Jewelry

An augmented reality mobile app that helps museum visitors be engaged with the artifacts while providing them learning experience

Client

Eskenazi Museum of Art

Duration

3 Months

Team

Sukruti

Cayli

Soha

My Role

Researcher

UX Designer

AR Developer

Tools

Figma

Zapwork

Photoshop

Design an Augmented Reality solution to enhance the experience of visiting the
ancient art gallery in the Eskenazi
Museum of Art

Outcome

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.

How might we enhance museum experience to engage the audience while educating them about rich history and culture behind the exhibits?

Try-on feature to experience ancient exhibits

The audience enjoyed the jewelry try-on feature and was more engaged with the artifacts, increasing their curiosity to learn more about the artifact.

Scaling and rotation feature to see intricate details closely

The audience found it difficult to look closely at the Jewelry exhibits, not able to experience its detailed designs adequately.

Text and audio feature for better
virtual experience

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

Understanding user needs through research

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.

Key Insights

1

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.

2

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.

3

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.

Museum tour helped us in identifying constraints

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

1

2

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.

Turning pain points into design opportunities

Pain Point

Design Opportunity

1
Arrangement of objects limit visitors from having fulfilling experience
Exploring the artifacts through engaging interactions with the artifacts
2
Lack of Context on artifacts taking away the interest & engagement opportunity
Finding a way of storytelling to make users better understand the history behind artifacts
3
Loss of interest due to extraneous information on the labels of the artifacts
Redefine the information written on the labels to make it an interesting read

Setting design principles to guide design decisions

We began by choosing an artifact from the museum

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

Narrowing the scope by idea selection

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.

Working on Low-Fi prototypes

Wizard of oz. to test out the concept

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

Iteration round 1

PAINPOINT #1

Text-heavy Information

The users moved forward without reading the whole information

Solution

We decided to present information in card format and added audio feature not to overwhelm users with loads of information

Version 1

Version 2

PAINPOINT #2

Unable to see intricacies of Jewelry

4 out of 5 users conveyed to still not able to see the Jewelry designs closely

Solution

Adding Rotation and Zoom-in functionality to view the complex designs accurately

Version 1

Version 2

Project pivot due to COVID hit

The coronavirus pandemic hit while we were still in the middle of the project. The Museum was closed and we encountered the following challenges:

1.

Closed Museums

2.

No photogrammetry for 3D modeling

Due to Covid, the museums were closed, and we could not implement our designs. Also, the users would not be visiting the Museum and we had to provide a new way to showcase our application.
We could not do photogrammetry because the Museums were closed and the artifacts could not be taken out from the case for photogrammetry(way of creating 3D models)
Opportunity
Opportunity

Introducing website to move the experience from physical space to virtual space.

Utilizing Sketchfab website to get the similar looking 3D models.

We made our collection online by introducing a website

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.

High-Fidelity Testing

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.

Version 2

Final Design

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.

Version 2

Final Design

Color palette iteration- Following IU's brand colors

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.

Creating application in Zapworks

Final design

Home Screen

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

Future Work

Introduce Onboarding

Creating an onboarding experience on the app to better inform users on how to use it.

Adding more interactive features

Adding color change interaction features, making users visualize how differently the jewelry would look in bronze, copper, silver, etc.

Expanding AR app to other artifacts

The app is expandable to accommodate different artifacts  from the Museum.

Reflection

Adapting to unavoidable challenges

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.

Identifying the right technology

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.

Thanks for reading!❤️
So glad you made it here, and I hope you enjoyed the case study. I would love to hear your feedback or thoughts about it. Don't forget to check out my other projects

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Interested in working together? Get in touch!

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