Do You Know Who Your Users Are?

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Presentation on the role of research in redesigning SFMOMA.org.

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Do You Know Who Your Users Are?

  1. 1. Click to edit Master title style Do you know who your users are? The role of research in redesigning SFMOMA.org April 12, 2007 Museums and the Web Dana Mitroff, SFMOMA Katrina Alcorn, Hot Studio Hot Studio
  2. 2. IntroductionsSan Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) Dana Mitroff Head of Online ServicesHot Studio Katrina Alcorn Principal, Director of User Experience & Content Page 2
  3. 3. OverviewHow do we know who our current users are and what they want?What we’re going to cover today: • How our project came about • Why user research? • Our approach • What we did • What we learned • What we’re doing about it Page 3
  4. 4. Why a redesign? SFMOMA home page today -- current site design is almost 10 years old! Page 4
  5. 5. Project goalsWe had some big questions to answer• Who really uses our site?• Should we think of our Web site as a destination unto itself?• How knowledgeable are our current site users about modern and contemporary art?• How much detail do people need about our collection and exhibitions? Do they even understand the distinction? Page 5
  6. 6. Our approach to research • We believe that research should be more than simply an academic exercise • As designers, we focus our efforts on research that can improve designturn it into a great idea • Research = science + a good listener • Research yields real information, but it takes creative insight to turn it into a great idea Page 6
  7. 7. Quantitative vs. qualitative • Quantitative Research = Information presented in numeric form. • When should you use it? When you need to generalize about people’s specific responses.turn it into a great idea • Qualitative Research = Exploration of people’s behaviors, attitudes, opinions, and belief. • When should you use it? To gain deep understanding of the mindset of your target audience. Page 7
  8. 8. How research fits into the overall design process We are here Page 8
  9. 9. What we didFour months of research that included • Museum Web site “think tank” session • Best practices and heuristic evaluation • Interviews with new and returning Web visitors • Interviews with SFMOMA stakeholders • Online survey Page 9
  10. 10. Museum think tank session Page 10
  11. 11. Best practices and heuristic evaluation Page 11
  12. 12. Interviews Page 12
  13. 13. Online survey Page 13
  14. 14. What we learnedThe majority of users:• Come from a surprising variety of professions and backgrounds• Are interested, but not necessarily educated, about art• Are fairly passive about Web 2.0-type features• Don’t understand the difference between exhibitions and collections• Are not aware of the breadth of programs and content we have• Want to plan a physical visit to the Museum Page 14
  15. 15. How we used this informationOur research Some of these These insightsrevealed many findings led to inspired new anddetailed findings. insights about what creative design the target audience ideas. really needs. Page 15
  16. 16. Example 1. What’s going on? Finding: Most of our current users don’t differentiate between exhibitions and the permanent collection, and they aren’t even aware that the Museum programs events. Insight: Users just want to find out “what’s going on”—whether it’s a temporary exhibition, the permanent collection, or a public program—so they can plan a visit to the Museum. Page 16
  17. 17. Example 1. What’s going on? (cont.) Design Idea: Create a one-stop section called “Exhibitions + Events.” De-emphasize the collection in the main nav, and make it part of the specialized auxiliary navigation. Page 17
  18. 18. Example 2. Breadth and depth Finding: Our audiences aren’t aware of all we have to offer, both onsite and online. Insight: We have an opportunity to showcase our public programs and rich online resources. Design Idea: New promotional areas and lots of cross-linking. Page 18
  19. 19. Example 3. Web 2.0Finding: Our current users expressed surprisingly little interest in Web 2.0 features.Insight: Any features we incorporate into the site can’t rely too heavily on userparticipation. We have to keep in mind that our ultimate goal is to make the artwork moreaccessible.Design Idea: Bring in informal, outside voices and perspectives that can succeed withminimal user participation. Page 19
  20. 20. Example 4. Layering information for diverse users Finding: Our audience is incredibly diverse: how can we serve their needs? Insight: General site visitors are looking for very different information than scholars and academics. We must serve both well. Design Idea: Add detailed information in tabs and layers. Page 20
  21. 21. ConclusionConclusions• Just four examples of many of our findings• Research methods can be applied in your own institution• There are low-budget ways to do this yourself• Please take a hand-out!Thank youDana Mitroff, SFMOMA, dmitroff@sfmoma.orgKatrina Alcorn, Hot Studio, katrina@hotstudio.com Page 21

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