Redesign the exhibition experience of computer games for future visitors at the CSM
Documentation › Content
Introduction › Seite 5*
Project Pitch › Seite 5*
Design Thinking › Seite 6*
The Process › Seite 9
Understand › Seite 9*
Observe › Seite 11
Synthesis › Seite 13
Ideation › Seite 21*
Prototyping › Seite 22
Testing › Seite 24
Iteration › Seite 26*
The Concept › Seite 28
Business Design › Seite 32*
Summary › Seite 34
The Team › Seite 36
Appendix › Seite 38
* parts written by Frederike Engelhardt
Introduction › The Challenge
Introducing our six weeks challenge …
our challenge: Redesign the exhibition experience of
computer games for future visitors in the context of an
our project partner: The Computerspielemuseum Berlin
(csm) is the first of its kind. Opening its doors in 1997 it
is the only permanent exhibition worldwide of computer
games, showing over 300 exhibits. The museum is priva-
tely held and open to the public six days a week.
Project Pitch › Future Games Experience
The csm lacks a clear defined vision. Our solution is an
example of how the games museum could be turned into
“Berlin’s most playful museum”. Providing an example
of a game-like tour guide that adapts to the needs of the
individual museum visitor, the concept transforms the
exhibition into a game itself.
C o m p u t e r s p i e l e C o m p u t e r s p i e l e
M u s e u m
V I S I O N
Design Thinking › The Process
How do we tackle a complex problem without getting
lost in its complexity? How do we manage to understand
our users and design without biased lenses? How do we
create this understanding, and how do we find the main
problem? How do we solve users pain points and come
up with great ideas? Do we generate lots of quantitati-
ve data and statistics? Or do we develop products and
processes to try and find user groups to like them? What
is our working environment, structure, and culture? Do
we sit in an office with a desk and chairs? Do we stare
at white walls and a computer? We could, but we have
found a different way and invite you to follow us on our
Design Thinking (DT) journey...
Design Thinking is always human-centred, this is why
the user’s experience and story are at the core of our
Design Thinking is comprised of three parts: people,
place, and process. We work in multidisciplinary teams
and are able to apply different angles when analysing
challenges. We exchange cross discipline knowledge,
experience, and skills. We also work in variable spaces
that allow us to be active – DT encourages a visual and
hands-on working approach.
The fluid six-step model – a “system of spaces” (Tim
Brown, 2008), encourages failure and provides a space
for continuous iteration and therewith, improvement.
We have learned that it takes more than just an approach
and toolkit to be confident in creating. Using Design
Thinking, we hope to grow our emotional intelligence to
gain empathy and create designs that matter in the long
term. “As more of our basic needs are met, we increasin-
gly expect sophisticated experiences that are emotionally
satisfying and meaningful. These experiences will not be
simple products.” (Tim Brown, 2008)
Quelle: HPI School of Design Thinking
The Process › Understand
Slightly contradictory to most practices, in order to move
forward, we need to take a few steps back. This means
that we deep dive to gain understanding before tackling
a new challenge. A solid foundation will include but is
not limited to context, background, characters, statistics,
time frame, and many individual facets/factors acquired
through user research.
‘Understanding’ is the first step in the Design Thinking
process. Our first challenge as a team was to learn about
each other, finding a team symbiosis to bond and allow
for open and honest communication and feedback. We
then discussed the challenge from various perspectives
accounting for many small details that in turn gave us a
holistic picture of the csm landscape. Using the human-
centred approach, we identified existing and possible
future users, stakeholders, as well as the environment they
Meeting our project partners added another level of
understanding. It paved two different paths of how the
challenge could be approached:
#1 Designing within the current exhibition space: Ge-
nerate practical ideas of how to manage a private museum
business, to develop it and to run it with limited resources
and a low cost budget.
#2 Thinking about the future: Create a future concept
for the expanding museum with a vision that will attract
Key take-aways from the kick-off meeting:
The museum is visited by extreme and diverse user•
The project partner is looking for a cost-effective•
solution to design the exhibition experience that will
attract a diverse pool of users
The development of gaming is related to our high-•
tech fast developing society
Everyone has a connection to games•
The museum is expanding and might move into a•
bigger space in the near feature (1–3 years)
The project partner wants practical input that can be•
implemented in the future
The Process › Observe
Field Research | Observation | Interviews at the CSM
why: Our objective was to gain insight into the different
user experiences at the csm. We also wanted to gather
stories about worst and greatest museum moments, find
out what could prompt them to go to a never before visi-
ted museum, as well as understand what their major pain
points were within and around exhibitions and museums
how: First phase: participant observation at various muse-
ums in Berlin. Second phase: conducting (20+) interviews
through qualitative research.
where: We did ethnographic field research at the follo-
wing museums; Deutsches Filmmuseum, DDR Museum,
Haus der Geschichte, csm. Most interviews were con-
ducted on site at the csm, but we also talked to visitors
of the other museums.
whom: Our user pool was quite diverse; offering a fair
representation of gender, age, frequency of museum visi-
tations, and computer game playing level engagement.
(more importantly) what: We asked users some of the
following questions: What did you enjoy the most at the
csm today? What did you like least? What’s your favou-
rite museum experience? What would you change here if
this was your museum? Would you recommend the csm
to a friend – why or why not?
We looked at diversity, mood, focus, immersions, multip-
le senses, excitement and themes.
Initial Observations – described in adjectives:
“cool” / “modern” / “spacey” / “pixel-y” / “dry” / “static” /
“monotone” / “informative” / “out-dated”
“information-overload” / “not kid-friendly” / “old-
school” / “2009 and then what?” / “no clear orientation”
/ “gaming levels missing” / “random objects in corners” /
“what? There is a structure?”
Gold nugget: People gather around interactive areas.
Contradiction: People told us “One floor is not enough” –
but at the same time they had no patience to investigate
the whole museum.
Most funny post-it: “When I was small” (a lot of people
enjoyed themselves being nostalgic).
Mr. Noseum: “Usually I don’t go to museums but here I’d
go…” / “I’m usually not a museum person...”
The Process › Synthesis
Important/interesting details from the interviews:
say: More play, less info – actually engaging with the
consoles rather than reading lengthier pieces about them,
inclined users to have more fun.
do: Play – playing against an opponent, whether friend
or stranger, created excitement and amusement amongst
think: Fun – the gaming through games component
brought in a element of challenge and competition,
which was perceived as a fun collaborative task to tackle
feel: Nostalgia – by being able to revisit either childhood
or teenage years, the csm instilled an overall positive
feeling amongst users.
Findings of the first observation session
THE STAIRCASE MODEL
After observing and gaining insights from a variety of
visitors, we decided to analyse the connection between
identified needs among visitors (end users) and existing
resources. To visualise the connections between the
findings, we created a staircase-like model that sorted
our findings. Reflecting on the value creation directly
affecting the visitors, we tried to find a crucial touch
point that needed development to increase the end user
The LEARNINGS of our staircase model showed:
An unclear vision leads to• inefficiency within
the organisation, which leads to an unfocused
The level of satisfaction of the visitors seems to be•
connected to the feeling they get when visiting
the museum. This is highly connected to their ex-
pectations. If visitors don’t know what to expect,
they tend to end up with higher expectations than
the museum can meet.
It is easy to put physical objects in a room, but hard•
to fill them with life. Just because a game
itself is interactive, it doesn’t mean the museum it is
placed in automatically becomes interactive.
CONCLUSIONS from the use of the staircase
A lack of vision has a huge effect on every other•
activity of the museum
The identified problems do not arise from a lack of•
objects (nor information) to experience. Right now,
the csm does not seem to use the potential of how
existing objects could be experienced.
Prior to the staircase model analysis we still lacked key in-
formation on visitors to create a persona to focus on and
design for. Going back to the museum for more research
can be seen as our first iteration within the process phases.
Stair Case Model on a white board
Insights of our second observation phase
A lot of old gamers said “I go here because I want to•
see what I used to play”.
There is a lot of one directional information presen-•
ted in tiny text.
It’s hard to get the logic of the labelling of the diffe-•
It’s difficult to understand how to play a lot of games•
and which ones are suitable for beginners.
There is no consoles nor objects that kids can play•
with – in fact, there isnt any playing ground for kids.
There is democratic way of presenting objects and•
information, everything seems to get the same atten-
tion and space.
No instructions which games are in english.•
Information hasn’t been updated since 2009.•
Unclear which machines you have to pay for to play.•
The different game- and reading stations seem to•
disturb each other.
A lot of the visitors said “I´m not a museum person”•
but they’d come to the csm because they expected it
to be playful.
Many of the older visitors seemed to be most excited•
of the nostalgic feeling of seeing “their old games”.
People today are used to “self explained” games and•
technology and get frustrated trying a game they
don’t understand immediately.
You don’t respect game “equipment” when you are•
angry – visitors lost patience trying to start playing a
People get confused when nothing is highlighted and•
“recommended” in the museum – there is a lack of
information distribution and hierarchy.
More diversity among expectations among customers•
than in other museums – many people with a “close
relationship” to the subject leads to expectations. I’s
therefore crucial to know what to expect (vision)
to avoid disappointment.
There is a lack of what computer games mean•
for people; challenge against yourself and others,
competition, possibility of entering another world to
become someone else, etc.
Many people tend not to come back because their•
expectations were not met during their first visit.
A lot of people kept telling us:
“I’m not a museum person, but I went here”
… and we found that really interesting!
Our personas and important insights on how to meet their
After a lot of interviews and observations of people, both
visitors at the CSM but also visitors in other museums
and people that usually don’t go to museums, we started
to see patterns. These patterns resulted in 3 important
customer types for the CSM, so called personas.
feels nostalgic while she’s experiencing what she used•
goes to the CSM with high expectations•
Wants to be updated on the latest games, though she•
isn’t updated anymore
brings her kids to the museum•
Important insights about the different visitor groups:
An easy customer to get there but hard to satisfy. She will
go there if she gets the information. but, she has a lot of
expectations to meet, so its important that you keep
her satisfied. She has also a great ambassador poten-
tial if you play your cards right. She is the one who will
bring friends, and maybe also can contribute with her
knowledge if you create a connection with her.
She is also the customer that most likely will come back if
she likes it.
wants to learn new things•
thinks information is entertaining•
is able to process a lot of information•
He is also easy to make go to the museum, and will come
if he get information about it. He is satisfied with the
existing museum setting today. To make him come back
you need to change content though Mr Museum is always
looking for new information.
“I’m not a museum person, but I went here”
doesn’t like regular museums•
likes to play and compete•
more interested in doing than reading•
enjoys himself together with others•
has little patience though he’s used to intuitive•
The biggest group of people and a great po-
tential to new visitors. Will go to the museum if their
interests are met. A lot of these people go to the museum
today but are disappointed though they don’t find the
museum interactive and playful enough.
The Mr. Noseum people seemed to be the most
promising group to design for. It is the largest
group of people and a great potential to new
visitors if you meet their interests. What’s also
very interesting is that a lot of Mr. Noseums al-
ready seem to find their way to the museum. So
we started to investigate: why? … and our focus
was now set on them.
The Process › Ideation
Within ideation we focused on the following
How to make people addicted to the• csm?
How to turn the• csm into a game itself and make it
a challenge, competitive and playful?
Here a a few of our main ideas/findings that came up
within the session:
The vision cards: Create a set of cards that enable the
museum to chose from when developing a vision with
components they should mind
The tour: Create an individualised tour so different visi-
tors will experience the museum in different bur suitable
During iteration we realised that we still needed time to
reflect on our insights between brainstorming sessions.
Although creating lots of ideas, it was crucial for the
team to also discuss the ‘staircase model’ again and gain
an understanding of how a vision could look like for the
museum. We also realised that at this stage, we were not
able to generate a suitable Point of View.
The Process › Prototyping
The aim of prototyping was to visualise our main ideas
from ideation. We wanted to develop a better under-
standing of how an individualised and playful game
experience in the csm could look and feel like. While
prototyping we relied on a mixture of analog and digital
methods, mainly to create an understanding of how the
gaming process is perceived by the user. For example, we
prototyped a green screen solution to bring the visitors
closer to their avatar into the game. We wanted to re-
create the experience of what it could feel liek to truly be
in a game.
While prototyping, we realised that the museum game
should be divided into three parts: a check-in, the tour
itself and a check-out.
As our prototyping was closely related to the testing
phase, we collected a variety of physical materials we
needed for the in-house sessions (ie. clothes to dress up
and create an avatar and a cube that served as a check-
in-tool) and took them to the museum with us. Since we
tested our idea with people from a variety of backgrounds
and interests, ie. gamers and non-gamers, we prototyped
different game tours while testing, all consisting of the
previously mentioned three parts. To be able to test in a
safe and quiet environment, we went to the museum on
its closing day.
Testing at the csm
The Process › Testing
After creating our basic prototype, we moved on to tes-
ting. This was done through an iterative and experimental
way based on ‘quick and dirty’ prototypes. The feedback
we got during testing, combined with observations gave
us the opportunity to create a deeper understanding for
our users. It also showed us how challenging it can be to
build a tangible prototype for an intangible experience.
Goals of testing:
To investigate what makes people excited when it•
comes to gaming – what are the most important
To experimenting with a individualised guided•
To prototype the feeling of how to be in a game•
Main results from testing:
While prototyping, it evolved that the game should•
include three parts: a “check-in”, an “individualised
guided tour” and afterwards a “check-out”.
“The check-in gets us into the mood for gaming –•
this is essential.
The individualised tour is key because we found our•
test-users liked to be guided and appreciated it more
than experiencing the museum by themselves
The check-out was helpful as it summed up how the•
testers liked the competition part, adding that they
would like to rather compete against friends than
strangers, which helped us ideate of how we could
get people to come back to the museum.
By scanning the following QR-Code, you can get some
impressions of the testing in the museum:
The Process › Iteration
As previously shown in the reflection of our Design
Thinking journey, iteration within the process did not
just occur at this late but also at a quite early stage when
we realised that our observation data was not sufficient
to work with. We had to go back to the museum conduct
more interviews and generate more insights. Looking
back we realised that while working there are smaller and
bigger iteration phases.
Testing showed us that our visitors liked the idea of
playing their way through the museum but something
seemed to be missing: There was no real setting for our
game, the visitors did not see a context in which to play.
For us, this was the realisation that a game without a story
does not work.
Coming back to d.school we started to build a story
around the game. Through brainstorming we collected
ideas of what kind of stories could suit the csm and ena-
ble them to present their content in a plausible way.
In the end we developed of a story about travelling to
the past to experience different epochs of gaming. The
story appealed to us because it seemed easy to be modify
and also a good way to adapt to different interests as well
as various visiting times of users. As lots of visitors of the
museum that we talked to asked for more updated and re-
cent information, a chronological content structure might
help the museum to update their exhibition continuously.
The Concept › The CSM – A Game Itself
The observation phase showed that the museum’s vision
affects the way the exhibition is set up. As people want
to experience the museum in an interactive way, we
developed a claim for the museum: “Berlin’s most playful
museum”. This claim next had to be transferred into
the exhibition experience. Analysing our insights from
testing, it became clear that people like to play their way
through the museum. Thus, to make this exciting there is
a need for an overall story, as is the case with any popular
… and our story ended up something like this:
When entering the museum the visitors check in by
putting in information about their age, game experience
(please see testing videos for full explanation). Thereafter
they enter a time machine that should take them to the
future, BUT something goes wrong and the group ends
up in the past. To get out of there, they are presented with
multiple challenges to play their way back to the present.
To make the csm into a game itself, the most crucial part
is to incorporate the component that makes people love
We found out that these components are:
to solve challenges•
compete against others•
step into another world and be someone else•
immerse in the setting (music, visuals, bodily consi-•
deration movement & interaction)
»The future Computerspielemuseum
will be a computer game itself«
»Transform the Computerspielemuseum
into the world’s most playful museum«
Berlin’s most playful museum«
the core parts of the concept
The check-in:• The visitor creates his/her own avatar
that will lead through the exhibition. This avatar
can exist on any given device like a smartphone,
augmented reality or even just on a piece of paper.
To customise the experience, the visitor also has to
answer questions about his expectations, time cons-
triction, and interests in connection to the museum.
This information provides a basis on which matching
questions and tasks a smart algorithm sets up as an
The individualised guided tour/gaming:• The visi-
tors navigate through the museum by playing their
way through different decades. This they do by, for
example answering questions and collecting points.
Prior to the game itself, they are shown a short trailer
of their situation (in this case: how they accidentally
end up in the past) to get them into the gaming
The check-out:• A point system allows the visitors
to post their high scores and gaming pictures on
different social media platforms (eg. Facebook/
Twitter/Instagram). This helps the csm reach a wide
audience as it challenges visitors’ friends to engage on
a light-hearted playful manner. The competition part
is a golden nugget for communication activities.
Business Design › technology, business &
Approach challenge on two levels:
#1 Vision – structure all activities under one vision will
help the museum to position itself. This leads to:
#2 Experience – develop a museum experience that fits
the vision. This means: If the csm wants to become
“Berlin’s most playful museum”, it has to be transfered
into an individualised game itself. This will allow diffe-
rent visitor groups to experience the museum in different
Feasibility: How could the gaming experience look
Transforming the museum into a differentiated gaming
experience can be done in an analog or digital way.
Depending on the investment, the game could be a “low
cost” (analog) solution or more of a “high end” product
on a mobile device. Regarding the development of the
smartphone technology, it might make sense to set up
the game as a mobile application and provide it by either
allowing a free download or handing out suitable devices.
How viable is the idea?
The• csm has the opportunity to integrate our
concept on different levels. If the museum plans
on working on their organisational structure and
defining a vision, this means that activities on all
levels (normative/strategic/operative) would have to
be conducted according to it. Furthermore, a vision
could lead to a creation of a common understanding
of where the museum is going to head in the future.
By creating this understanding, the museum can
approach stakeholders in a clear way.
The museum also has the opportunity to start on a•
smaller level, by testing out different gaming formats
and setting up a suitable game. This format can
easily be integrated into the current structure of the
Summary › The Future Games Experience
Our challenge was to redesign the exhibition experience
of computer games for future visitors in the context of an
expanding organization for the Computerspielemuseum
To get a deeper understanding of the challenge we
visited a lot of different museums and talked to a lot of
different people, basically, we did a lot of observing. By
gathering our insights we created the persona Mr. Nose-
um. He is the guy, who is usually not visiting any muse-
ums. While ideation we thought about many possibilities
to attract him coming to the csm regularly, knowing that
he expects to play. We prototyped these ideas, we tested
them and we came up with a vision:
Making the csm the most playful museum in Berlin by
turning it into a game itself.
The Team › Level Up
Management, M.A. (ongoing)
Communication Design, B.A.
Integrated Natural Resource
Management, M.Sc. (ongoing)
Integrated product development,
Mechanical Engineering, B.Sc.
Business/Hotel and Tourism
B.A. Double Major
University of Potsdam
Anita Mya Sehagic
Psychologist and Musician
Industrial Design und
newthinking communications GmbH
Appendix › Additional ideas
How to make the csm into a game itself?
Challenges: an important and crucial aspect to integrate
into the museum this can be used in how to navigate the
now: Challenges could be created easily in the current
settings with colour coding our small symbols.
in 5 years: In the future different rooms for the dif-
ferent decades would be a suitable setting for the current
Treasure hunting is exciting – By trying to find objects
you get permission to enter another room/the next level.
Finding the bad guy – A bad guy always make the game
exciting, can you integrate that in how to move on to the
Battle other people – Challenges are exciting. Can you
beat someone else? Then you are allowed to move on. Or
maybe you can collect points by “stealing” from others
when beating them playing a game.
Earn points by answer questions or play games – When
you reach a certain level of points are you allowed to move
Time pressure is a classic way to make it a challenge:
Can you solve the tricky game in time or maybe there is
someone chasing you.
Are you logical enough to find your way out of the room.
Maybe its not clear at first but if you look for it you might
find out. What if I just destroy that pigs house over there
and then I’m free to move on to the next level? (Wait that
sound familiar?! – lets do it!)
Playfulness: The most important aspect of them all
i. Try to integrate some kind of nerve - would it for ex-
ample be possible to make yourself invisible for others in
People like the social game Mafia – what if other visitors
didn’t know your identity and you have to find out who to
trust to make an alliance.
Labyrinths are exciting – what if you had to collect
points to find your way out.
It’s fun to engage your whole body in the game such as:
dive through holes, jump for points that makes sounds,
to actually be in a game, enter a world in google glasses,
avoid the lava on the floor or the quicksand are example
of details that add an extra nerve.
How to make people addicted to the csm?
Work with high scores – What if the person with the
highest high score became “the boss” of the game and the
other visitors had to beat that person to become the new
Challenges are addictive – Create the possibility to
challenges friends and other visitors.
Make it so fun that they can’t resist going there – make
every experience unique by creating different possible
routes in the museum.
People like to learn and feel smart – Make sure that in-
formation is presented in an interactive, fun and focused
way that makes people feel that they’ve learned a lot.
Everybody likes to win- create prices for people with a
great score, in the testing most people chose the price:
return with a friend.
Create a strong community and make people involved-
gaming is a strong culture, use it! - maybe someone wants
to share their knowledge in a seminar or similar. The trend
of geekiness is here to stay- take advantage of that!
The Photo Booth for social media – What if I can end
my experience with an instagram picture together with my
favourite game character – Social media it too important
to not put effort in especially when the visitors do the
HPI School of Design Thinking
Prof. Ulrich Weinberg
These ideas were created by a multidisciplinary team
of students at the HPI School of Design Thinking.