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How not to involve users


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A case story about how The National Museum of Denmark have tried and failed to engage and involve users. From the least successful project - an interactive survey with serious UX flaws to a highly successful element consisting of post-its and pens. The message is to ask why instead of what or how.

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How not to involve users

  1. 1. OUTLINE1.  Presenting the National Museum of Denmark2.  Presenting “Europe Meets the World”3.  Presenting “Visitors voice”4.  What went wrong?  The product  The process  The concept5.  An integrated participatory element6.  Our most successful participatory element7.  What have we learned
  2. 2. 2. THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF DENMARKPlaced in city center of Copenhagen and home to six permanent exhibitions
  3. 3. ABOUT THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF DENMARKThe National Museum consists of 6 Museums placed all over Denmark- The open air museum in Lyngby-  The Resistance Museum-  The Museum of Industrial History at Brede Works-  The Danish Music Museum-  The Frøslev Camps in the south of Denmark-  The royal tombs in JellingThe museum is also responsible for collecting and preserving the Danish CulturalheritageThe six museums had 1,033,071 visitors last year
  4. 4. 3. EUROPE MEETS THE WORLDA temporary exhibition that ran for 7 months in 2012-  Coinciding with the Danish chairmanship of the EU-  Focusing on the meetings between European civilizationand the rest of the world throughout history fromancient Greece to the present.Quite a success when it came to publicity and number of visitorsA successful collaboration between departments in themuseum
  6. 6. 3. VISITORS VOICE-  A digital survey posing five questions related to the themes of theexhibition.-  In order to participate, visitors had to scan QR-codes which tookthem to specially designed mobile websites.-  The answers to the five questions could be seen on a smallscreen when leaving the exhibition. 
  9. 9. AND THE REST OF THE NUMBERS…Human Rights 398Prejudices 361Borders 323Religion 479
  10. 10. WHAT WENT WRONG?•  The product•  The process•  The concept
  11. 11. USER EXPERIENCEThis is how the screen was presented in your mobile browser:
  12. 12. USER EXPERIENCE 2Does this design make sense to you?
  13. 13. LACK OF VISIBILITY AND QR-CODE OVERLOADPeople’s attention was not drawn to the survey until they left the exhibition.There were three different kinds of QR codes in the exhibitions-  Several codes led to texts or sound bites used for an educational program forschools-  Some lead to videos where a curator would tell the story of an artifact-  Five codes lead to the surveyThere was not sufficient light in the cubicles to actually scan all the codes
  14. 14. THE PROCESS•  An add-on to the exhibition rather than an integrated part of the exhibition•  Form over content•  So ein ding….•  Nobody was responsible for the project•  There was not enough time to test the product and correct flaws•  Nobody had any knowledge of interaction design
  15. 15. THE CONCEPTThe real problem was:We started with how instead of whyWe should have asked ourselves:•  Is it an integrated part of the exhibition? (NO)•  Does this interaction make sense to the visitor (NO)•  Why should visitors bother to take part in this survey? What is in it forthem? (Absolutely nothing)
  16. 16. A DIFFERENT SURVEYShould we exhibit scalps?
  17. 17. ONE SIMPLE QUESTIONThe box was intriguingAn integrated part of theexhibitionOnly one QR code leading to onequestionAbout 1000 answers
  18. 18. A SUCCESSFUL PARTICIPATORY ELEMENTOur most successful participatory element last year:Write a message to thehandball players and put it on theboardPost-it and pensA sense of purposeOver 1600 greetings
  19. 19. WHAT HAVE WE LEARNEDTo start early and appoint a project leaderThat a participatory element should be an integrated part of theexhibitionThat we should put ourselves in the place of our users;•  Does our interaction have a purpose•  Does it make sense to visitorsTo start at why rather than how!
  20. 20. THANK YOU!Twitter: @Meeah79Email: marlenemee@gmail.comLinkedin: marlenemeeahrens