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Do You Know Who Your Users Are? The Role of Research in Redesigning


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Museums and the Web 2007, San Francisco, CA

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Do You Know Who Your Users Are? The Role of Research in Redesigning

  1. 1. Click to edit Master title style Hot Studio Do you know who your users are? The role of research in redesigning April 12, 2007 Museums and the Web Dana Mitroff, SFMOMA Katrina Alcorn, Hot Studio
  2. 2. Page 2 Introductions San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) Dana Mitroff Head of Online Services Hot Studio Katrina Alcorn Principal, Director of User Experience & Content
  3. 3. Page 3 Overview How 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
  4. 4. Page 4 Why a redesign? SFMOMA home page today -- current site design is almost 10 years old!
  5. 5. Page 5 Project goals We 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?
  6. 6. Page 6 turn it into a great idea 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 design • Research = science + a good listener • Research yields real information, but it takes creative insight to turn it into a great idea
  7. 7. Page 7 turn it into a great idea 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. • 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.
  8. 8. Page 8 How research fits into the overall design process We are here
  9. 9. Page 9 What we did Four 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
  10. 10. Page 10 Museum think tank session
  11. 11. Page 11 Best practices and heuristic evaluation
  12. 12. Page 12 Interviews
  13. 13. Page 13 Online survey
  14. 14. Page 14 What we learned The 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
  15. 15. Page 15 How we used this information Our research revealed many detailed findings. Some of these findings led to insights about what the target audience really needs. These insights inspired new and creative design ideas.
  16. 16. Page 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.
  17. 17. Page 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.
  18. 18. Page 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.
  19. 19. Page 19 Example 3. Web 2.0 Finding: 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 user participation. We have to keep in mind that our ultimate goal is to make the artwork more accessible. Design Idea: Bring in informal, outside voices and perspectives that can succeed with minimal user participation.
  20. 20. Page 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.
  21. 21. Page 21 Conclusion Conclusions • 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 you Dana Mitroff, SFMOMA, Katrina Alcorn, Hot Studio,