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Hot Studio
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
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
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
Page 4
Why a redesign?
SFMOMA home page today -- current site design is almost 10 years old!
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?
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
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.
Page 8
How research fits into the overall design process
We are here
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
Page 10
Museum think tank session
Page 11
Best practices and heuristic evaluation
Page 12
Interviews
Page 13
Online survey
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, dmitroff@sfmoma.org
Katrina Alcorn, Hot Studio, katrina@hotstudio.com

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

  • 1. Click to edit Master title style Hot Studio 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
  • 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. 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. Page 4 Why a redesign? SFMOMA home page today -- current site design is almost 10 years old!
  • 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. 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. 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. Page 8 How research fits into the overall design process We are here
  • 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. Page 10 Museum think tank session
  • 11. Page 11 Best practices and heuristic evaluation
  • 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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, dmitroff@sfmoma.org Katrina Alcorn, Hot Studio, katrina@hotstudio.com