As part of the course work that I am currently working on, I was asked to choose a project I would want to work on through the entirety of the course. I chose to build an audio tour app for an art gallery. Exciting? Yes. It is a concept that I have never worked on even at work so it was fun to hop onto this challenge and get the UX juices going. All the details, interviews, studies and research done here are based on fiction and assumptions while some of the feedback and ideas came from peers and friends.
So let’s get started.
Process & Research
The problem – Visitors to an art gallery are sometimes frustrated that they have to stand for long hours to read the details of an artwork/artist. If they have questions and are looking to learn more about the painting, the assistants are not much of help since they don’t see much informed.
The idea – To build an audio tour app for the gallery. This would enable users to listen to the audio of the artwork they are looking at and even get answers to their queries in the app. They can also use the interactive maps in the app to navigate across the gallery easily without assistance.
I began by doing a competitive audit of similar and relevant app across the domain. I put down all the points relevant to the app in a spreadsheet and also did an analysis to see what would be the best features to incorporate in my app. Working on the audit also helped me come up with features that could be made part of the app which would make the experience of using the app memorable for the users.
The next step involved getting into the user research – talking to people to understand the need for such an app and would it help them in their tours of galleries. I spoke to few friends, colleagues and peers to understand their preferences – how often they visited galleries, their interest in art, the curiosity to learn more about art, what makes a gallery tour memorable for them and more. I noted all these points down and based on the analysis of the points I drew out 2 personas. These personas covered the major base of users I was looking at.
Based on the personas, and the initial study and understanding of the users, I worked on a preliminary user journey map which would highlight the probable journey the user would go through from start to finish – from the moment they enter the gallery till they are asked to leave feedback of their visit.
The research threw in a lot of interesting insights which I kept aside to use once I got started with the design phase.
Armed with the research and documentation, I started work on the initial paper wireframes of the important screens and flows. The navigation was the first thing tackled – with multiple sketches of different styles, I narrowed it down to the style I would prefer for the app. The initial sketching is such a thrill. The ideations, brainstorming gets me excited. All potential solutions are sketched out and the best ones taken further and refined.
With the paper wireframes in place and the base concept of the app shaping up, I launched Figma to get started with the low fidelity wireframes. I worked on the main user flow and all the additional flows and shared it with peers to get the first set of feedback. Armed with those ideas, I made further changes to the wireframes and converted it a to interactive prototype. The interactive prototype helped me understand what was going wrong with the flows and what needed to be done to rectify it. Sharing the prototype with my peers also gave me additional feedback and thoughts on how I could improve the main user flow.
Now that the initial prototype in place, it was time for a usability test – to check if the main user flow worked well and what could be done to further improve it. I took a sample of 5 users, shared what needed to be done and what I would be taking out from the test and how that would help me better the app design.
The usability test went well and a lot of good points came in – improving the navigation, making it easier to onboard to the app and finding the listening feature easily were key. I took these points to the next iteration of the prototype. With the feedback I also started incorporating probable UI elements to the app to get it as close as possible to a real life app – also called the High Fidelity prototype.
Takeaways and Next Steps
Working on this assignment was a great way to learn the process of design thinking and how it could be applied to the design of an app. I had a chance to work on extensive research, talk to people, understand pain points and build user journey maps and personas. The key takeaway from all this is not the final design of the app but more of the process of creating and working on solutions. This sure will help me become a better designer in the future.
The next steps for this? To improve the prototype, work on the UI to make it visually appealing, work on the rest of the user flows and conduct more research and testing to nail down all the features of the app. The initial ground work has been laid and now it is time to build upon this and take this app further. I look forward to continuing my work on this app and learning more with the days.
If you want to check out a detailed view of this app, you can check out this presentation deck which covers in detail every step of the process.