A mobile application that helps to enhance visitors’ learning experience at the museum

User Research
Visual Design
7 weeks, Jan - Mar 2020
Figma, ProtoPie
Chris Hong
Wendy Gui
Yao Wang


The Burke Museum is a natural history museum located at the University of Washington, Seattle. Our team explored around how we can help the visitors of the museum have an enhanced learning experience through the design of a mobile app.

We aimed to combine the digital mobile experience and the visiting experience at the museum effectively and seamlessly.

The Challenge

How might we help committed visitors of the Burke Museum enhance their learning experience by providing them with more accessible and behind-the-scene information?

The Solution

Easily Accessing Events Information

Providing visitors a way to quickly know what events are happening now and in the recent future as they step into the museum.

Scanning For Behind-the-Scene Information

AR-powered scanning technology that enables visitors to learn more about an exhibit in front of them.

Exploring Beyond Interests

Space to explore articles and events based on interests both inside and beyond museum.


1. Competitive Analysis

2. Observations

3. Interviews

1. Competitive Analysis

Existing museum apps don’t complement the in-visit experience

• Lack of content - Many of the museum apps do not have sufficient information that visitors are looking for, such as event dates and updates

• Some apps provide the whole library of the museum’s collection, but they distract users’ attention while at the museum and do not complement users’ experience while at the museum

Competitive analysis of existing museum apps

2. Observations

Exploring visitors’ journey

To get a better understanding of how visitors interact with the musuem in their entire journey, our team first did some fly-on-the-wall observations at the musuem. We then created this journey map based on initial observations to help us understand the major touch points that visitors go through during their journey.

3. User Interviews

Diving into the target group & user needs

To get a better understanding of how visitors interact with the musuem in their entire journey, our team conducted user research to gain insights on the use group and specific problem spaces we were designing for. Specifically, we wanted to find out:
• why people go to the museum
• what they want to get out of the experience
• what are their main pain points and needs

User Interviews with 7 visitors & 2 staff members

Main Research Findings


Visitors are interested and want to dive deeper in the stories behind the exhibits.

Just to observe how it works and just to be there and because I never really thought about process goes into like preparing all the items for museum for they are put on display. - P1


Visitors are not completely aware of the special events information and want to learn more.

Do you know this museum they have open door events on the weekends?” “Oh, really? That’s really cool. If I'd known about that, we would definitely come back” - P4


Some visitors come to explore the museum with an interest in specific topics.

"I'd like to … hear more about how it’s used in the past like how it's used in certain rituals or ceremonies" - P3

Defining Visions

Our objective is to create an app that provides visitors with a rough overview of the museum, more in-depth information on exhibit details, and information about current and upcoming events for the visitors of the museum.

Target User
User Goals

Based on the observations and interviews, we decided to focus on the committed visitors, people who are committed to visit the museum on a regular basis.

The 3 main research findings helped us identify 3 main user goals that we identified and listed as a task flow below.

User Journey


To validate our assumptions and make sure the user flow is smooth for users, we conducted some initial user testing and gathered feedback from experienced designers for critiques. We made the following iterations based on the feedback we got.


Adding the Onboarding Experience

First-time users were not fully aware of the scan functionality

From the user testing, we learned that as first time users, people may not realize what the scan does, so we decided to add a brief onboarding flow that introduces this functionality and let users know they can scan an exhibit in front of them at the museum. I made this onboarding interaction on ProtoPie for hi-fi prototyping.


Iterating Layout

Card style was not very informative

In our early exploration, we displayed the content in the cards style as shown below. We learned from user testing that users didn’t know what to expect in the following cards and realized that we need to give users more sense of control. We decided to add a top sub navigation on the page that informs users what they will be seeing.


Upgrading Content

Design to engage users with dynamic content

To engage visitors in the museum visit and providing them with a more immersed experience, we incorporated various types of content such as audio, short videos, and trivia questions to have a more immersed experience while at the museum.

Final Design