Maggie

ellipse magazine

The Memorial Art Gallery's new tour guide? A friendly chatbot.

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Roles

User Experience

User Research

Visual Design

Branding

Art Direction

Branding

Editorial Design

Project Management

Making your way around a museum can be intimidating experience, especially when you don't know the first thing about art. This makes wayfinding and curation vital to a visitor's experience at Rochester’s Memorial Art Gallery.

Maggie (get it? MAGgie?) is a wayfinding app I designed for Rochester's Memorial Art Gallery. The app uses a chat-based interface to help direct guests of the gallery to art that would interest them. Maggie provides the in-depth knowledge of a museum docent but still allows the a guest to peruse the museum at their leisure. 

I began my process by interviewing museum guests about their experience. I also observed how people moved through the museum. I spoke to high-schoolers, young families, and older couples. While the artistic literacy varied from novice to amateur historian, everyone mentioned difficulty in knowing what to look for and where to look for it. The Memorial Art Gallery is situated in multiple buildings with very different floor-plans, potentially turning a nice visit to a museum into a confused, stressful experience.

I also observed how guests tended to move through the museum. Older guests would generally be more likely to read information about the art on display, while younger guests would go from piece to piece, observing art based on its aesthetic qualities. But regardless of age or background, guests preferred to set their own pace while visiting the museum. Below are the insights I gleaned from this research.

ellipse magazine is the combined efforts of thirty-four creatives from RIT’s College of Art and Design. I was one of two creative directors elected by this group.

Our first task was the conceptual and visual development of the magazine. We talked about what was important to us. What we like and don’t like about magazines. And where we saw the future of publications going.

Our vision for ellipse was a magazine about our shared future—a future that we will into existence with every step we take. We would deliberately eschew expectations of what a magazine should be. We would create the magazine sustainably and collaboratively. And it would be larger than a simple print magazine, with interactivity and experience considered as a fundamental element of how we tell our story.

Frame (6)

Based on my interviews and research, I felt that a chat based interface would be an effective and novel way for the museum to interact with its guests. It was clear that guests prefered to gather information about the museum conversationally. Chatbots are also more intuitive for differing levels of tech literacy, which is necessary when the age range of your audience is high school to senior citizen. Finally, a chatbot would personalize the experience of going to the MAG — improving the experience and creating repeat vistors. 

I began to develop a script for each of the chatbot’s intended interactions. As the visual elements of a chatbot are inherently limited, this step of the process was vital in ensuring that Maggie could converse naturally with guests. I ended up with four types of interactions.

Hey there, this is the default text for a new paragraph. Feel free to edit this paragraph by clicking on the yellow edit icon. After you are done just click on the yellow checkmark button on the top right. Have Fun!

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easter egg

Art Direction

Branding

Editorial Design

Project Management

Maggie’s visual design had to be simple, communicative, and not get in the way of wayfinding.

Below are the final screens for the app's onboarding process. It both teaches users the main form of interaction with the app while developing a personalized museum experience based on someone’s taste in art.

ellipse magazine is the combined efforts of thirty-four creatives from RIT’s College of Art and Design. I was one of two creative directors elected by this group.

Our first task was the conceptual and visual development of the magazine. We talked about what was important to us. What we like and don’t like about magazines. And where we saw the future of publications going.

Our vision for ellipse was a magazine about our shared future—a future that we will into existence with every step we take. We would deliberately eschew expectations of what a magazine should be. We would create the magazine sustainably and collaboratively. And it would be larger than a simple print magazine, with interactivity and experience considered as a fundamental element of how we tell our story.

spooky

Art Direction

Branding

Editorial Design

Project Management

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These below screens show the app's wayfinding interaction. A message would be sent to a user, notifying the user to their proximity to the artwork in question. If the user accepts this prompt, Maggie gives simple, step-by-step instructions to help the user find the art they've been reccomended.

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The screen on the left shows the promotional interaction while the screen on the right shows the photo interaction. The promotional interaction will occur after the user has left the MAG and when there’s a museum event that would fit the interest profile of the user. The photo interaction is initiated by the user when they take a picture of art on display. Maggie gives a the name of the piece, the name of the artist, and a quick fact about it. The app then offers a link to a more detailed description.

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I animated these two quick Instagram teaser ads for the Memorial Art Gallery's promotion of the app.

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©Kevin Zampieron. All Rights Reserved.