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 making a visit to the Memorial Art Gallery fun and educational.
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.
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 visitors. I began to develop a script for each of the chatbot’s intended interactions. As the visual elements of a chatbot are inherently limited
These 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.
These 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.
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.
I animated these two quick Instagram teaser ads for the Memorial Art Gallery's promotion of the app.