Xamining The Museum

Overview

Connecting virtual with physical reality within Chau Chak Wing Museum (CCWM). Using digital technology to deliver seamless experience, minimal user interference and rich storytelling.

The Story
For my second year project for university, we have to design a 'future-focused museum' in collaboration with Chau Chak Wing Museum (CCWM).

Xamining The Museum is a digital experience that involves the use of smartglasses interwoven with the artefacts within CCWM.
My Role
Interviews, Research Visualisation Design, Concept Innovation, Videography, Prototyping

‍Group of 4
August 2020 - November 2020
Tools
Figma, Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe After Effects

The Problem

In conjunction with the chosen design brief; “How might CCWM use serendipity to future-proof the museum and create a strongerconnection between visitors and objects”, we have chosen to specifically target the relationship between individuals and objects tobetter understand how these relationships are created. As such our research objective is:

“To understand the interaction between individuals and objects and thesubsequent behaviours and emotional journey resulting from this interaction.”

Through this research objective, we hope to learn how individuals define a relationship with an object, how the process occurs, andwhat the main factors are that lead participants to form strong bonds with certain objects.

The Process

Before diving into research, we have to ensure that we are able to gain valuable insights through data and cover all areas of our research objectives. Thus, we have split up research questions into fourcategories; Interaction, Resulting Behaviour, Emotional Journey, and Museum Experiences.

Interaction

- How do individuals form initial attraction/attachments with objects, and what kind of emotional journey do they go through?

Emotional Connection

- How does an object leave a lasting effect/impression on people?

- What is the process that one goes through to form an emotional relationship/connection with an object?

Resulting Behaviour

- What kind of patterns/important factors emerge when individuals go through their journey of forming an emotionalrelationship with objects?

- What sort of behaviors emerge when individuals like or dislike an object?

Museum Experiences

- What aspects of museums are people most drawn to?

- Why do individuals connect with certain objects/ exhibitions more than others?

Research

Questionnaire

Questionnaires were conducted as an extra research method since it is an efficient way for  “collecting large amounts of datawithout requiring trained facilitators” [Tomitsch, et al. (2018)] in “Design. Think. Make. Break. Repeat.” and extracting insightfulattitudes, behaviours and thoughts from users. This is further supported by Tomitsch, “a good questionnaire can give designersinsight into a person’s self-reported behaviours, attitudes or perspectives.”

Hence, we also had the opportunity to discover patterns within a variety of respondents, such as how often respondents have visited museums, what particular exhibitions theyenjoy, etc. In particular, the questionnaire gave us an idea of what age range engages with museums the least, so we canspecifically target that group as a way of future-proofing the CCWM.

Sensitising Exercises

We have established our sensitising process around the topic of “emotional connections to objects” as we hope to discover the patterns and behaviours of users when interacting with an object. This will help us understand what factors affect stronger connections between individuals and objects, and subsequently apply or subvert these insights to create a serendipitous, immersive experience.

As discussed in “Context mapping: experiences from practice” by Visser, F.S et al (2005) “the basic principle of the exercises in the package is to let people express memories, opinions, dreams etc. around the central topic in the study”. In order for participants to express themselves freely, our participants will be given a week to complete their sensitising activities at home in a comfortable, familiar environment, so they can, “pay their full attention to their feelings, attitudes and routines” Visser, F.S et al (2005). Moreover, to successfully draw productive and deep insights, we will create our sensitising exercises in a combined workbook and diary format to “stimulate participants to reflect on a daily pattern and slowly become more aware about their experiences” Visser, F.S (2005).

Egg Exercise

Our goal is to create our sensitising exercises to be out-of-the-box and engaging. Thus, our participants will be asked to take care of an egg over four days and document their interactions in a diary format. Each day, we will supply them with a simple exercise where they interact or perform an activity with the egg, with a focus on exploring their “feelings, attitudes and routines” [Visser, F.S et al (2005)]. Since the topic for our sensitising exercises is “emotional connections with objects” we plan to ask participants to smash their eggs one week after at our make-and-say sessions to observe their reactions. This will provide insight to whether participants are able to develop an emotional connection to a mundane and unusual object (an egg), and what the influencing
factors are if they can/ cannot.

Photo Exercise

Our photo exercise will be in a diary format where participants take two photos a day of different objects over the duration of three days. The second part of the photo exercise requires participants to pick the objects they resonate with the most/least and provide three reasons to justify their decision. We hope this exercise will provide insights to what factors initially attract individuals to certain objects, their likes and dislikes, as well as highlight any patterns in participant responses. We have decided to utilise the diary format as it, “supports the participant to continually think about the subject...” Visser, F.S et al (2005), and helps participants familiarise themselves with, and reflect on the relationship between an individual and object.

'Childhood, Middle, Present'

We planned to use the workbook format for our ‘Childhood, Middle, Present’ sensitising exercise. Participants will be asked to draw three objects that have resonated with them the most throughout the three stages of their lives (childhood, teenager, adult). By creating a “small booklet with open-ended questions to answer, things to draw” Visser, F.S et al  (2005), we hope to stimulate sustained engagement with the participants and make their task “fun so they keep working on it” Visser, F.S et al (2005), and provide thoughtful responses. We also hope to see whether their perspectives, preferences, emotional connections and interactions with objects remain the same or differ throughout each life stage.

'Ranking Influences'

Our ‘Ranking Influences’ exercise will ask participants to rank each factor (aesthetic, familiarity, storytelling, culture awareness, artistic learning, distinguishment) from 1-6, with 1 having the most influence on their attraction/interest to the object. Participants will then be asked to list and justify their top three choices. This is an easy exercise designed to reveal what factors are important in creating a user’s initial attraction to an object. We hope to understand what users find most/least important when interacting with objects, which should subsequently reveal what connects users to certain objects over other ones. This particular exercise will also provide insight to the patterns/ commonalities across participant responses.

Completed Sensitising Exercise
Make and Say Session

We have chosen three context-mapping activities; a collage, a timeline, and spatial circles to ensure we collect data that covers our participants’ emotions, feelings, and intuitive knowledge. As discussed in “Contextmapping: experiences from practice” by Visser, F.S et al (2005)”, the first collaging exercise will be positioned at the beginning of the participant-led make-and-say session to “open the minds of the participants by stimulating them to make associations and revive memories.” We have chosen to lay out our collaging exercise with an axes framework as it indicates change and attitudes - where the x-axis ranges from ‘then’ (left) to now’ (right) and the y-axis ranges from ‘like’ (top) to ‘dislike’ (bottom). 

We will provide the participants with a collage of diverse images consisting of literal and ambiguous images within different contexts and topics. This is supported by Visser, F.S et al (2005); who advises to incorporate a “balance between positive and negative images and between concrete and abstract images” to allow participants to interpret as they please, and “tell their own stories with the images and words”. Once the participants are provided with their collaging toolkit, they will be encouraged to freely express their thoughts and emotions as relevant to the question, “map out your experience when interacting with familiar/ new objects”. Consequently, this collaging exercise will enable us to “elicit memories and emotional responses” [Visser, F.S et al (2005)] from our participants, which will provide substantial insights to each participant’s explicit, observative and tacit needs, preferences and motivations [Sanders, E. B. N., & Stappers, P. J. (2012) ]. Through these collages, we also hope to understand how participants determine the value of objects, and their emotional journey with familiar/new objects.

Moreover, the use of cognitive mapping exercises such as the timeline and spatial circles is beneficial in “eliciting intuitive relations of patterns or processes” [Visser, F.S et al (2005)]. The timeline will be particularly effective in determining the participants’ basic journey throughout the museum. Additionally, through the use of layering questions, we can also delve into the four levels of knowledge [Sanders, E. B. N., & Stappers, P. J. (2012)] - particularly the tacit and latent levels - to truly understand our users’ motivations, preferences and behaviours. Similarly, spatial circles effectively allow participants to describe relationships and show links. Hence, by using this technique, we will be able to truly understand participants’ emotional priorities when creating a connection/relationship with an object.

Completed Make and Say Exercise
Post Make and Say Interview

Finally, we plan to conduct post make-and-say session interviews as an extra research method to follow up on interesting leads during the session, and discuss newfound insights with participants. In reference to Jacob & Furgerson, “When we interview, we ask people to share their stories”. As such, by using semi-structured interview questions, participants will be able to reveal personal attitudes, perspectives, insights and experiences in greater depth.

Analysis

Data Analysis

Once we successfully conducted our context-mapping sessions we started to analyse our data by transcribing our sessions and converting them to statement cards that would be useful in catalysing intuitive insights or themes. Through this process our synthesis and analysis of our data eventually became quite confusing as we were creating lots of recurring themes through grouping our statement cards ineffectively. Observing our first iteration of our Affinity Diagram of data analysis we realised that we were just stating facts in each statement card, which generated numerous repetitive themes, instead of analysing effectively and deeply.

However, by working collaboratively, we created several iterations of our Affinity Diagrams of data analysis. This allowed us to group the statement cards constructively and appropriately, eventually revealing intuitive and concise insights in the end. Throughout our data analysis process we worked well together as we all attempted to include everyone’s suggestions on potential insights we could establish whilst being critical on considering what was important. We tried not to force any preconceived themes or insights into our Affinity Mapping process as it is advised to analyse “with an open-mind [and be] prepared and surprised by what the participants have expressed” [Abram, S. et al (2007)]. Moreover, we took our time in synthesising as we all understood that data analysis is a significant and important stage for our research which is reinforced by Visser, F.S et al (2005) where we should “allow appropriate time at the start of a project to analyse the most important issues and consider how they are being framed”.

Final Affinity Diagram
Research Visualisation

Once we have collected the most intuitive and concise insight from our research, we started to create a poster that depicts the most important insights in hierarchical order and put into 3 categories, resulting behaviour, interactions and emtional journey. We also ensured that the poster we created will be able to communicate effectively to viewers who are unfamiliar with the research and might help the viewers to empathise with the target group that we have chosen.

Research Visualisation, 'Museum Storeys'

Ideation

Problem Space

With the insights we received, we wanted to make sure that we are able to target all three categories before brainstorming on an idea. Hence, we chose one insight from each category and created a question that we would want to answer with the prototype we will create.

We believe by doing this, we will be able to tackle multiple issues from the insights we have gathered with one prototype that we will create, creating a product that will provide a story that provides relatable and emotional connection for young adults.

Target Audience

Earlier in our semester, we were invited to Chau Chak Wing Museum's panel discussion to gain more insight into the demographics and vision within Chau Chak Wing Museum. One of the insight that we wanted to focus on is have better engagement with young adults in the museum. Thus, our demographics is

  • Young adults (18-25 years old)
  • People who like to go to events
  • People who wants immediate story/entertainment
Vision

The research insights are: live and immersive experiences, connection with objects through storytelling, familiarity and relatability. By focusing on these insights, we are able to create a live and immersive experience for young adults through storytelling with elements that are familiar and relatable.

As for the target audience, we wanted to create a lived and immersive experience that caters to young adults (18 to 25 years old) by illustrating exhibits in the museum through stor ytelling that is widely familiar and relatable to the audience. Finally, the vision we aim to achieve is

“Create a lived and immersive experience for young adults through storytelling”

Prototype

Storyboard

As a pair, we created 2 concepts each in a form of storyboards that would respond to the problem space, target audience and vision that we have created above. These storyboards were then refined to provide us with 4 unique concepts that we would be able to consider before choosing a final concept to work with.

2 Concept Storyboard by me
User Journey Map
User Journey Map
Xamining The Museum

Xamining The Museum is an immersive experience utilising smartglasses that aims to connect the virtual with physical reality within Chau Chak Wing Museum (CCWM).

For visual and auditory elements, Seamless experience is the aim, minimal user interafce is desired. Thus, visual and audiotory elements will be utilised. The smartglasses would also focus on specific parts of the artefact that might not be noticeable at first glance. With each focus, stories about the material/pattern of these small details would be told to the visitors.

Xamining The Museum's goals

Smartglasses is our technology of choice as it is less tidious than other devices such as a VR headset and it is a fairly new technology therefore will will catch visitors attention and promote future-proofing of museum.

Desired features on CCWM's smartglasses

A video prototype was created to show the key mainpoints and features of the concept that has been developed.

Conclusion

Xamining The Museum can be much improved with integration of more modern technology within the museum and smartglasses. Together, they would be able to provide visitors with a more in-depth and insightful experience while still having the artefacts as the main focus of their experience.

Xamining The Museum's smartglasses concept helps to deliver an experience without much movement or change, storytelling with sourced video that creates a compelling story and familiarity and relatability through neon design to mimic games together with simple video and storytelling.