Portraits Project. The Photographer’s Gallery.


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Museums are increasingly using digital technologies to enhance the visitor experience. Curators, who organise the exhibits, put a lot of care into presenting information to visitors through printed signs, portable guides and large interactive displays. However, there is less opportunity for information to flow in the opposite direction i.e. for visitors to contribute “content” to the museum.

Our challenge was to design an interactive digital technology to enhance the experience of visitors to a museum or gallery. The technology should let visitors contribute some form of content. Our final prototype was based on the findings from user research.

Our task was to design an interactive digital technology for a museum or gallery of our choice. We followed a user-centred design process, beginning with user research to understand the people, the place, the activities they engage in and the opportunities for new digital technologies, moving on to conceptual design and finishing with detailed design. We also undertook a small evaluation at some stage during our design activity.  Our final design was clearly informed by the user research and by proven HCI principles and guidelines.


  1. User Research

We started the design process with user research. We delivered personas, existing user journeys and requirements/design goals. We also used the following data gathering methods to inform our design:

  • Observations: We conducted observations in the Photographer’s gallery to understand how people behave when they visit the gallery.
  • Interviews: We used semi-structured interviews in person and via social media by using the hashtags and geo-location tools.

2. Conceptual Design

At the conceptual design stage, we explored different alternative designs based on the data collected in the previous stage. We delivered future user journeys, conceptual models and initial wireframes.

3. Detailed Design

Following conceptual design, we further developed one our designs -the interactive table- to create a detailed design. The detailed design was clearly grounded in your user research and HCI design principles. We developed the final wireframes and a digital prototype to use in the final stage of our project: Evaluation.

4. Evaluation

We performed one small-scale evaluation of our design with three participants. We used the evaluation to identify weaknesses (usability problems) in the design and to make recommendations for potential improvements.

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