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Can We Unmute the Value of Design?

Collaborating with Design Museum of Chicago to help them develop experiences and strategies to cultivate a deeper appreciation for the value of design to a wider audience.

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Creating experiences and strategies to deepen design appreciation and boost museum engagement post-pandemic.

Originally known as the Chicago Design Museum, the organization started in 2012 as a volunteer-run entity hosting pop-up exhibitions. The Design Museum of Chicago achieves its mission through free short-term exhibitions, dynamic public programs, and strong partnerships with arts, academic, and nonprofit institutions, thus providing context and a human touch to the influence of design in everyday life.

Project Team

Ayaka Uriu
Palak Shah
Sujith Samuel
Yiqi Zhong
Adelyn Soetyono

 

Duration

January 2023 - May 2023
 

My contributions

UX research
UX design
Prototyping (Digital/Physical)
Usability Testing

 

Challenge

Help boost awareness, fostering a profound appreciation for the value of design, and effectively raise awareness about the museum's offerings in a post-pandemic world.

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Despite initially hosting 175,000 visitors, the museum nearly closed in 2020 due to COVID-19. Since reopening, it struggles to maintain its previous attendance levels. Limited appreciation of design's impact may hinder its value recognition. The museum aims to raise awareness and attract more visitors despite its smaller size compared to renowned Chicago museums.

Strategy

Developing gamified experiences to enhance the appreciation of design in everyday life and boost visitor engagement.

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In 14 weeks, our team spent 7 weeks on thorough research, encompassing 10+ user interviews, intercept interviews, and extensive desk research. This phase provided crucial insights into the museum's current state and user perceptions, shaping a long-term strategy to boost visitor engagement in line with the museum's vision. Subsequently, we used this strategy to create a multi-modal experience as an example of its execution.

Outcome

An interactive public experience using kiosks across Chicago to contemplate the influence of design in daily life.

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We created an interactive framework for the Design Museum of Chicago's upcoming exhibits, emphasizing design's impact on daily life. Using this framework, we designed a campaign with five game kiosks strategically placed in Chicago. These kiosks encourage people to reflect on design's importance in their daily routines through gamification, ensuring complete engagement and an immersive museum experience.

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Strategy

Developing gamified experiences to enhance the appreciation of design in everyday life and boost visitor engagement.

Who is out target audience?

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Millennial working class Chicago residents.

As from our research,

  • Chicago’s largest demographic are people between 25 and 35 years old.

  • 34.4% of DMoC's social media audience are the same age group.

  • This group tend to seek new experiences that is accessible and enable them to explore.

What value should we bring in?

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Empowering Design Appreciation.

Our initiative should help community engagement by offering an experience across Chicago that enhances appreciation for design, promoting an understanding of its influence in daily life.

How can we deliver it?

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Developing gamified and memorable experiences.

Create an engaging and interactive experience within the city of Chicago, known for its history in design and architecture. This experience should be both enjoyable and educational, aiming to establish connections between Chicago's design icons and everyday design, ultimately raising awareness about the museum as a place for exploration and understanding the value of design.

Our Approach

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What did they say?

These were some quotes from our target audience on their perspective on design in general and what they understood about Design museum of Chicago.

“There needs to be some hand holding to get through the abstraction of design.”

“I don’t really look things up online beforehand. I like to be surprised once I get there”

“The power of design is great, but not many people realize the benefit of design yet”

“The most exciting thing I remember from recent visits was the interactive part of the museum”

What did we learn?

These were some quotes from our target audience on their perspective on design in general and what they understood about Design museum of Chicago.

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Experience should be more inviting.

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Design story should be understandable.

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Element of surprises are memorable.

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Experience should have tangible interactions

What did we do?

We've designed a framework based on the insights form our primary research for future exhibits. It focuses on interactive elements that encourage visitors to reflect on the impact of design in their daily lives. We developed this framework to provide a consistent way to attract visitors, despite the museum's rotating exhibits. By implementing it, the museum maintains a unique identity, sets clear visitor expectations, and adds an element of surprise with each new exhibition.

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Overview of the 5- fold framework that we created for Design Museum of Chicago.

This framework led ground work for the final outcome, public experience that we created for Design Museum of Chicago.

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Prototyping kiosks and phase 1 testing.

Outcome

An interactive public experience using kiosks across Chicago to contemplate the influence of design in daily life.

We introduced an interactive campaign that featured five strategically positioned game kiosks throughout Chicago, inviting individuals to reflect on the influence of design in their everyday experiences. The 'Design is Around You' campaign was thoughtfully designed to guide visitors through a comprehensive journey, enhancing the museum's appeal. It began with eye-catching kiosks that immediately captured the attention of passersby, generating interest in design-related concepts. As users interacted with the kiosks, they embarked on a passive exploration stage, fostering curiosity and engagement. Encouraging users to collect all five cards kept their interest alive and motivated them to visit the museum. After their museum experience, visitors departed with a newfound ability to recognize designs in their daily lives. This left a lasting impression and had the potential to foster return visits and generate positive word-of-mouth promotion.

User testing of the experience inside IIT campus.

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The experience journey map.

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The collectible cards at the end of the experience.

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The Screen UI prototype

Gallery

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" This is amazing work. You should really be incredibly proud of what you pulled together. This project is worth of hundreds of thousands of dollar by a big consulting firm" 

- Principal Senior Director, Design  

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