MUSEUM APPOINTMENT BOOKNG
Prompted by my time working in the Drawings and Prints Study Room at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the aim of this project was to empower people to book appointments and visit the Study Room. I designed a feature for The Met’s website - an online appointment form - to take the mystery out of the process and provide an alternative booking method to the current phone only system.
Role: UX/UI Designer
Duration: 3 months
The goal was to improve the booking experience for the user and provide all required information upfront so user's feel empowered.
All visitors had different overarching goals and motivations, but they shared one thing in common: they were all focused on seeing artworks in person and having a one one one experience with the objects. Most fell into the three below categories: local visitors, one time non local visitors and regulars.
One of the main roles at the museum was to assist visitors with booking appointments and in doing so I observed the process closely.
The primary pain points were:
The web page for Study Room contact details and information isn't easily discoverable.
The only option for booking is to call and this can be difficult for visitors from different time zones.
Required information for booking an appointment, such as the accession number (museum objects numbers), is not stated on the Study Room webpage.
Some visitors aren't familiar with concept of accession numbers or how to look through the online collection.
research: Informal Interviews
I also conducted informal interviews with four Study Room staff members to gain their perspective on the user's experience.
Some key insights were:
The booking conversation can go a number of ways depending on the person and some calls are smoother than others.
Some people need more assistance and explanation about what and how many items are possible to request.
The way people submit the list of artworks they want to see varies greatly and often follow up and clarification is needed.
Booking over the phone and talking to people helps to build a relationship with the user.
rESEARCH: Competitive Analysis
An important part of the process was looking at comparable museums to understand how their appointment booking process functions. I looked at three prominent museums all with Drawings and Prints study centers.
With the persona in mind, I carried out a usability review in the form of a cognitive walkthrough. I carried it out as a first time user trying to find, fill out and submit an online booking form for a Study Room.
The nitty gritty behind the competitive analysis and the visualisation of the findings.
Finding the Study Room page and booking form required navigating through multiple layers of the website.
All three museums had an appointment form of some kind that the user needs to complete.
A contact phone number was either not given or difficult to find in all cases.
The Collection search was time consuming and required a lot of trial and error to find specific objects.
If a museum is to adopt an online booking form, the form itself and submission need to be streamlined and completely online, no printing or PDFs required. Contact information still needs to be easily discoverable for any questions or if help is needed.
digital and physical Journey
Keeping my personas in mind, I wanted to capture the full user journey from booking through the physical visit to the museum.
The booking process starts on the phone for all users but then diverges sharply depending on whether the user has the required information - most importantly the object accession number, artist name and title.
The proposed new user flow would streamline the process and give the user the appointment requirements up front. This way the user will feel that they have what they need to book an appointment from the first attempt. I would also still include the phone booking as an option for visitors who aren't tech savvy or need more guidance.
Based on the research and experience with booking appointments for visitors, I decided to focus on six primary screens. Outside of the core use flow of booking, I also decided to include Frequently Asked Questions and Object Information Help pages. This way the user will be able to find the help they need right away.
I wanted to ensure the designs were on brand with the rest of the The Metropolitan Museum's of Art's website. Therefore, I kept the colors and fonts simple and streamlined.
Prototype: desktop & mobile
To bring everything together I designed all the screens to be responsive for functionality on both desktop and for mobile. I also created an Invision prototype for the Desktop version which can be accessed here.
Reflection & Next Steps
I had wanted to add more functionality to this feature such as Account Creation and Saved History, but based on my research I came to understand that it was essential to keep this process streamlined and accessible for users, rather than loading it up with features that they didn't necessarily need. Furthermore, I wanted to be sensitive to the workload of the Development team which may need to prioritize other website features.The next steps for this project would be to get feedback from users and carry out usability testing with the prototype.