Design AR experience to bring people back to SFMOMA

Project Overview
The experience of COVID-19 has changed the world, making people afraid to congregate in public spaces, including museums. SFMOMA wishes to continue to provide the museum experience in the after pandemic era. What are some ways for it to continue its mission?
7 weeks
Product Design
April Chien
Danny Weng


How might we bring back people to SFMOMA?
Covid has brought about a fear of gatherings in public spaces, what are some ways SFMOMA can still foster its mission and promote openness and accessibility in the public sphere?
Intrigued from social media and web before visiting SFMOMA
Visitor in SF area could see ads of SFMOMA on social media and from there we'll introducing our concept and raise attention.
Connecting and interacting while visiting SFMOMA
Visitors could help create their own avatar by reacting to artworks while exploring SFMOMA. They could also see other people's reaction thus feel like are part of something bigger and interacting with people in a digital way.
Recieving and Sharing after visiting SFMOMA
User is able to get avatar result and share it after visiting the museum, creates a mutual interaction within their friends and family.


Before kicking off the project, We talked with our client to gain a better picture of the problem we are tackling with. We looked back into precedents and gathered information from our client and summed up the findings. After viewing the data of SFMOMA visitors before, we have a few key findings.
  • SFMOMA visitors are mostly local
    Most of visitors in SFMOMA located in San Francisco or close areas.
  • Regular visitors repeatedly visit their website
    59% of their online visitors are regular visitor. The regular visitors of SFMOMA also visit their website very often.
  • Website is a important channel for the first time visitors
    31% of their online visitors are first time visitors. A majority of first time visitor takes website as an important channel.

User Persona

To understand the users better, we conduct research on people who currently living in SF and built persona to help us identify the needs and pain points more clearly. We were able to create 3 personas and find our primary focus on Matt, which is the main visitor of SFMOMA.
Primary persona
Secondary Persona

User needs and constraints

We consider user needs and constraints before getting to next step for ideation.
User needs and business contraints

Our focus

Designing an engaging interactive experience for young adults in the SF area, fostering connections and inspiring repeat visits to SFMOMA


We came up with 3 ideas that matches our goal then discussed their viability.

Idea validation

To validate and prioritize our ideas, we talked to 2 users live in SF bay area.We bring the lo-fi prototype to them and asked them about their opinions. We surprisingly found out that users are highly intrigued by the idea of avatar creation and social lens. Thus, we decided to focus on these 2 ideas and proceed to build them into hi-fi.
Ideas evaluate

Hi-Fi Prototype & Iteration

Built hi-fi and iterated our design. Then we built hi-fi prototype and test with our users. Getting feedback helped us confirm the direction of our design details
Testing with users
User feedback - 1
User feedback - 2
Refinement Design
After the testing we realized that we tried to cover too much in one app. Based on user feedback, we iterated and revamp the design.

Visitor journey

We mapped out the user journey of museum visitor. The journey states how visitor will experience as going through our design visiting museum.
User Journey of museum visitor
Visitor experience when visiting Museum

Avatar types

The avatars represented different types of visitors, allow visitor to connect the museum visiting experience to their personal more personally as well as sharing with others.
the abstract - personality
the dweller - personality
visual Art for avatars
Visitor types

future opportunities

To continue to improve the experience of visitor types and profiles, there could also be multiple parts to a visitor type to indicate multiple aspects of their personality. And If SFMOMA wanted to expand into the metaverse in the future, these avatars could be used to represent people in that digital space.
the abstract - personality
the dweller - personality

Results & Reflection

The idea was presented to Jen Snyder, Director of Digital Experiences in SFMOMA, and Erica Gangsei, Director of Interpretive Media. Jen generally loves the idea that connects with people and solve the pain points for visitor in SFMOMA. Erica saw the project viable and provided with many potential development related to sharing in future. We got overall pretty positive feedback.

This journey guided me through gaining knowledge of designing an experience of visiting a museum! The work here is more planning and problem solving for both ends (business and users) instead digital interface making. I learned a new perspective when coming to ideation a solution. To design for public space, you think more comprehensively beyond digital interfaces.

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