Museum Hack


Description: Museum Hack is a "highly interactive, subversive, fun, non-traditional museum tour" that operates in three cities, including New York City, Washington D.C., and San Francisco. The company currently does not have a mobile app.

My Role: I was the project manager, user researcher and lead UX Designer.

My Responsibilities: I conducted twelve user interviews, participated in contextual inquiry, competitive/comparative analysis, heuristic evaluation, affinity diagramming and and user journey. I also collaborated with wireframing and conducted usability testing. 

Tools: Google Forms, Sketch & Paper prototypes

View Prototype


The initial low-fidelity prototype was executed over a 2-week sprint in collaboration with one group member. After usability testing, we iterated our designs and created a high-fidelity prototype. The final design is optimized for an iPhone 6.



Value Proposition - Why Should Museum Hack Build An App?: More than 70% of museum visitors surveyed own a smart phone (and more than 80% took it with them to the museum) and the majority of museum visitors are already using their phones to enhance their cultural visits, creating an opportunity to leverage these existing behaviors. (Victoria & Albert Museum 2013 Mobile Vistor Market Study) Despite the growth of mobile technology in museums, about 4 in 10 museums do not offer any mobile features, citing the lack of dedicated budgets, limited resources and limited knowledge as key reasons. (Mobile in Museums Study)

Competitive/Comparative Analysis: I researched competitve companies such as The Navigator, the Smithsonian's mobile app and the Way Finder Explorer, the American Museum of Natural History's mobile app. The Navigator featured augmented reality, but focused on cut and dry information. The Way Finder triangulated your location using Bluetooth beacon technology, but was a difficult app to navigate. 




My colleague and I conducted two surveys – one screener survey with 44 participants and a follow up survey with twelve participants who had engaged in guided and audio tours at museums. Ten out of the twelve participants we sent the second survey to responded.

Based on our research, user’s top paint points with museums include:

  • Cut and dry information

  • Overwhelming content

  • Unsure where to start at museum

  • Crowds of people around the most important pieces and not being able to read the description

  • Cost of museum's tours Money


Other important relevations included:

  • The ideal time spent at the museum is 1 hour, with 2 hours being the maximum time spent

  • 9 out of 10 participants have not downloaded museum applications, with the main reason being they did not know they existed

  • 10 out of 10 participants used their phone at museums to take photos


For the User: As a museum goer, I want to have a fun and unique experience without the hassle of booking a tour and sticking to a strict schedule

For Museum Hack: As the company, I want my audience the opportunity to experience our unique tours outside of our 3 operating cities. 

Design & Testing

Design Studio: My colleague and I wanted the final prototype to have the same style as Museum Hack's website, but with an easy to navigate UI. By conducting a design studio, we were able to collaborate on the information architecture, navigation structure and overall UI. We timeboxed ourselves throughout the project to fast-track the design process during our 2-week sprint.

Iterate: Our first prototype had users hesitating over navigation, so we went back and iterated to produce the final prototype. By user testing from the initial paper prototype, to the medium and high fidelity, we were able to find issues in our user flow and design a better minimum viable product.

Usability: We ran usability tests on five individuals. The user data showed that users wanted to be able to go back through the product which we addressed by creating a clearer main navigation.

App Map

iOS Mobile App

The user begins at the loading screen, which leads the user to select their location from a drop down menu. This beta version only includes New York City based locations. 

The user has a profile, where they can view their tours. Once the tour's theme is selected, the user will receive brief details that include the length of the tour. Next, the user must use the map to tap on different pieces of art to begin their tour.

The user will choose to read or listen to each piece of art.