Museum of Pop Culture

UX | UI | Product Design | Design Research

Project Brief

The objective of this project was to design a digital extension for the museum to increase their interactivity and use of technology.

Tools Used

Figma, Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and After Effects


Many museums nowadays struggle to draw in their desired crowds and get active participation from their guests. The goal for this project was to determine where MOPOP was falling short with attendance and to create an interactive system that would receive more participation from guests and carry throughout the entire museum as opposed to just one exhibit.


I created an AR navigation app to guide users through the museum to different interactive touchpoints and personalize their experience with the museum itself. Guests can be guided to the interactive displays or experience a modified version on their phone.


A digital application for guests to use inside the Museum of Pop Culture that guides them to digital touchpoints and personalizes their experience.

Not a fan of research?

Preliminary Research

A Little More About MOPOP

MOPOP offers an exciting collection of exhibitions, rich pop culture content, unparalleled technology and a variety of unique spaces to choose from for a truly memorable occasion. Their exhibits cover pop culture, from the art of fantasy, horror cinema, and video games to science fiction literature and costumes from screen and stage.

MOPOP's Core Values

MOPOP works to “make creative expression a life-changing force by offering experiences that inspire and connect our communities.” The museum has a core set of values that they live by and speak about on their website. This was important information about the client that I kept referring back to throughout my ideation to make sure I was staying true to their brand.

Initial Problem Discovery

Due to being unable to travel to the museum myself, I began conducting my research by looking at reviews of the museum on sites like Tripadvisor and Yelp to see what guests were saying.
Quotes from Reviews
Exhibits are basic with little or no technology or guest interaction.
— Tripadvisor Reviewer
Nothing in the museum really captured the mind or enthusiasm of my teenage kids.
— Tripadvisor Reviewer
Really designed for an older crowd. Kids seem to blow through most of it without interest. We did the whole thing in a little over an hour.
— Tripadvisor Reviewer
We were just wandering around kind of lost. The layout was very strange…instead of a composed, connected flow. I think we had only spent about 40 minutes in there.
— Yelp Reviewer
Survey Results
After identifying that a major problem was lack of interest in younger guests, I sent out a survey to people my age to see what younger people thought about interactivity in museums and any frustrations they may face when going to a museum.
100% of surveyors said they would be more likely to return to a museum if it had an interactive digital experience.
75% of surveyors said they would be “very likely” to interact with a digital touchscreen if there was one.
100% of surveyors said their main frustrations with a museum were not knowing where to go or what to do
Takeaways / Pain Points

Guests feeling lost

A major problem I found from both of my research methods was guests not knowing where to go or what to do in museums and in MOPOP specifically.

Guests feeling bored/uninterested

Boredom leads to guests leaving quicker and not returning. Many reviews mentioned they felt MOPOP wasn’t interesting enough to younger audiences.

Guests not staying long enough

The length of time that guests stay in the museum shows how satisfied they are with their experience. Many reviews mentioned boredom causing them to not stay as long as they intended.

Lack of interactivity

I deduced that interactive displays were a great way to engage a younger audience, and many MOPOP visitors felt the museum didn't have enough of that.
Problem Statement

So, what is the problem?

MOPOP guests are feeling lost during their museum visit and feel that the museum is lacking interactivity, which is causing disinterest in the younger generation.

Why does this problem matter?

MOPOP is trying to gear itself toward younger generations but isn’t providing the services to entice that audience. Boredom and not knowing where to go are huge factors that directly affect the museum’s sales and return rate of guests.
Target Audience

Whose problem am I solving?

Although MOPOP is the client, I am solving the problem of the museum guests. By designing an extension that would entice younger generations, it will increase the museum’s sales and involvement from the guests. I created two different user personas to target both a teenage/young adult audience and also to target parents who are bringing their children to the museum.
Competitive Analysis

What solutions are out there already?

After my preliminary research, I started to look into how other museums are currently incorporating digital and interactive experiences, and how this technology is helping them.

Why are museums using these technologies?

These technologies allow for quick and direct transfer of information
They appeal to a modern audience
They offer alternative accessibility for guests with disabilities
They can make the history feel more present and relevant, and immerse the audience in the experience

How Might We...

Now that I know the pain points of my users and what technology is possible within the museum space, I could brainstorm solutions to MOPOP’s problem. The questions I asked myself revolved mostly around how to relate the digital experience back to MOPOP’s core values while bringing in interest from the younger generation of museum-goers.

User Journey Map

Before sketching out my solutions, I created a user journey map to lay out how the user would move through the digital experience to interact with the different exhibitions. For maximum accessibility, it was important that there were multiple ways to both find and interact with the exhibitions.

Opportunity Statement

MOPOP needs a way to increase the interactivity of their exhibits, attract a younger audience, and help guests navigate through the museum space.

The Solution

The MOPOP app helps guide guests through the museum to different interactive touchscreens and experiences, and personalizes the guests’ experience with the museum itself.
Paper Prototypes

Usability Testing Round 1

Testing out my paper prototypes with real users helped me to first test if users were interested in the idea as a whole and the features it offered. It was great to see my users’ enthusiasm for the concept and how they wanted an even more personalized interactive museum experience.
Paper Prototypes

Usability Testing Round 2

By testing out the wireframes, I was able to see what pieces of the functionality of the app users were and were not understanding.
Final Outcomes

Downloading & Browsing the App

Various places inside the museum would display a QR code for users to download the app to engage in the ultimate interactive experience. Once users download the app, they can browse through the available exhibitions and be navigated to any spot in the museum they choose, or experience some of the digital exhibitions on their phone.

Navigating through the museum

The main feature of the app is an AR navigation system that helps guide guests through the museum space. This was a solution to a major pain point of both MOPOP guests and young museum-goers in general. Guests can be navigated to interactive exhibits near them, or check the map or home pages to find exhibits and select one to be taken to.

Pain points addressed: feeling lost

Guitar Gallery

The first interactive exhibit I designed is for the Guitar Gallery. This exhibit features dozens of historically famous guitars and takes users on a journey of the development of the guitar in America. For this exhibit, I designed an interactive audio game where music-buffs would listen to isolated guitar sounds and determine who the musician was. The game could be experienced on your phone or via the large touchscreen kiosk inside the exhibition.

Pain points addressed: feeling bored/uninterested, guests not staying long enough, lack of interactivity
On the App
On the Touchscreen

Worlds of Myth & Magic

The next interaction was Worlds of Myth & Magic, an exhibit that had several different parts that showcased artifacts and settings from fantasy TV and movies. For this interaction, I chose to focus on the Harry Potter portion of the exhibit. This interaction would take place solely on the user’s phone, but could only be used inside the exhibition. An AR game would take place that allows users to use different phone gestures to “cast spells” against their friends.

Pain points addressed: feeling bored/uninterested, guests not staying long enough, lack of interactivity
Can’t drive to Seattle but want to experience the museum yourself? Feel free to check out this prototype. Explore the Guitar Gallery and Worlds of Myth & Magic exhibits.

Or click here to open the prototype in a new window.

Lessons Learned

This project helped me to refine my large-scale, holistic design thinking. I had to focus on the people who would be using the product, a cohesive design system, and seamless end-to-end experiences that are all interconnected and part of something much larger.

With More Time & Resources

I would flesh out the re-branded identity and extend it to tickets, advertising, wayfinding, and merchandise. I would also like to dive deeper into each of the interactions and learn how every one of them would logistically be created, from the touchscreen kiosk to the AR navigation system and everything in between.
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