The art of wandering
Interfaces to explore museums' online art collections
The art of wandering is a three-years project I designed and conducted during my PhD training in the Media and Arts Technologies Center between 2016 and 2019.
Improving the design of online interfaces for museums’ digital art collections
Thanks to developments in digitization and web technologies, many museums now publish their collections online, and the possibility to interact with art beyond the physical visit to a museum is now a reality. However, online interfaces are mostly designed to address the needs of existing users, mostly researchers, academics and professionals. They allow to perform highly specific searches, use domain-specific keywords and aim to reduce the time needed to retrieve information.
Instead, how can we expand the context of use and the audience of digital collections? The Art of Wandering focused on potential users among people with an interest in art that engage with physical museums but do not yet interact with museums in their digital leisure experiences. How can we design interfaces that support them in art discovery, casual explorations and engaging experiences?
We addressed this challenge by conducting three studies
WikiArt • this study evaluated the experience of potential users with existing interfaces, specifically investigating their user of search and browse features. The aim was to identify engagement patterns and triggers, as well as to highlight the limitations of current designs.
The research produced a number of insights into the behaviours and needs of non-expert art lovers
Users navigate collections with different degree of exploratory behaviours and need for novelty. Based on their use of exploration features (search bar and menu) we identified three groups
The findings of this research have broader implications for the fields of HCI, Museum Studies and Information Science, which are presented and discussed in my Ph.D thesis. I am happy to chat about my research and provide more details at any time.