Overview

During my graduate studies, I undertook an individual project to reimagine the official website of the Harvard Art Museums. This initiative was a hypothetical exercise carried out within an academic context, designed to delve into and implement the fundamentals of interface design and user experience. The inspiration for this endeavor came from my daily life experiences, and the idea to redesign their website was sparked during a visit to the Harvard Art Museums and their website.

Positive Project Validation

Positive Professional Feedback
Received positive feedback from a Senior UX Designer at Harvard Business Publishing.
Increased User Satisfaction by 90%
Demonstrated significant improvements in usability and user satisfaction through practical user testing.

Problems

The Harvard Art Museums website faces issues with:

1. Inefficient browsing
2. A lack of aesthetics and usability on some pages.
View Original Site

Solutions

1. Streamline User Flow: Improved the website’s user flow and journey to boost user-friendliness and efficiency, with a particular focus on reorganizing the Information Architecture to make it easier for visitors to find information and navigate the site.

2. Enhance Visual Design and CALL TO ACTIONS (CTAs): Updated the visual design to a more modern look and made calls-to-action clearer and more prominent. This enhances usability and helps guide users toward key actions like purchasing tickets and participating in events.

Before

After

Key Improvement 1

Clearer Call to Action

Key Improvement 2

Enhanced Collections Filtering

Key Improvement 3

Streamlined Membership Page

Design Process

User Research

Key insights from interviews
1. Inadequate CTAs
Many users reported confusion about how to proceed with actions like ticket purchasing or finding details about events. This indicates a need for more prominent, clear, and actionable CTAs throughout the website.
2. Desire for More Intuitive and User-friendly Interface
Participants frequently mentioned the need for a more intuitive interface. They expressed a desire for a design that is easy to understand and navigate, reducing the cognitive load and making the website more accessible to all types of users.
3. Diverse User Base with Varied Needs
The interviews highlighted a diverse user base, including tourists, local residents, students, and art enthusiasts, each with unique needs and ways of interacting with the website. This diversity necessitates a flexible and inclusive design approach.
4. Need for Improved Visual Design
Users indicated that the current visual design of the website was outdated and unappealing. There was a consensus on the need for a more aesthetically pleasing design that uses modern visuals, typography, and color schemes to enhance user engagement and the overall appeal of the website

User Goals

  • - Plan a visit
  • - Access visitor resources
  • - Explore the collection
  • - Discover exhibitions and events

Busines Goals

  • - Enhance Visitor Engagement
  • - Increase Ticket Sales
  • - Boost Membership and Donations
  • - Expand Educational Outreach

Competitor Analysis

Personas

User Experience Map

User Research - Interviews

1. Inefficient Browsing
User research indicates that visitors to the Harvard Art Museums official website commonly report that the site's navigation is complex and non-intuitive, and there's a lack of clear call-to-action, especially regarding ticket purchases and event details. This not only leads to frustration when searching for visit information, special exhibitions, or ticket options but also causes confusion during the decision-making process on the website.
2. Lack of Aesthetics and Usability
User feedback reveals that the visual design and user interface of the Harvard Art Museums' website require a modern upgrade to enhance aesthetic appeal and meet current user expectations. The goal is to improve the website's visual attraction and brand image by utilizing modern visual elements, typography, and color schemes.

Information Architecture

The Information Architecture for the Harvard Art Museums website redesign focuses on enhancing user experience through a well-organized structure, intuitive navigation, and engaging content, ultimately aiming to facilitate easy access to museum information, collections, and educational resources.

Sitemap

Wireframes

User Testing

Main feedback
Negative Point: Inefficient Event Search
Some users expressed a need for a quicker way to find specific event information, feeling that the current search process was either too slow or indirect.  
Negative Point: Unclear Membership Plan Differentiation
Users reported difficulty in intuitively understanding the differences and advantages between various membership plans, making decision-making challenging.
Positive Point: Overall Intuitive Layout
Users generally found the website’s basic layout clear and intuitive navigation.

Wireframes Iteration

1. Improvement for Inefficient Event Search
2. Improvement for Unclear Membership Plan Differentiation

Typography & Color Palette

Desktop

Mobile

Prototype

Takeaways

1. Eliminating Preconceptions and Prioritizing User-Centered Design
The project underscored the importance of shedding preconceived notions. Under the mentorship of my professor, a web design company founder with extensive experience, I learned to prioritize user-centered design. User experience design isn't about what I think; it's about empathizing with users and creating products that revolve around their needs. This shift in perspective taught me to design with the user experience at the forefront.
2. Emphasizing Design Standards and Consistency
In the Harvard Art Museums project, design standards and consistency took center stage. I maintained a unified visual identity, focusing on aesthetics, usability, and functionality. The result was a user-centric website that not only looked impressive but also functioned seamlessly.
3. Significance of Competitor Analysis
Thorough competitor analysis played a pivotal role in shaping the project. It provided insights into industry best practices, guiding my design decisions.