Guggenheim

Client

Guggenheim Museum

Location

NYC

Year

2020

Conduct an Information Architecture review and user testing to inform a redesign of the Guggenheim website.

The Problem Space

Methods

  • Competitive Analysis

  • Feature Analysis of original Guggenheim site against Competitors

  • Proto Persona Development

  • Information Architecture review

     

Methods

  • Card sorting on the original Guggenheim website using optimal workshop

  • Tree Testing on the original Guggenheim website using optimal workshop

     

     

Methods

  • User Flows + Site Maps

  • Develop Design System

  • Validate design by repeating card sort and tree testing on proposed Guggenheim site

     

Analysis (Current Site)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The existing Guggenheim Museum website, shown here, was analyzed against other art museums located in New York City. These museums who were identified as competitors are Brooklyn Museum, New Museum, The Whitney, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art.

Feature Analysis

The Matrix below identifies key site features present on competitors websites. Additionally, we can see how the Guggenheim site compares in consideration of these site features. This provided more clarity in how the museum is positioned to provide a similar or even more exceptional experience and therefore we can positively impact the user journey.

Proto Persona

Before diving into further understanding of both the existing user experience (and how to improve it) a proto persona, Florence, was identified as a typical user who would be using the Guggenheim’s website.

Revisiting the above feature analysis from her perspective, the current exhibits page, membership page, artist information, and search feature were identified as the largest areas of opportunity for improvement.

Heuristic Evaluation

The existing Guggenheim site was reviewed using the Information Architecture Principles established by Abby Covert . Heuristic evaluation identifies usability issues with industry–recognized, agreed design standards and principles.

The 5 pages that we evaluated included the home page , the “plan your visit” page, the “exhibitions” page, the “collections online” page and the “membership” page. These five pages were assumed to be the most frequented pages our user would visit in . Through these pages, users can identify current exhibitions on display, the dates the exhibition will run at the museum, location and hours of the museum, the price of admissions and inquire about becoming a member of the museum. 

From this analysis our focus for the scope of this project was clarified. Each page contains valuable content ,however, most pages were flawed in terms of user–friendliness, overall accessibility, and easy discovery within the website. The full Heuristic Analysis can be viewed here

Tree Testing

Initial Test (existing site)

It all begins with an idea. Maybe you want to launch a business. Maybe you want to turn a hobby into something more. Or maybe you have a creative project to share with the world. Whatever it is, the way you tell your story online can make all the difference.

Final Test (proposed design)

It all begins with an idea. Maybe you want to launch a business. Maybe you want to turn a hobby into something more. Or maybe you have a creative project to share with the world. Whatever it is, the way you tell your story online can make all the difference.

Comparing the Results

Insights from testing

  • All users were able to complete the tasks with 100% success

    via direct or indirect methods. 

  • The failure rate on tasks decreased from 46% to zero with

    the new navigation

  • The directness of Task 1 reduced from 87% to 50% . 

  • The directness of Task 2 increased from 58% to 67%

  • The directness of Task 3 increased from 75% to 100%. 

  • The failure rate for Task 3 decreased from 46% to 0%.

Reccomendations

 

Information Architecture insights

Most users found Guggenheim’s current page groupings to be illogical. Overall, only 57% of the current information architecture proved to be intuitive to users. The navigation menu usability should be reevaluated so that it can have more consistent and reliable behavior.

Solutions like a red, error-reminiscent animated navigation menu at the top help exemplify that the page is in need of a clearer content hierarchy. Unfortunately, the navigation displays inconsistent behavior which may lead to users feeling out of control and frustrated.

The navigation displays inconsistent behavior which may lead to users feeling out of control and frustrated.

Actions

Simplify navigation categories and reduce steps so important information is not nested in local navigation

Secondary navigation menu at the top of the page will be emphasized using a style or color choice that is more accessible to users.

Ensure that users have easy access to crucial visiting information like calendar, ticketing, and the ability to search that is findable memorable and consistent.

 

 

 

Information Architecture insights (cont’d)

Users had significantly more trouble with task two though 63% of users ultimately managed to complete the task through a direct or indirect path. 38% of users failed to locate the “Collections Online” page which allows you to browse all artists in the permanent collection.The average time to complete this task was the worst of the three at 24.5 seconds .

Groupings of blog entries, art highlights and recent acquisitions reduce the clarity of the page as there are many categories and images with little description.

The major improvement needed for this area of the site is the ability to search overall and within the categories.


Actions

Redesign of the taxonomy and content hierarchy that determine how the “Collections Online” page to allow users to find information about artists with less confusion.

Best minimal design elements as seen on the Guggenheim and other museum sites should be employed for consistency.

Add a search within collection and search within collection group feature to the page navigation

 

 

Navigation to Memberships

1.) Task 3 had a completion time only slightly higher than our most successful task (Task 1) at 13.5 seconds , but it also had the highest failure rate at 54% .This indicates that users could benefit from a clearer taxonomy and less complex path to sign up for membership.

Additional consideration was taken in response to the recent NY PAUSE Social Distancing Guidelines The Guggenheim has a rich collection of media which can be enjoyed from home,



Actions

Employ a clearer taxonomy and less complex path to sign up for membership. Membership repositioned to be accessible within the Primary navigation

Hierarchy of Collection Online improved.

Remote content nested together to make these items accessible for prospective online visitors who are unable to visit the museum in person.


 

 

 

Design

The proposed design was prepared following the recommendations derived from analysis and testing. The key changes are called out below.

Launch the Prototype

1. Clicking the Guggenheim Logo returns the User to home page from each of the other pages. This enhances the findability of the site, and is the expected behavior based on other sites.

2. Simplified titles and categories to make the groupings more logical, including location of secondary navigation items.

3. Established a simplified Horizontal navigation menu to be more intuitive for users

4. Secondary navigation menu emphasized using a color choice that is more accessible to users. Use of bolded text replaces red call outs. Red reserved for errors only

5. Tickets, Membership and Shop are a separate horizontal menu which saves the user time and reduces frustration, Previous path was home > secondary menu

6. Clickable calendar and user activated refresh button which produces a new work of art when clicked moved to a more prominent location to increase delightfulness. Previous location was in the footer menu.

7.  Tertiary navigation menu options changed to black text from grey to increase accessibility.

8. Consistent language in page breadcrumbs “Collections Online, will navigate back to the main collections page from any of the other collections pages which increases findability. The previous copy was “back to artworks” .

9. Increased Image size of “Featured Artists”. Image spotlight now includes Artist name and title of work to make this section more communicative.

10. Search Feature added to section page “Artists” to increase findability and memorability of this section.

Site Map

Key Changes to the existing Site Map

“For Families” renamed to “Family Visits” to reduce ambiguity

“Group Info” is renamed to “Museum map and tours” to identify the content on this page (PDF maps and tour information) .

“Become a Member” renamed to “Membership” to better identify the content on this page (Information about membership tiers and benefits and button links to an outside site where membership can be purchased) . “Membership” moved to top most header navigation with “tickets”, “shop”, and the search box

“Art” renamed to “Art & Events” to decrease ambiguity and better identify the content on this page ( Information about upcoming and past Art, Events, and Performances).

“Exhibitions” renamed to “Current Exhibitions”

Nested “Initiatives” into the “About” category

Nested “Publications” into “Guggenheim@Home”

“Join and Give” navigates to “Membership” which includes information from the associated “Contribute”

“Engage” renamed to “Guggenheim@Home” . Nested all virtually accessible sections of the site in this navigation to establish a standalone category for accessing on demand media for those who cannot visit the museum. in person.

“Foundation” recategorized under “Art & Events”

Launch the Prototype

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The existing Guggenheim Museum website, shown here, was analyzed against other art museums located in New York City. These museums who were identified as competitors are Brooklyn Museum, New Museum, The Whitney, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art.

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum website is an important resource for potential visitors to locate information like hours, current exhibitions, and ticket information.

The museum website has inconsistent navigation, and relevant information can be hard to find.

How might we provide Museum goers with a more efficient way to find the information they need to plan trips to the museum?