01. Project context

Space 23 is an art gallery located in central Paris. Historically popular with a narrow subset of modern art lovers, it faced an unusual problem when word of mouth substantially increased visitor footfall. 

Loyal frequent patrons of many years suddenly found themselves struggling to book tickets for upcoming exhibitions, spending too much time in queues and unable to find tables in the cozy gallery lounge cafe.

02. The brief

Develop a mobile app that would help Space 23 cultivate direct relationship with frequent gallery visitors (defined as those, invested enough to use the app) and reduce their churn, while maintaining overall growth of visitor footfall.  




03. Our vision

Offer app users early bird ticket booking, fast track entry via QR gates & automatically applied loyalty discounts.

Link app activation to a monthly subscription that would offer a great deal for frequent visitors.

Develop associated marketing programmes to continuously measure visitor NPS score & react to consumer feedback received.

04. The challenges

1. Offer frequent visitors great experience, in spite of continuously increasing footfall. 

2. Ensure the app offers a solution to most common frequent visitor complaints.

3. Motivate loyal visitors to download and frequently use the app and the gallery




05. My role

Strategic & creative direction, including:
– Consumer strategy & user research
– Team, stakeholder & project management,
– Design development & prototyping







06. Target Audience

Following extensive consultations with Space 23 management, we’ve agreed on the app target audience and conducted 40+ qualitative interviews with the gallery’s current frequent visitors. This was supplemented by two weeks of quantitative research – a survey emailed to Space 23 newsletter subscribers – helping us identify key pain points and develop two archetypical user personae.

Kate is a foreign student and social media influencer, who shares video updates of her adventures with subscribers back home.

She has limited disposable income and the art gallery is perfect to appear in touch with the cultural pulse of the city without having to spend much.

Unfortunately, tickets to new exhibitions sell out quickly and and the beautiful gallery lounge, is sometimes randomly closed.

Kate is very excited about the advertised gallery app and hopes it will be of practical benefit, not just a basic tool to buy tickets and check opening hours – something she can do on the gallery website as is.  

Jean-Luc is a local pensioner, who comes to the gallery every morning, as part of his daily routine.

He likes to quickly run through the rooms and spend time with one or two paintings that reflect his mood of the day.

He then proceeds to the gallery store to pick a magazine that he reads in the gallery cafe.

Sometimes the gallery is overrun with tourists – Jean-Luc needs to queue to get in and doesn’t get a table at the cafe.

Jean-Luc is also frustrated when he forgets his loyalty card that gives him 20% discount on everything purchased in the gallery. 




07. Consumer pain-points

1

“Tickets to new exhibitions sell out too quickly”

2

“Existing loyalty program is complicated & impossible to use without a loyalty card”

3

4

“Don’t mind more visitors, but spending 30 min+ queuing is unacceptable”




08. Competitor analysis

Before sketching out design ideas, the team ran best practice review, looking at in- and out-of-category providers, praised by target audience for their digital experience, including:

  • Brach Paris
  • Fondation Louis Vuitton
  • The Hardware Société Paris
  • The Louvre
  • Musée de l’Orangerie
  • Musée d’Orsay
  • Palais de Tokyo




08. User journey

Leveraging insights picked up in consumer research, we plotted out a user journey that stretched from initial awareness of the app’s existence through using the app – to proactively promoting it to friends & family.

This allowed a holistic look at the whole engagement, considering what users should experience at various stages – and how the app features and/or communications could facilitate that.





09. Ideation

Analysing best practices, the team brainstormed a number of novel approaches — both practical for the diverse gallery audience as well as modern — reflective of the gallery’s brand ambitions.

Sustainability was paramount – since the gallery didn’t have a large creative department, the solution could not rely on continuous development of new multimedia content or elaborate graphics.




10. Wireframes & low fidelity prototype

The initial layout blended the most liked elements discovered in competitor review with a few novel ideas we thought would make user experience easier and, therefore – more inclusive.

The breadcrumb navigation, for example, allowed users to instantly return to any step of their journey.

The ever present hamburger menu, offered a simple list of key sections available.

The text was restricted to single columns, while images were set in long carousels, reducing the number of pages.

Finally, the app included an expansive and well-structured overview of the past, current and future artists and exhibitions available at the gallery, offering plenty of space for exploration.

Feeling good about our ideas, we’ve put together a usability study package.




11. Usability study 1

We invited a number of frequent gallery visitors aged 18 — 65+ to participate in an unmoderated usability study.

Each session took around 20 min. Users were prompted to complete several tasks using a low-fidelity prototype, asked to fill a survey and answer several open questions.

The responses demonstrated a clear pattern, boiling down to three key insights.

It also became apparent that the ambitious idea of attracting like–minded art lovers through educational artist pages would have to be postponed as it required too many administrative and creative resources.


1

2

“Functions require clear feedback. Automatic profile saving may be cool, but a “Save” button is universally clear”

3

“QR codes are great, would be even better to save them in phone wallet to not waste battery on running the app”


>

We added bright blue to the colour palette and made it the colour everything clickable.


>

We introduced simple text buttons for technical functions outside of key user flows.


>

We introduced “Add to phone wallet” functionality, allowing QR ticket access without running Space 23 (at this point still called ‘Paris Edge’).


12. High fidelity & usability study 2

The second study followed the principles of the first: a number of unmoderated usability sessions, around 20 min. each. 

Users were prompted to complete several tasks using a high-fidelity prototype, asked to fill a survey and answer a number of open questions.

Our goal was to further push users on usability – the first study identified a few opportunities for improvement, but we felt it went a little too smoothly.

The more realistic high fidelity prototype allowed more complex journeys, surfacing a number of clear challenges.

1

“The navigation is confusing. Doubling between breadcrumbs and menu button doesn’t work.”

2

3

“Simplify the aesthetic — there are too many colours, on a relatively small mobile screen it looks busy. “


>

We abandoned breadcrumb navigation as unworkable in phone scenario, and split key functions across permanent header and footer.


>

We’ve also radically simplified the gallery and library pages, removing content not pertinent to gallery visit experience.


>

We simplified the colour palette and drastically reduced the volume of text descriptions users considered superfluous.




13. Answering project challenges

1. Offer frequent visitors great experience, in spite of continuously increasing footfall. 

While the app is available to everyone and offers key functionality without paid subscription, it is more likely to be used by frequent visitors, rather than tourists or locals coming for specific exhibitions.


2. Ensure the app offers a solution to most common frequent visitor complaints.

The app offers fast track access to the gallery through QR gates and ability to book a table at the gallery lounge.


3. Motivate loyal visitors to download and frequently use the app and the gallery.

In exchange for a monthly subscription, visitors receive early bird ticket offers and access to a loyalty programme that includes both permanent discount on all gallery purchases as well as special offers from partnering businesses.




14. Next

1

Continuously track customer engagement, following up on suggestions & complaints

2

Explore partnerships with like-minded businesses, aiming to provide a complete evening-out offer

3

Explore expansion of the physical experiences through unique Space 23 rituals (e.g. by developing gallery scent & sound scape) and leveraging under-utilised staff capabilities (e.g. by offering art consultancy to collecting patrons)




15. Takeaways

Accessibility principles presented the most exciting learning curve. It was rewarding to plan how the app would work for various groups of users and preemptively solve challenges. 

Other than that, the difference between usability study responses offered a sobering reminder that it pays to push testers a little bit further rather than celebrating getting away with few changes.




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