Natural History Museum - user observations

Interactive Web Design I · DM2280B spring 2013 · Corcoran College of Art + Design
Instructor: David Ramos

Today, we are studying the ways in which design can shape user behavior, the differences between different groups of users, and the gap between design intentions and what people do in reality.

When you arrive at the museum, split into groups of two or three. You will be collaborating with the others in your group for the rest of your visit. Take a little time to explore the museum, then get on to work.


Choose two exhibits to study. Aim to spend about an hour on each exhibit – that will mean a large amount of time looking at the details of how the exhibits work and at what people do. Take notes, make sketches and plans, and take photos.

You will want to be able to answer a series of questions, and to explain how you know this and why you think that it is the case. These questions are a start, but only a start – you will want to think more deeply about the exhibits and user behavior on your own, asking your own questions.


For class on 1 October, your group should give an eight-minute presentation to the class about your findings. Edit your presentation down – you will need to distill your material to a few key points. You should include visuals, on screen or in handouts.  Please rehearse the presentation.


Handed out 2012-09-24.