alexandra owens

UX Gallery Pal
« UX

Gallery Pal

Self-Guided Art Experience App

Google Design Sprint



Gallery Pal is a mobile application designed to enhance the museum experience by providing users with an enriched and informative platform for exploring artwork. Gallery Pal allows users to easily access detailed information about each piece, including artist background, historical context, and related works. With its user-friendly interface, visitors can quickly favorite and save information for future reference, ensuring they never miss a moment of the museum experience. Gallery Pal’s goal is to provide an innovative solution that empowers museum-goers to engage with art in a deeper and more meaningful way.

Day One : Mapping And Flow

On Day 1 of the Design Sprint, I created a user map for an art museum or gallery visitor. The map offers dropdown info tailored to the user's interests, including artist bio, historical context, techniques, and interesting facts. Users can bookmark art and receive suggestions for related artists and art movements. I conducted user research, documented pain points, and created a user journey map. Users struggle to find clear and concise information about artwork during visits, and expressed interest in artist bios, historical context, techniques, styles, and interesting facts.

The goal of GalleryPal is to enhance the museum experience by providing users with quick and easy access to enriched information about the artwork. The user will not only be able to learn while at the museum, but can favorite and save information to look back on after their time at the museum. 

User Interviews 

During the first phase of the sprint, I conducted a thorough review of existing documentation and interviewed users, including a museum tour guide. I documented their pain points and key quotes in a journal, while also using post-it notes to capture the main arguments. To help visualize the user experience, I created a user journey map.  

Based on the research I conducted and the personas we developed, I found that users frequently struggled to find clear and concise information about the artwork they were viewing during their museum and gallery visits.  

The user interviews highlighted interest in the artist's bio, historical context, technique and style, as well as interesting facts about the art. Moving forward, I decided to make key information a priority, ensuring that it is easily accessible by the visitor.  

“It would be great if, when you visited a museum, you could get more info in real life to better understand what you’re seeing  –  Some background on the artist or time period might help you appreciate the experience more fully and make the most out of your visit.”
– Elizabeth O

Furthermore, in my interviews with five subjects, four of them specifically conveyed an interest in preserving a particular work of art or artist for future reference. This underscores the significance of having a designated "favorites" section, where visitors can conveniently access and revisit their preferred pieces. Providing such a feature can enhance the overall visitor experience and may increase their likelihood of returning in the future.

As an art enthusiast but also as someone who doesn’t ever actually think to take notes or remember what I’ve seen a few days later, I’d really appreciate being able to add to a 'favorites' folder in an app. It would allow me to easily revisit the pieces that I found particularly inspiring or thought-provoking.”

– Mackenzie D

Day Two : Secondary Research And Sketching

The screen where users interact with Gallery Pal's artwork after scanning a QR code is pivotal to the success of the platform. This screen is complex and serves as the central hub for users to take actionable steps, such as favoriting, sharing, taking notes, or accessing further information about the artwork, artist, or relevant art movement or time period. As such, it is crucial that this screen be designed to provide a seamless and intuitive user experience

For secondary research I looked at existing apps that use a similar location/image/identification process. My primary sources were the Merlin Bird ID (The Cornell Lab) and the The Met App (The visitor app for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York). 

Merlin Bird ID (The Cornell Lab)

Merlin Bird ID is an educational resource that uses photos, sounds, maps and user submitted details to identify and educate the user about various bird species.


  • Easy navigation that guides the user through the identification process with an obvious and simple lower navigation, with options for ID info, sounds, and maps 
  • Concise and informative informational pages including a brief description, images, maps, and sounds
  • The user can save birds they’ve seen to a “life list” 

The Met App

The Met app is “designed to be a simple, elegant, easy-to-use starting point to engage with the Museum and its art, exhibitions and events”.


  • Great use of motion and animation to walk the user through the experience
  • Approachable, human voice and general feel 
  • Has plenty of areas for further exploration and reading
  • Has options for language and also saved favorites 
  • Not overly straightforward 
  • Hard to find specific info for individual pieces 

Based on my secondary research and user interviews, I directed my attention towards outlining the most vital screens. By synthesizing these key insights, I was able to develop a roadmap that aligned with the needs and expectations of both the users and the broader context of the project.

Day Three: Storyboard

The screen where users interact with Gallery Pal's artwork after scanning a QR code is pivotal to the success of the platform. This screen is complex and serves as the central hub for users to take actionable steps, such as favoriting, sharing, taking notes, or accessing further information about the artwork, artist, or relevant art movement or time period. As such, it is crucial that this screen be designed to provide a seamless and intuitive user experience.

I decided on a clean interface which includes the following:

Clear and Simple selection with the core facts (Title, Artist, Date) followed by a paragraph or two discussing the work. This part of the content will be segmented into what appears on the art work's first screen and a “Continue Reading” option. 

Save for later: The user will be able to bookmark any page in order to return to it at a later time. Furthermore, to ensure the visitor engages with the art itself, rather than simply staring at their mobile device, I’ve included a section for adding personal notes so the viewer can return to the product that evening, in a week, or at any point in the future, and remember what it was that most interested them, moved them, or inspired them to do further research and delve deeper into an artist or movement. 

Notes section: 

Provide examples or prompts to encourage deeper engagement with the artwork and help viewers remember what interested them. 

To help maintain engagement with your artwork beyond the exhibition, users will be given the option to turn on notifications in order to receive a follow-up reminder to revisit their notes.

From here the user has the option to explore more to gain a more in depth understanding - options from there include learning more about the artist, the art movement, the time period or the materials/techniques. 

Finally, the user will also be presented with a scrollable gallery of related works - this can mean works from a similar time period or from a similar theme (landscapes for example), or even something like “works by women artists”, which would be algorithmically selected by the app.

Day Four: Design and Prototype

As the sole designer on a time-constrained project, I used Photoshop, Figma, and InVision to create an MVP prototype for scanning artwork and retrieving information. The design approach focused on the user journey, creating key screens to streamline main tasks. The task flow allows quick access to artist, artwork details, and historical context. Users can save favorites and add notes for future reference. Prioritizing these features delivered an efficient and effective prototype that meets user needs.

Day Five: User Testing and Conclusion 

For usability testing, I conducted 5 remote sessions using Zoom screen-sharing. Participants were experienced with visiting museums, and 2 out of 5 worked at an art museum. I asked them to complete tasks such as scanning a piece to learn more, learning about the artist, time period, and historical context, adding notes to save for later, and viewing their gallery of favorites. In addition, I asked some introductory questions about their occupation, regular museum visits, and experience with museum tours.

To find out if the GalleryPal app was properly working, I asked participants to complete a few key tasks: 

  • Scan a piece to learn more about it 
  • Learn more about the artist 
  • Learn more about the time period
  • Learn more about the historical context
  • Add notes to save for later
  • View the user’s gallery of “Favorites”  


While all the participants were able to complete the tasks successfully, and were very enthusiastic about the concept and layout,  there were a few additions and changes to the app that the participants suggested.

My first key takeaway in terms of layout would be to have an alternative option for the saved gallery icon. The heart icon was repeated from the save icon for consistency but, as one user pointed out, that icon indicates more of a call to action than an archive. Going forward I would consider a gallery image or a frame and possibly using tool tips and annotations to make it very clear.

In addition to the suggestions for changes to the app's layout, the participants recommended some features that could be valuable in a more thorough prototype. These included adding map functionality to help users navigate the museum, providing a list of language options for users to choose from upon downloading the app, offering audio options to enhance the experience, and including a recap of what was seen during the museum visit.

Furthermore, the participants suggested having a section within the app that would provide information specific to each museum, such as pricing, parking, where to eat, purchasing tickets ahead of time, and how to plan a visit. This would be particularly useful since the app is intended to span across multiple museums, and having this information readily available would help users plan their visit more efficiently.

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