M+ Audio Guide
An accessible and holistic museum experience
M+, a leading global museum of visual culture, is home to a vast and diverse collection of works representative of Chinese and Asian art, design, and architecture.
To improve the visitor experience, M+ enlisted Nic Chan to develop a PWA (Progressive Web App) for the museum’s audio guide. Nic then engaged Studio Earth as the UXUI design collaborator and Jarijn Nijkamp as the project manager and UX researcher.
Together, we developed an accessible platform that enables users to personalise their museum experience according to their preferences. The PWA audio guide offers numerous ways to engage with the M+ collection, such as through guided tours or spontaneous strolls, based on individual interest and the specific exhibit.
Digital and Editorial Content, and Learning and Interpretation at M+
Catherine Erneux, Claudia Tsang, Kingsley Man, Keri Ryan, Nicholas Leung, William Smith, Winnie Lai
At M+, a visitor can experience the history of contemporary Chinese art in the unparalleled collection of the Sigg Galleries, amble through the bamboo-lined Courtyard Galleries with its conceptual art pieces, and view experimental film and moving image installations in The Studio.
As a dynamic museum with ever-expanding collections and new exhibitions, M+ strives to continuously improve the user experience to support their storytelling.
Audio is a personal and effective medium for visitors to complement the striking visuals of the displayed artwork. To this end, Studio Earth redesigned the audio guide that provides both facts and comprehensive commentary on each piece from the museum collection.
This PWA uses a simple interface, recreating familiar and intuitive UI patterns. Three main functions — “Keypad,” “Tours,” and “Settings” – are fixed to the bottom of the screen for ease of navigation for visitors, regardless of their technical literacy.
On the “Tours” page, visitors can explore self-guided tours or view a specific work via the keypad function. We catered the feature depending on the type of exhibitions.
Most galleries invite guests to explore freely, but special exhibitions, such as “Yayoi Kusama: 1945 to Now,” have specific visual narratives that can be better appreciated by following predetermined pathways.
For such shows, an introductory landing page precedes those of the artworks, gently informing the audience of the curatorial guidance for the optimal viewing experience.
We wanted to create an inclusive and accessible interface based on visitor behaviours and user surveys from M+. Visitors have two options for accessing information about a particular artwork: by typing in the artwork number or scanning a QR code.
Instead of being served a generic narrative when landing on the artwork page, visitors are able to dig deeper through two audio clips with accompanying narratives: “About the work” provides an extensive commentary analysing the work, and “Audio description” imparts a brief literal description of the artwork.
The user guide nested under “Settings” explains the primary functions of the audio guide, such as the input of artwork stop numbers and the toggle between two types of audio.