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Solaris Art Foundation
App for an art gallery
London (UK)
Mobile app (android)
Google UX project
Jun 2022-Nov 2022
Arts & Culture
UX & UI Design,
UX Research
Project overview
There is an opportunity for a product for art galleries visitors and art enthusiasts who want to get more information about an artwork during their visit.

A tool that provides a seamless experience for visitors to the foundation, helping them discover and learn about its art and make the most of their visit.
Why this project?
I am passionate about art and design, so creating an app that makes art more accessible was an exciting challenge.

I believe that everyone should have the opportunity to appreciate, engage with, and learn about art, regardless of their background or level of knowledge.
Primary research - Survey
Participants don’t stay long in front of an art piece due to lack of informations
Notable comments
Survey outcome
Participants would like
to have more informations
about the art piece
Participants are choosing an exhibition because they already know the artist
Participants think the art world is not accessible
Participants would
use an art
guide app if it was free
NB: Due to the small sample size, and without interviews and in-context primary research (ie. service safari) the insights were limited, and further research on a larger sample group would be needed to verify.
1. How often do you visit museums or galleries? How long do you stay during your visit?
2. What’s the reason/motivation for you to visit a museum or gallery?
3. Describe your experience when you try to look for a new exhibition to visit?
4. What makes you choose a specific exhibition?
5. What challenges or frustration do you experience when you visit a museum gallery?
6. Is there any way you think these challenges can be resolved?
7. What do you find satisfying when you visit a museum or gallery?
8. How do you navigate a museum or art gallery?
9. On average, how long do you stay in front of an art piece before moving onto the next one?
10. When you’re looking at an art piece, what are some things you like to know?
11. At what point during your visit would you like to be presented with information about the artwork you’re looking at?
12. In general, how and when do you look for art history information?
13. Have you ever used an app to help you understand an art piece?
14. What important feature do you think an art history app should have?
Number: 10 Participants Age: 20-70 Location: Live in cities or suburbs
Barriers to visitation
Secondary research - Data
Additionally, I did some secondary research in order to understand why visitors do not go to cultural spaces like art galleries. The following quotes highlight the main factors:

Negative attitude affinities
“People feel that an organisation just “isn’t for people like me,” or “people like me don’t go there or do that.” This often relates to issues regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

Negative precedent experiences affinities
“Critically, 60% of recent visitors to cultural organisations attended them as children. Being entertaining is a critical element of visitor satisfaction, and it does not necessarily mean that an experience is vapid or meaningless.”

Strong disparities
“It has been taken as an established fact by cultural economists for more than 25 years that the most significant vector of inequality in cultural participation is not poverty – or ethnicity – but level of education ... Those with a degree or professional qualification are 4.6 times more likely to visit than those with no qualifications (adjusted according to the percentage of these groups in the population).

Source: &
The problem
Initial research shows that the art world is often culturally inaccessible and visitors can find it challenging to understand and appreciate art. Many pieces of art are presented without adequate context or information, making it difficult for people to engage with it. However, with more time and resources there could be more exciting insights to discover.
The solution
Solaris Art Foundation app’s purpose is to act as a pocket tour guide for visitors. It provides clear and accessible art descriptions with the goal of encouraging curiosity and discovery. Users can also personalise the app by selecting their preferred tours, and saving and sharing their favourite artwork, artists, or movements.
Competitive analysis
Competitive analysis key points
I analysed 4 apps, focusing on the cultural and educational experience these were providing, and also their ticket ordering system.

I started by analysing both the negative and positive comments on the app stores to find patterns and insights. I then downloaded the apps myself, and explored them and used their features to form my own user understanding.

Finally, I summarised all the findings on an spreadsheet divided into 5 major categories (general information, first impressions, interaction, visual design, content).
What works
What needs improvement 
  • Strong UI with a heavy focus on imagery
  • Audio guide and text options available
  • Bottom navigation bar for easy access
  • Art scan features using AR doesn’t often work
  • Choice of language is limited or non existent
  • Maps are not always available
Initial research shows
There is a gap between visitors and cultural institutions, and it is essential for visitors to comprehend the significance of artwork in order to truly appreciate, understand, and form a meaningful connection with it. Art galleries often use opaque language, and there is no bridge between art and education, unless people go to an art schools.

Additionally curators are often struggling to find the balance between no communication to one room only (ie. family of kids room) that offers a simplified version of the arts. There are also social and cultural barriers that hinder visitors’ enjoyment of art, such as language and education.
How might we ?
1. How might we provide users with the right amount of information, to improve their understanding and appreciation of the artwork they are looking at?
2. How might we provide users with different options for interacting with the information presented in the app, based on their preference and with providing accessibility?
3. How might we provide an app that provide general art education based on the user preferences ?
User Journey
Persona: Afonso      Goal: Get information about an art piece when visiting an art gallery
Information architecture
Time to start designing 
Once I went through all my research data, it was time to sketch out the first user flows and design my initial low-fidelity wireframes.
After sketching, I began to produce digital wireframes on Figma.
Low-fidelity prototype
When the wireframes where complete, I moved on to creating a low-fidelity prototype.
Sticker sheet
Font - Roboto
High-fidelity mockups
I created 39 hi-fidelity mockups to cover the app’s core features. These helped me to develop a comprehensive prototype for user testing.
Affinity diagrams
Usability study
I conducted a small moderated usability study with 5 users. The goal of the study was to test the general app clarity, the ticket-booking process, and
Research question
  • Type: Moderated usability study
  • Duration: 15-20 minute sessions
  • Date: October 18-21, 2022
  • Locations: London, Remote
  • Time on task
  • Drop off rate
  • Conversion rate
  • System usability scales
  • How long does it take the user to find the QR scanner?
  • How easy it is for the user to find that the app has an audio guide?
  • How long does it takes the user to find the interactive gallery map?
  • How long does it take to book a ticket?
  • Are there any part of the of the in-app navigation that user find complex?
Following the usability study, I updated several app features to address user pain points and reduce user friction.
1. I replaced the speaker icon with a headphones icon. I added a font size icon so users can apply their preferred text dimensions.

2. I modified the title colour to meet WCAG contrast standards. I added a “Read more” feature to accommodate various text dimensions.

3. I categorised the images to add clarity.
1. The icons were not clear, the users didn’t understand what the speaker icon was related to. The save and bookmark icons also confused users.

2. Some users found the text too small to read.

3. The images were not divided enough which was creating cognitive load.
1. The majority of users found that the scan button on the bottom navigation bar wasn’t prominent enough.
1. I amended the bottom navigation bar with a floating action button to make the scan feature more prominent.

Additionally, I added help, search, and upload photos categories to help users understand the scan feature’s versatility.
1. 2/5 users couldn’t find the gallery map from the homepage. 3/5 users found the map, but remarked that the flow could be clearer.

2. 3/5 users thought the word “location” and its icon were misleading.

1. I reworked the map screen so that it solely contained the interactive map. I also moved “Start a tour” and ‘’Plan your visit’’ to the homepage.

2. I replaced the word “location” with “Map” and and applied a map icon to make the functionality clearer.
8 px alignment system
I checked contrast colours when creating high-fidelity mockups.
High-fidelity prototype
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What I’ve learned and next steps
This project made me realise the importance of insight-led design. With resources, datas and larger user sample group I could have come up with precise insights and a more compelling and innovative app.
What I’ve learned
My first UX/UI project showed me the importance of conducting user research and testing. The next phase of this project would be to do another usability study and further refine and improve the prototype.
Test and refine
To make the app more engaging, I would explore adding features that allow users to share information about the artwork on social media platforms and email. This could include custom hashtags, shareable images, and the ability to create curated collections of artwork.
What could be developed
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