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December 31, 2012  |  Learning and Engagement
MoMA Learning – Evolving to Meet the Needs of its Users

MoMA Learning was launched with great excitement in October, and user feedback has already helped the site evolve, prompting tweaks to design and informing additional content and features.  The site launched with a pop-up survey accessible via the homepage, but the most interesting and informative feedback was gathered through user testing conducted at the Museum in November.  Participants for testing were recruited through the contact networks of staff in MoMA’s Department of Education, and represented a range of occupations, interests, and abilities as well as age and gender.

The Protocol

20 individuals, a combination of casual learners and teachers, took part in the user testing for MoMA Learning. About half of these explored the site through directed navigation, which consisted of twenty tasks, while the other half explored the site freely. All of the participants were observed during this process and were then asked follow up questions. Throughout user testing, participants were prompted to “think out loud” and “voice any comments, questions or frustrations.” Every participant spent about 20-30 minutes on the site during testing, and another 10 minutes talking with facilitators after this. We learned a lot from watching and listening to users as they explored the site.

A scene from MoMA Learning user testing. Here, users are asked to navigate the site freely (Open Navigation) and narrate their experience.

A scene from MoMA Learning user testing. Here, users are asked to navigate the site freely (Open Navigation) and narrate their experience.

User testing

A few tasks from the user testing instrument for directed navigation

A few tasks from the user testing instrument for directed navigation

During user testing, participants made comments and offered suggestions on areas related to navigation, content, accessibility, and design. We observed where visitors clicked and what paths they took to navigate content and explore the site. Dialogue between users and facilitators allowed us to pinpoint not only what users liked, disliked or found problematic, but why.  Users also shared thoughts about how they might use the site in advance of visiting MoMA, providing a glimpse into what prompts people to visit the Museum and what they hope to gain from it. For the individuals who worked to develop the site, all of this data provides fresh perspectives and insights into how people experience the site.

Following up on the user testing

After all of the observational and interview data was compiled and analyzed, a report was written and circulated among the MoMA Learning team, which included staff in Education and Digital Media. From there, the findings were entered into a shared document that prioritized the key issues that need to be addressed in revisions to the site.

A list of improvements we'll be making to MoMA Learning, based on user testing

A list of improvements we’ll be making to MoMA Learning, based on user testing

What do you think of MoMA Learning? Share your comments and suggestions on the pop-up survey on the homepage and be a part of this site’s evolution.

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