STA 468 Interactive Web Design: Project 1 - Personas, Experience Map, and Prelimenary Scholarly Research

For this portion of the project we were charged to delve deeper into the UX process with the creation of personas, an experience map, and beginning to research.

After creating about eight personas, I narrowed it down to three. They are Jimmy, Timmy and Ellie. 

Jimmy and Timmy


11 years old - 5th grade - very active - loves all sports - dominant personality - a bit aggressive - very boyish boy, likes to get dirty, work with his hands, be outside, play sports, or accomplishing a competitive goal - utilitarian dresser, whatever mom picks out is fine


9 years old - 3rd grade - very active - likes anything Jimmy likes - more submissive and eager to please - boyish boy by nature, but mainly just wants to be like Jimmy, deep down he has a wider range of interests but he'd rather spend time with Jimmy then be alone doing what he likes - cares more about his appearance, secretly likes to pick out his own clothes but because Jimmy thinks it's lame, Timmy lets his mom pick his clothes now too


22 years old - College Senior - very busy student, engaged in school work and clubs - creative spirit, like to be engaged in any type of art - very mature and professional when it counts, but really a child at heart - loves kids - loves trying new experiences but typically does not invest in full time memberships - frugal, raised to be money conscious and make calculated expenditures - eccentric, from clothing to life experiences, she is adventurous

The next step in the assignment was to create an experience map. After looking into the works of other UX designers, specifically Adaptive Path's work for the Exploratorium in San Francisco, I created my own take on the Experience Map by plotting each touchpoint in the pre-visit, visit, and post-visit stages and creating a table breaking down the personas unique museum experience.

The final portion was beginning our scholarly research. To get a better understanding of the Information Architecture and UX design process, I decided to get the answers right from the source. I went the Impression 5 contact page and was able to find a detailed list of the staff and began to reach out to multiple people requesting a moment of their time to ask some questions. 

I was able to conduct one interview already with Matt Hill, the Exhibits Team Leader. Here are some of his comments from the interview:

We try not to make the IA too text heavy... we want to get it to the point we are trying. We know if there is too much information kids are less likely to read.

Some [exhibits] do require instruction on use. [We make] the judgement call of when to include text instructions or ask questions to get them to think.

Within the last few years [Impression 5] has been working under the motto, “Play. Create. Challenge.” We want people to play, it’s something they enjoy, and they can learn without knowing. In each area, we give [guests] the chance to create, whether its building with blocks or even just making bubbles. Also, in each exhibit, we want them to try something new or challenge their thinking.

[Impression 5] is in the process of a five year programs of replacing or updating all of the exhibits.”Play. Create. Challenge.” has been our starting point for redesigning the exhibits. We have a UX specialist who spends a lot of time studying how people read labels, interact with the space, what they respond best to, he is our jumping off point. Our best method we have found to make changes is through observation. We try to see how well [a feature] works with people, testing, prototyping, bringing out simple versions of the exhibit. Depending on content, we cannot assume a level of knowledge [for each guest], so it’s important to observe, then go back and make changes to improve.

We are trying to get a consistent theme or deliverable method... which is difficult to do with diverse age groups.

The groups [Impression 5] targets is up to age 12, we really try to reach every age in that [age group]. For example, in the MiNature exhibit, there are low tables for small children and high tables for older children. There is also a room specifically for ages 0-four, called the First Impression room. There is a little water table, soft materials, basically a safer area for them to explore.

We have found the most popular exhibits are the ones that are most play oriented. They are more engaging. In some of the older, less popular exhibits, there is not a lot to interact with the user, and it gets boring. We found when we get more elements going or [the exhibit] is more open ended, it’s more successful. For example, the Throwing Things exhibit began as a prototype and has been there for over 10 years now. It is still one of our most popular exhibits, and that is because it is very engaging. Or the Bubble Table, lots of kids can get around it at once and use [the bubble wands.] Or the Bubble Tube, kids like to see how many of them can fit in at once. None of this interaction is instructed, it happens [naturally.]

We [now] do try to make exhibits where parents can engage their kids and work together. It is valuable if a family group can learn together because the parents know how to teach their child best. We want to give them a place where they can engage to foster learning.

In terms of interactions pre and post visit, we do encourage membership upon entrance during the admissions process. Especially when talking to a large family who are regular patrons, it is beneficial for them from a financial standpoint and it is really just great for both parties. We also do have pamphlets and signage around the building, being a member does grant you access to other science museums for free or for a small fee.