Most museums are places of a very quiet user experience (UX). That’s not bad, but they could be the home of a joyful one. That would not only attract wider audiences (and that should be taken with care), but would also revitalize the vision that is normally held about them and art. Instead, they are used to be the home of monotony.
Although art museums are not the only ones there are, here we will talk exclusively about them and review the way we relate to these museums as users. Every time we go to an art museum we have a user experience and this experience will determine whether we return or not.
The UX design of an art museum should let its visitors explore, discover and create. That should be it! Explore, discover and create. That’s what a museum should be about concerning their visitors. Anything else is just accessory.
“It’s a lovely experience walking around a museum by yourself.”~ Brad Pitt
To go to a museum for the 1rst or the 16th time should be an experience of exploration. If you have never been at that museum, you should go with the mind of a great explorer. Eager to embark in new adventures, to get to new places, and to find things that could teach you, seduce you, question or balance your inner self.
Exploring a museum should mean a never ending experience of curiosity towards the new and the old, the ordinary and the extraordinary, the simple and the complex. And even if you have been at that museum many times, there should always be spaces for you to explore.
Artworks in a museum are there to be experience through exploration. That experience should allow the stares running all over them, looking for a detail, a color or a texture that we haven’t noticed before. Every work of art is there in silence waiting for a us to stop in front of them and smile or let the tear drop at the glance of the greatest discovery ever.
“A museum is a place where one should lose one’s head.”~ Renzo Piano
Imagine that glorious feeling when you find your car keys after hours looking for them everywhere. Well, that same feeling should arouse in the experience of every museum visitor after exploring around with childish curiosity.
Most people think it’s silly to be amazed by a painting you have seen a thousand times. What does it matter what the world think about you dropping your jaw in front of that painting every single time? (Not a pea, really!)
Let your heart run as fast as it can when that sculpture bewilders you. Allow your back to chill when you enter that room where those magnificent drawings await for you to look at them for the first time. Just by allowing your entire body to be dazzled, you could ignite that superpower only human beings have: the superpower of creation.
Every art museum should do what ever it takes to let this experience happen. But the experience of discovery needs certain conditions and I am not talking about silence solely. It needs good lighting, space, the possibility to think and look at things from different perspectives, order and re-order, even a careful mess would help. Yes, mess improves creativity!
“An art book is a museum without walls.”~ Andre Malraux
Once you have explored and discovered, you are ready to experience creation. And that, my dear reader, is the most wonderful state for anyone. To create is to bring to life your own energy.
I am not saying you should become an artist after visiting a museum. All I’m saying is that to visit an art museum should bring you to the state of creation. In other words, to be able to identify problems, analyze them, and propose solutions in your everyday life.
Creativity is just that. An art museum should be the place where you re-charge your creativity batteries. A place you go to become aware of your possibilities and of the world around you. A museum should not kill your powers, it should enhance them.
Art museums are the perfect environment to get creative tools. Don’t go to Home Depot if you’re stuck. Go to an art museum instead and then go to Home Depot! Trust me, you’ll be on fire, seeing thing differently and clearly.
“If I can’t be fishing, I want to be in the Museum of Modern Art in New York.”~ Jim Harrison
Home of the joyful UX
Joy comes when you feel good, when something makes you feel good. Art museums should be places where the best UX design is applied. So when you visit a museum and go home feeling questioned, overwhelmed, confused, excited, moved or… happy, you know you’ve had the right UX.
Even though some museums have very few resources to innovate and struggle hard to keep going (or even keep opened), you always have your mind and body to enjoy any museum visit. It is, at last, a matter of attitude. Your attitude.
Demand better museums, but also demand a better attitude from yourself. Go far and dare to explore, discover and create. And if you work at a museum, go further and create the best UX you can for the visitors.
“Living is like tearing through a museum. Not until later do you really start absorbing what you saw, thinking about it, looking it up in a book, and remembering -because you can’t take it in all at once.”~Audrey Hepburn