Museum Trend You Can Act on in 2018: Human-centered design

Our final museum trend is human-centered design – the idea that in order to create the most effective design, discovering human experience related to the product is highly important.

5: human-centered design

This last trend is a bit more abstract than the others in that it deals with more of a general approach to innovation. The human-centered design method is centered around involving the human experience in every stage of the research and development process to create the most effective product possible. Championed by organizations like Stanford University, human-centered design focuses every step of development around the user to improve efficiency and usability.

To clarify, let’s use a few examples. First, a look at a project that could have used some human-centered design: Google Glass. As cool as the concept was, it turns out noone wanted to wear a screen on their face all day. A more human-centered approach would have likely focused on many of the recent enhancements that have been made to mobile devices, e.g. augmented reality, video chat. Incorporating these into existing mobile technology allows for more flexible usage only when the user desires, rather than constantly wearing a funny looking headset.

Human-centered design in museums

One surprising place we’re seeing a rise in human-centered design is in museum remodels. Some institutions are altering portions of their facilities, or undertaking additions to their footprint, to incorporate themselves into the everyday lives of their patrons.

For example, A fall 2017 effort to make art and culture more accessible to consumers, MCA in Chicago created shared engagement spaces within the museum. In response to growing trends in remote and non-traditional work spaces, and to foster a sense of community built around the museum, they converted 12,000 square feet of floor space within their building into public gathering space.

In this way, MCA and others like it are striving to present the museum as more than just a place to experience art and culture, transforming it into a place to experience life, community and pursue common goals.

One more thing about human-centered design

As Henry Ford once famously, maybe said when talking about the invention of the Model T, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” That is to say human-centered design tends to not push the limits of technology, focusing on the tech that’s currently available to solve problems. So, it is important as one travels down the human-centered innovation path, to always keep an eye towards the future as well as the present.

Read about our other museum innovations by visiting our blog: Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Museum Pop-ups, and Instagram-Friendliness.

Do you have any innovation plans for your facility in 2018? We’d love to hear about them in the comments section below!