[Design Thesis] 1-7 Interview Questions for Visitors

The visitor research by Denver Museum of Art made me think a lot. The things visitors mentioned about–such as how they imagine the personality in and behind the work, how they feel about education in the space, how they emotionally response to the works–are all fascinating. It made me ask more questions as

– is it necessary to design different solutions for novice and expert visitors?

– what’s the essence in the experience as well as the education? (for me, the judgements they make, the protective sense of their individual experiences, the emotional response, the imagination to build connections or make up stories and the spontaneous discussion among visitors are something that is so unique to be recreated in digital world, all of which relate closely with the artworks instead of informational labels or devices.)

– how to solve/think further about the interesting paradox between the willingness/intent to learn something in the museum with the uncertainty of what to learn and the protection of their own judgements, feelings and personal connections?

– am I design for the experience or the education? Or could it be both, people learn in the experience?


Based on these previous research and discussion with my advisor (who felt it was time for me to start talking to people instead of endless readings), I designed the interview questions for visitors in the museum.


1. Can you think of the  last time you went to an art museum, what triggered you go to the museum?

[Questions about the labels]

2. What’s your favorite piece or what is the most impressive piece to you?

3. Can you think of any artworks that made you step closer to look at? When did you get closer? Why did you get closer?

4. When looking at the piece that attracts you, what did you do?

– What type of label do you pay attention to, individual labels or the large labels?

5. Do you remember anything you read from the label? What did you pay attention to when reading the label?

6. Think about your favorite piece in the museum, can you rank the following information that you wish the museum could provide (card sorting)

– the life of the painting (how it was created, sold and ended up in the museum);

– how one painting relates to all the other paintings in the same gallery;

– how one artist relates to other artists;

– the personality of the artist;

– what the artist was thinking about when creating this piece;

– how other visitors think about this piece;

– how one piece of artwork affects daily life(fashion, interior design, education, etc.)

– other, please write down_________

follow-up question: why do you rank ___ the first thing you want to know?

7. Think about your previous museum visit experiences, what else do you want to know? What do you feel is missing when reading the labels, the audio guides or apps?

[Experience with Art]

8. Do you find something interesting during your visit, such as artworks, labels, or discussion?

9. Would you like to get information about art in your daily life? What are the other resources for you to get information about artworks or artists (books, magazines, friends, social network, Internet, etc.)?


The main focus of the interview is the information interaction among visitors and informational labels or devices. What do they pay attention to? What are they interested in? The interviews will take place in the museum and I will try to make the questions as specific to one painting or one experience instead of asking for general answers that might not get real answers from visitors. The goal of the interview is not to provide a list of information that visitors are interested in, but to get insights of what else could be done. As my thesis goes along, I found design opportunities in the exhibit space that are supported by various researches, which means I would build my project on results from some official researches, and spend more time in developing the experience that I am trying to create.

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