We The Curious is an idea and a place for everyone, where boundaries are removed between science, art, people and ideas.
A science centre and educational charity on Bristol’s Harbourside, their interactive exhibits, events and activities offer an amazing world of hands-on discovery for all ages.
We The Curious came to Unfold with a prototype website and asked us to provide user research and insights to help them test the prototype and improve the user experience. The focus of the project was to find out the effectiveness of the designs they'd created with an aim to achieve the following:
- Make the website more accessible for everyone.
- Make it easier to make bookings, streamlining the journey of buying a ticket.
- Make the exhibits more interactive and more impactful to help give customers a clearer idea of what We The Curious is all about.
We The Curious were very open to radical changes, taking on board user feedback and using it to make the experience better for everyone.
- The prototype provided had not been tested and was in need of clarity.
- We needed to find participants with diverse backgrounds for testing. A selection of users from different user groups were required.
- A deep dive into the unique requirements of We The Curious visitors, to gain a comprehensive understanding of how these needs shape user behaviour and assess the website’s effectiveness in fulfilling them.
- A focus on key aspects such as navigation, content, information architecture, and aesthetics, to gather valuable user feedback.
- A fully tested prototype with insights gained from a diverse selection of users.
- A comprehensive report that looks at the different themes to come out of the research conducted, including areas of confusion, missing elements, sources of frustration, as well as aspects that were liked or disliked by the users.
- A list of recommendations on how We The Curious could improve the design across various aspects of the site to improve overall user experience.
We The Curious required a selection of participants from their two main user groups;
- General visitors, including a mix of people who had accessibility needs and children.
- Educators in charge of organising a school or educational trip for a group of students.
We partnered with People for Research to find participants with diverse backgrounds for testing.
When designing the approach that the user research should take, we were very conscious of needing to remove any bias from the process. It was important for us not to lead the user, so careful consideration was taken over the questions being asked and how we phrased each question.
Each user interview was split into two phases:
1) Discovery. The purpose of this stage was general information gathering and trying to find out what problem/challenges the customer might have before showing them the website.
2) Observe. Here we gave users the prototype on a mobile, and watched how they used it, setting them tasks based on what was discovered in the first step.
Removing bias We were very conscious of needing to remove any bias from the process. It was important for us not to lead the user, so careful consideration was taken over the questions being asked and how we phrased each question.
Below is just a selection of the many insights we gathered.
Events & exhibits: As a parent or educator, being able to match the events and exhibits to what children are learning at school would be a helpful addition as exploring numerous subjects in a single trip can be overwhelming. To help plan around this, we suggested the inclusion of a floor plan featuring themed areas, and the ability to search for events based on themes using the search bar.
Sub menus & filters: To ensure sub menus and filters are clear and recognised as interactive, we recommended using explicit language and self-explanatory headings, along with the use of different colours or relocation to another position on the page to improve clarity and user experience.
Images & videos: Including a variety of images of different people visiting We The Curious (adults, parents with children, school groups and those with accessibility needs) will help convey that it is a place for everyone.
The inclusion of videos across the site received a positive response from participants, therefore including more would help give a better sense of what the place was like in terms of the building, interactivity and staff.
Messaging & colour: Appreciation for messaging that promoted playfulness and the use of vibrant colours indicated that this should be a general theme across the whole site to help boost user engagement.
The valuable insights gained from this project enabled us to deliver a comprehensive report and set of recommendations, providing We The Curious with the information necessary to design a beautiful website with enhanced user experience.