UXNYU / Museum

Frick Collection

Project Details:

Challenge: How can archived artwork be made available online and how can one collaborate with their peers to analyze the piece?

Client: Frick Collection

Role: UX Designer


User Research (Interviews, User Survey) 
Persona Development

Information Architecture 
Market Research (Competitive, Heuristics)
User Testing

Tools Used:

Paper (Storyboarding, First Iterations)
Adobe Illustrator 

Description & Goals


Frick Collection is a well-known museum located on the Upper East Side. They required to have an online light box tool that allows art historians and others to examine images on a computer, similar to that of a physical light box. Currently, there is no such working tool, although Pinterest may be the “closest” to this ideal.

Goals for the project

  • Image compilation into one main photo manipulating environment.
  • Ability to dynamically categorize, rearrange, edit and save groupings of photos that a user has compiled.
  • Selection tool for selecting specific parts of images for annotation.
  • The ability to zoom into multiple images, at the same time.
  • A magnification tool that will magnify at the same specific spot on all images at the same time.
  • Creation of a dynamic overlay function for comparing multiple images using the Iterative Closest Point algorithm for functionalities like the selection of specific shapes across all images at the same time.
  • Making image compilations shareable and editable in order to afford collaboration between different users.
  • Including meta data for each image in a way that isn’t obtrusive to the viewing experience of the image.
  • Adding the ability to save work in the light box and return to it later. As well as the ability to export image groupings with or without annotations.

Competitive Analysis

“The ultimate objective of competitor analysis is to know enough about a competitor to be able to think like that competitor so the firm’s competitive strategy can be formulated to take into account the competitors’ likely actions and responses.”

-John A Czepiel & Roger A. Kerin

Heuristic Analysis

Heuristic evaluation involves having a small set of evaluators examine the interface and judge its compliance with recognized usability principles.

-N Nielsen Group

The curators at Frick Collection wanted a product that would have functionalities like Pinterest and more. Thus, we examined Pinterest’s functions and compared it with our design of Frick Lightbox to analyze which project requirements were lacking & getting covered in both products

User Research & Personas

User Personas

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Job Title:

Artist; Adjunct Professor at NYU and Pace university; Visiting Assistant Professor at Pratt Institute

User Needs:

Being a professor of Art History, Jack often visits MoMA website. He wants to get data for his classes with annotations and metadata.

Pain Points:

  • Gets distracted with too many popups while navigation.
  • Doesn’t like finding small resolution files.

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Job Title:

Art History PHD Student

User Needs:

Nneoma is a grad student who also works as a curator for the MET. She is concerned with finding images in her searches in the quickest and most concise way possible when she curates a new exhibit at the museum.

Pain Points:

  • Confusing designs with too many things listed on pages.
  • Getting images that have no relation to his search
  • Having to save images and open a program like photoshop to compare images.
  • Having to use more than one website to search for his images.

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Job Title:

Director of American & European Art at Putty Inc

User Needs:

Robin is the Director of American & European Art department of Putty Inc. She is not fond modern technology, but she requires an online tool where she can analyze, collaborate and evaluate the annotations of the art curators of her department.

Pain Points:

  • Hates when the logout timer sets out and she has to start from scratch.
  • Gets frustrated by complex design and absurd navigation.
  • Not able to work at home.

User Research & Iterations

Prototyping & Card Sorting

After finding out what each user persona wanted in a Lightbox, we began creating paper prototypes to allow for some initial testing before creating the Lightbox design on Axure. After making the final decisions of what image viewing capabilities would be included in our redesign, we did a round of user testing and employed the card sorting method. Through the exercise, were able to determine how to arrange the new Lightbox tools in a way that was intuitive and easy to use.

With the first version of our interactive wireframes completed, we then included another round of user testing. The general feedback for this round of tests was in regard to the graphic design of the wireframes. Users noted incongruencies in font and font size. There were also comments about some fonts that were so large that they were drawing their dominating attention, therefore making it harder for them to successfully navigate the site.

Detailed Report

Annotated Screens


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