Case Study focusing on building an accessible and inclusive AR system for the Museum of Pop Culture located in Seattle, WA.
Creative Academy
Spring 2021
Joe Flynn
Tools Used
Figma, Adobe Illustrator
Research, writing, concept.

Problem To Solve

How might we build a framework that can improve the museum experience across a diverse range of ambitious pieces?

Proposed Solution

By utilizing augmented reality hardware, we can create a virtual environment that inspires the user to interact with both a digital and physical environment. Combining these two elements creates unique experiences to stimulate a growing visitor quota.

Proposed Execution

Build a system that supports diverse user needs, as well supports the wide range of content MoPOP provides its visitors. This inspires deeper research and understanding of museum content, increasing context and value for the average visitor.

Design Intentions

By bridging the gap for a wide array of users in terms of technological skill level, MUSE fills a primary need for an organization that prioritizes education, inclusivity, and accessibility.


By focusing on the users who require the most support in terms of physical and mental needs, we can create a versatile experience that brings access and interaction to a wide scope of potential users.


We designed the experience to enhance, not replace the existing MoPOP museum experience. Focusing on areas that fill specific user needs in a way that makes sense for the technology and adds the most value.

Defining Museum Goals

What needs drive museums to explore AR? What do they hope that a complete AR experience is able to offer?

Wayfinding Navigation and Utilization of Physical Space

Museums put a huge amount of effort into the utilization of physical space and wayfinding in their design.

Educational and Cultural Value

Museums have missions that involve the deliberate upliftment and betterment of their audience.

User Participation and Return

Making the technology approachable and easy to navigate, so that the AR system ensures returning visitors instead of creating an inaccessible technology that intimidates them from coming back.

Concepts & Prototypes


Hardware focuses on practicality and reliability, while not being intrusive to the overall visitor's experience. We considered such as visitors with eyeglasses, those who may have mobility issues, or those with physical ailments who may need more support when wearing the headset.

Hardware Summary


Privacy By Design

Increase trust by adding features such as Automatic Shutoff when in proximity of amenities and stores, or not adding a Camera option.

Physical Accessibility

Hardware was designed with a modular system for use with many edge cases. Virtual interfaces were designed to work against different backgrounds in different environments and lighting conditions.

Casual Interactivity

Alongside informational assets provided the museum, MUSE AR allows for more casual and enjoyable interactions such as ‘Trophy Hunting.’


We focused on multifaceted multimedia content, by designing a fluid and easily navigated interface that builds off of established interactions and mental models.

Gestures using Microsoft's Mental Model

User Interface

For our experience we designate the area at the entrance of the museum to be a place where users can be introduced to the AR experience in 3 steps showing the core functionality and having user learn by doing. With the option of support from staff who are located within the area.

Birds Eye View of Tutorial Area
MUSE AR Menu Hub

The Menu Hub connects the user to all available assets the museum has to provide. This provides control over the basal needs of customizing the system, as well as may drive further visits by providing information on future exhibits.

MUSE AR Hub Dashboard
Content Reader

The main option for text based content, with the option to access additional media. This screen includes an extra option for auditory transcription for the text.

Content Reader Screen
Media Player

The Media Player supports a diversity of content and allows the user to browse provided media assets. Media players can be easily moved to fit the user’s preferred position in their view.

Media Player

User Testing

Task Based User Testing

For our testing process we gave a prompt o a user asking them to complete a given task asking how they might complete the task using the provided interface. We also asked them speak out their reactions, thoughts and interpretations of the interface while they attempted to complete the task.


Users appreciated the less distracting interfaces and flexibility in extra content. There was user reassurance that they wanted the ability to be able to quickly move in and out of the virtual space. Because the ‘smart device’ mental model was used, the experience made logical sense in how to interact.


AR For a Broad Audience

We learned a lot about the AR experience. How it can take shape and problem-solving opportunities it provides. MUSE AR can solve a multitude of needs as well as capitalize on the ways AR already exists in user’s lives.

Easily Customizable

The MUSE AR system can be easily adapted to fit the needs of any museum or establishment. With the design system in place, the flexibility of MUSE maintains its focus on being inclusive to fit the needs of any interested clients.


Looking back, our decision to make an accessible system made it more robust overall. By distilling down base needs from surveyed users in the Research phase, we were able to create a successful experience that employs practical and inclusive design.