Project: T522 Virtual Gallery
In the fall of 2020, the Harvard Graduate School of Education went full remote with their Technology in Education Master’s program. I was hired as a Teaching Fellow on the T522: Innovation by Design teaching team to assist the professor in designing and delivering the course remotely. I coached graduate students through the UX design process in the development of their educational technology prototypes.
For the culminating showcase, I designed a virtual art gallery using the visual collaboration software, Miro.com, where the students displayed their work and engaged in each other’s designs asynchronously. We also hosted a live “gala” over Zoom where we walked through the galleries together in small groups, prompted by look-for’s and entertained by Easter eggs hidden by the teaching team.
I leveraged the affordances of the technology, Miro.com, to provide a collaborative virtual space that students could populate within a framework and that visitors could wander, engage with the displays and provide feedback. I drew inspiration and design elements from some templates of past conference rooms and art shows that were shared on the Miroverse.
Cloning and locking down commonly used objects, such as the Exhibit Rooms, was tedious! It would have been a lot easier if I could have cascaded a change on the original object to all of its clones. I also would have liked the ability to embed an audio file to play from the stereo in the Lounge, but I worked around that by embedding a YouTube video that played jazz club music.
My design concept was heavily influenced by my own experience as a volunteer at the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum in Boston. The galleries there are designed to engage visitors in making their own personal connections with the artwork and the space, the artists and the architect herself, Mrs. Gardner. It is not a linear experience, although a guided approach is provided, and the courtyard is at the core of the museum as a place to reflect and relax as you explore. There is a lounge, a café, and a theatre.
I primarily designed with the students and involved them as well as the teaching team in the design process. If I had more time, I would group the Exhibit Rooms visually, perhaps by using colored “carpets,” to show that they were connected by theme, or Affinity Group. I think that the external visitors experience could be improved as well.
Explore the galleries at this link: https://miro.com/app/board/o9J_ldmsIS4=/