Barberini slow art



Note: This is not a real-world project. It was a project that was part of my MBA programme. Despite the intention of the museum to develop an app, due to some issues with a funding partner, the project was cancelled.

My role: UX researcher, ideation facilitator

Slow art tours are experiences that are designed to allow visitors to truly enjoy artwork. When taking a slow art tour at Palazzo Barberini, participants looked at five pre-selected works for between five and ten minutes, and answered pre-written questions on paper that they were given at the entrance of the museum.  In all of this, there was an art mediator (me) who indicated them the route. Afterwards, everyone gathered into a room to discuss and share experiences. Most of the slow art tours at Palazzo Barberini were taken by adults +30 years old. That's why the museum was interested in finding ways to attract more young people through the aid of digital technologies and asked the students of the LUISS Business School to help explore some possibilities. 

Target group: modern, attention-deficient museum-goers aged between 20-30 years old.



Help Palazzo Barberini expand their slow art tour audience by designing an experience that digital natives love.


A desirable, feasible, and viable idea for a mobile app that help young visitors immerse in the slow art tour, while keeping track and sharing memories of their experience.


1. Learn

Goals: To gain a deeper understanding of the participants, including their said and unsaid thoughts, emotions, motivations and needs.

I conducted Slow Art tour's observations: first, by joining a tour given by a colleague as a participant; and secondly, as a passive observer of the target group. As a trained anthropologist, it was really important to me to step in the shoes of the target group so that later in the process  I could always step back and ask myself: "Do you remember when you were a visitor? How does this thing fit with that experience?". When I was observing the target group, I chose to make pictures. In this way, I could ask visitors how did they feel in any photographed moment. Not only, the pictures were also used to execute a card sorting game as I asked the participants to rank them from their most favourite to the least favourite and this helped spark an open and deeper conversation from the very beginning of the interview. To be sure to not lose any information, I recorded the interviews with an audio-recorder.

Participants: 5 modern, attention-deficient museum-goers aged between 20-30 years old (Android and IOS users).

*I was aware that 5 people were not much, but as I mentioned in the context section, this was only a fictional assignment.​

Methods: Participant observation; photographing target users; semi-structured interviews; card sorting; informal discussions.

Tools: Field diary, smartphone, pictures, a board, a marker and a recorder.


2. Create order out of chaos

Goals: make sense of user research; analyse and identify pain points from the participants’ perspective, re-frame the challenge according to participants' needs, motivations and goals.

To help me gather the data collected into a coherent form, I designed an empathy map that included what the participants said, did, thought and felt in relation the Slow Art tour's experience. This map was useful to make up a persona - "Eva: the junior art history student" - the scenario,  and delineate the visitor journey. Based on all of this, I articulated 3POV statements by combining these three elements – user, needs, and insights– and made up 3HMW questions to re-frame the challenge according to the participants' needs.

Findings Based on the research result, the main pain points were related to: writing on paper their comments and following the route in group. From our conversations, it also emerged that the participants  wished they could record their experience and share it with their friends.

Methods: Empathy map, persona, scenario, visitor journey, POV statements, HMW questions.

Tools: Field diary, a board, post-its, marker, Lucidchart 


Challenge framing

"How might we improve the writing experience during a Slow Art tour through an app?"

"How might we improve the communication of the Slow Art Tour's route through an app?" 

"How might we think of an app that is better suited to cherish and share the memories of the Slow Art tour experience?"


3. Ideate

Goals: To come up with numerous wild and innovative ideas, inspire participants with tech trends, and eventually pick the most feasible, desirable and viable solution.

During the "ideation" phase, I  first had a brainstorming session with each of the participants in the attempt to generate more ideas and avoid that the loudest voice would determine the direction of the process. Once everyone had set their own approach to solving the problem, we moved to the co-creative group session and discussed the broadest range of solutions by using different techniques such as crazy 8 in 5 and idea shopping. In order to select the idea, we used dot-votes.

Methods: Individual brainstorming, co-creative focus groups with participants, crazy 8 in 5, idea shopping, dot-voting.

Tools: A board, post-its, and markers. 


The Winning Idea

An app that would merge a Rijksstudio model with an Instagram-style format. Ideally, you could see your Slow Art Tour route on an interactive map with tailor-made directions so that the app guides the user to and from any location, save his/her route, including visual and written material, and allows to share it with other participants or with your friends on social media.

The interactive map leads the user through the route and ask him/her to make a picture of each pre-selected artwork as soon as he/she is in front of it. Once made the picture, the user is asked to tag it with words that express emotions or first impressions, to save it in his/her own slow art tour catalogue on the app and if he/she wants to, to share it : 1) on the main wall of the app (like you do in Instagram) with the other participants, who could then like and comment on the photos 2) with friends on other social media. After that, the user is directed to the questions posed by the art mediator and he/she can type and save the answers. Having recorded the route, including visual and written material, in the app,  the user can look at it every time he/she wants to, also in the future. If the user is going to do another Slow Art tour at Palazzo Barberini, he/she can keep track of what seen and learned during the tours throughout time.


The Takeaway

This project allowed me to make use of my research skills, whilst learning that people you are designing for can tell and show you a lot. I wish ... I implemented a low fidelity prototype and tested it.