Museums that want to attract new visitors and build customer loyalty face an ongoing challenge: How to be a welcoming and inviting place to a wider variety of people, while simultaneously upholding the highest standards of presentation and scholarship. For this project, we identified some of the current pain points, service opportunities and possible solutions to help Museum of Sex create a memorable and unified experience.
Service Experience Design for Museum of Sex in NYC
User Research, Interview, Competitive Analysis, Product Design, Strategy and User Experience Design
Ritwik Deshpande, Sara Lim, James Vanié and Song Lee at the SVA IxD
MoSex provides an edge case on the spectrum of museum experiences. MoSex has begun enlisting technology to enable more engaging interactions with the exhibits they offer, and we wanted to explore the way in which these interactions can be made more meaningful. During our first field observation, we realized that they’re willing to push the barriers but the experience is riddled with many pain points that are hindering the vast potential to deliver a memorable experience.
One of MoSex’s greatest assets is its ability to capture attention and generate curiosity. Whether it’s the subway ads or the building itself, anyone encountering one of its touchpoints can attest to the fact that it’s impossible to ignore. The primary reason it’s capable of generating such curiosity is it promises to reveal information about a topic that’s such an intrinsic part of the human experience. Also, the store area offers an array of products that tie in with the theme of the museum in an elegantly packaged form while serving as an exciting tourist attraction.
Our research started with the team learning about how people learn about MoSex. We looked at both its online (Google Search and Map, Yelp, TripAdvisor) and offline presence (subway ads) to understand the general public perception. Also we interviewed number of MoSex visitors and found out that ticket purchasing process and complicated navigation were the biggest pain points.
We talked a designer who helped design an interactive product experience for the Cooper Hewitt museum to get more insights about the role of technology in museum settings.
We interviewed Steven Heller, who was an advisor on the Mosex board, in order to get deeper understanding of the museum and its mission to “advocate open discourse surrounding sex and sexuality as well as striving to present to the public the best in current scholarship unhindered by self-censorship.”
We spoke with staffs and managers at Mosex to better understand the museum from its’ perspective. We learned that they aim to create an environment where people can come to explore and learn about sexuality.
While MoSex is a museum experience, its direct competitors are not traditional museums like the Whitney, MoMA or the Museum of Natural History. It has more in common with experiences like the Bodies Exhibition, Ripley’s Believe it Or Not, Nascar I-Drive, iFly Indoor Skydiving, Escape from the Room and Sleep No More. On the spectrum between industrial and expertise-based services, MoSex falls somewhere in between, but tends towards the latter.
The content that the museum promises is capable of generating enough curiosity to warrant the initial ticket purchase. The problem the museum has is that of managing expectations. Given that it’s not a very big museum, the $20 entry fee seems rather steep. Not too many people who pass through its premises feel it’s worth it after the experience is over.
Creating a great user experience for visitors, one that will make them want to return again, requires many in-depth considerations. After collecting key insights from our research and interviews, we drew a comprehensive customer journey map to fully understand the pain points and suggest possible solutions for them.
The key to creating a positive customer experience is making sure that all the staff members have a clear understanding of the museum’s service standards and and enthusiasm to meet customers’ expectations. MoSex should focus on creating an in-house culture that is welcoming and sensitive to satisfying the needs of all who visit. They should promote staff training in customer service, conflict resolution and diversity awareness. Moreover, staff members should become more knowledgeable about the museum’s collections, program offerings and also about the products they sell in the store area. The museum may consider revamping hiring, evaluation and compensation practices to make sure that the staff members provide a high-quality customer service since the willingness to invest in staff reflects the museum’s growing awareness on the importance of creating a better customer experience.
Based on ethnographic research and customer interviews, we found a key pain point: location of the Ticketing booth.
Currently, customers have to go to basement to purchase ticket and then come back again to enter the museum. To avoid confusion, we came up with a new floor plan which allows customers to purchase tickets on the first floor. Also, signages will be on each floor to give visitors a clear understanding of the floor plan. The exit of the museum will be changed from first floor to the basement so that the customers are automatically lead to the bar when they finish the museum experience and need some space to reflect on it. This new floor plan not only solves the confusion of buying a ticket to the museum but also embeds the store experience within the museum.
Everyone has a personal history relating to sex, and a visit to the museum promises to reveal insights that can help people gain a better understanding of their own sexuality and get a bird’s eye view of how sex was perceived in different points in history. Apart from providing knowledge about a topic that’s personal and universal, MoSex also promises an environment where people who’re already in a sexual relationship can further the dialogue about what that relationship entails.
This interactive wall to encourage visitors to share what sex means to them privately and publicly. By using the kiosks positioned in from of the wall, users simply input a one word answer and it appears on the screen. The type size of the words will be proportional to the number of collected answers. This interactive experience will start conversations among users and create more open and friendly environment for the MoSex.
MoSex aims to promote discourse and engagement on the topic of sex. By hosting on ground events, they can achieve this and boost the number of visitors. We believe that they can bolster its public profile by setting up educational events and talks. These events can also be recorded and launched online as videos and/or podcasts in order to ensure they reach a global audience.