Designing a new Welcome Experience at the V&A
Kati Price, Head of Digital Media at the V&A, shares how visitor experience was key to the design of the museum's new extension.
The extension opened in July 2017 and provided the V&A with a new entrance, courtyard and purpose-built gallery for temporary exhibitions. It also changed the museum's relationship with the surrounding areas, and provided a big opportunity to get the visitor welcome experience right.
You can read the full case study here, but here are some of the ways they made the extension a visitor-experience success:
They recognised that digital isn't a standalone add-on. From a visitor perspective, it's woven into the physical experience.
It’s more relevant now to talk of experience strategy, one that doesn’t separate out the digital, but puts the visitor at the heart of the experience, whether that’s a digital or a physical experience, or – most likely – a blend of the two.
They created a 'customer experience map' to trace the different journeys customers could take through the space, and identify where both digital, physical, and human interventions could improve the experience.
Thinking About Tone
Not only did they look at providing enough information and practical support to help visitors on their way into the building, but they focused on the tone and feel of the welcome. By using different customer personas and customer journey mapping processes, they realised that there were inconsistencies in the welcome at three different entrances, and visual and tonal inconsistencies between the printed and the digital.
Focus on Volunteers
When you're thinking about digital and capital projects, it can be all too easy to forget about the most important part of customer experience - the staff.
Before the opening of the extension, the museum recruited a raft of new volunteers. They wanted to reflect their audience in their staff an volunteers. They prioritised recruitment from areas of London with a high percentage of BAME populations, and travelled further afield inviting people to come and visit the Museum to find out more.
As result, they hugely increased both the number and diversity of volunteers for the museum overall.