I analyzed the usability of the biggest Taiwanese museum's online ticketing and reservation services. I designed and prototyped a new integrated eTicketing system to provide a cohesive experience to the museum's new target audience.

Role

Research
Wireframing

Prototyping

Interface Design

Timeline

2 months

Team

Giada Sun

Ian You
Sharon Chan

Tools

Sketch
Invision

Public Digital Innovation Space

Digital Minister Office, Government of Taiwan

The eTicketing system is one of my projects in Public Digital Innovation Space led by the Digital Minister of Taiwan. PDIS is an inner consultancy under the Taiwanese government, facilitating the digital transformation of the government agencies.

National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan

Client

National Palace Museum is the biggest Taiwanese museum, collecting plentiful ancient Chinese artifacts and artworks.

The museum wanted to attract more individual visitors to replace decreasing tour groups. They hope to remove the barriers of their online ticketing and reservation services for individual visitors.

Problem

Currently, the guided tour reservation service and ticketing service are independent of the museum’s main website.

Individual visitors to the museum have to go to different websites to find information, get tickets, and reserve guided tours separately.

Task

Improve the usability of the current online ticketing and guided tour reservation service to cater to individual customers.

We were tasked to propose an improvement plan for the interface and information architecture of the current three websites.

Museum’s main website

Online reservation system

Third-party ticketing service

Design Challenge

How might we create a seamless experience for individual visitors to buy tickets and reserve guided tours before visiting the National Palace Museum?

Make the limited guided tour service reach to the visitors who need them the most.

Come up with a feasible plan that doesn’t change the current system too much.

The Response

National Palace Museum eTicketing and Reservation System is an integrated platform where individual visitors can order tickets, reserve guided tours or multimedia guides, and review orders efficiently.

Integrating current services into the museum’s main website

Visitors can easily order tickets and reserve guided tours on one website, rather than jumping between multiple sites.

Embedding reservations in ticketing process

Visitors can now reserve guided tours and audio guides while purchasing tickets online.

Step 1
Explore current exhibits and click once to order tickets

Using tags to indicate Ticket Type.

Step 2
Reserve guided tours on the ticketing page

Filtering available dates of guided tour using Toggles.

Revealing audio options using Dynamic Detection.

Step 3
Review and manage orders without creating an account

Checking the orders using just email and order number.

Design impact

We used Net Promoter Score, or NPS, to measure our participants’ experience and their overall perception of the new eTicketing system. The outcomes suggested that people are more willing to get their tickets online.

Design Process

Research

The museum wanted to attract more individual visitors

Tour groups make up 70% of annual museum visitors and about 50% of tour groups are from mainland China. However, in the past decade that number has been steadily declining. Therefore, the museum decided to pivot to attracting more individual visitors.

About 5.5 million people visit the museum every year

Personas & interview

Using the data, we created 5 personas representing the different target visitor groups and recruited participants who fit these personas.

We interviewed our participants to understand their user journey of getting tickets and reserving guided tours.

Usability testing of current websites

In addition to interviews, we also conducted usability tests with the participants. We asked them to complete a set of tasks using the main website and current reservation system.

Online reservation system

From the usability testing and interviews, we concluded three findings:

Participants found it difficult to use the museum's websites due to the complicated interfaces and navigation structure.

Participants had a hard time locating the exhibits and ticketing pages.

Participants were confused about what was included with each type of ticket.

The calendar feature on the reservation page didn’t actually help participants make the reservation more efficiently.

The separation of the main website, third-party ticketing service, and reservation system creates a chaotic user experience.

Participants were not confident about going to an external website to get tickets.

Some participants didn’t notice the online guided tour reservation service.

Participants found it inconvenient to order tickets and reserve tours separately.

The guided tour service is a strong incentive to certain visitor groups.

For example, young parents believe guided tours can provide their kids with a better learning experience while visiting the museum.

Constraints

The museum hoped to target specific visitor groups with their guided tour services

From the conversation with the museum, I realized the spots for the guided tours are very limited since it’s hard to find and train qualified volunteers.

The museum’s guided tour with kids

Designing an end-to-end ticketing experience

After listing out the challenges and constraints, I realized we were facing a problem that cannot be solved by improving each website separately. We had to start with the user journey and consider our user’s holistic, pre-visiting experience as well.

Therefore, we mapped out a user journey to help people complete all their desired tasks in a simple and linear process:

I created a chart to visualize the key user flow of the new eTicketing system.

Prototyping

Following the new user flow, we created a mid-fidelity prototype using Sketch and InVision to simulate the experience of the re-designed system.

I created the mid-fidelity prototype in Sketch.

We conducted the second round of usability testing with the same participants. The goal is to understand whether the new flow really helps people complete the tasks within a certain amount of time.

Test result of the mid-fidelity prototype

From the testing, the ease of use was increased dramatically and the time spent on each task reduced as compared to the previous round of testing. Using these findings, we updated the design to the high fidelity prototyped version of the website.

Iterations & final concept

Based on the feedback, we iterated the design and created a high-fidelity prototype with a proposal as the final deliverable for our client.

To present the final concept, we created a narrative around one persona's experience.

Meet Steven

Steven is an Australian software engineer who is interested in Chinese culture. He plans to travel alone to Taiwan and visit the National Palace Museum in the summer.

If Steven uses the current website to prepare for his visit to the museum, it’s likely:
He wouldn’t know what kind of tickets to buy.
He wouldn’t notice the museum provides a free guided tour service.
Even if he knew this, he would have a hard time locating the online reservation website.
He wouldn’t know that it isn’t possible to cancel his tickets or reservations online.
Fortunately, the new eTicketing system allows Steven to:

Discover current exhibits & different ticket types

Steven can now browse through the current exhibits on the website and know how to get the tickets online for the exhibits he is interested in.

Challenges we have addressed

Participants were confused about what was included with each type of ticket.

Participants had a hard time locating the exhibits and ticketing pages.

Solutions
Museum’s Main Website

Adding tags and buttons on exhibit page

To make sure visitors knew which tickets were related to specific exhibits, we decided to add a label to indicate the required ticket type on both the exhibition page and the exhibition list in our final prototype.

Steven is enthusiastic about the special Jade exhibition.

He is now able to find tickets to this particular exhibit using an easy, linear process on the website.

Reserve guided tours while ordering tickets

Steven would like to buy a special ticket for the Jade exhibition. He now can click the Buy Ticket button to get into the ticketing page.

Challenges we have addressed

Some participants don’t notice there is an online guided tour reservation service.

Participants found it inconvenient to order tickets and reserve tours separately.

Solutions
New eTicketing System

Ticketing page with reservation toggles

From the research, we chose the toggle as the best interface for integrating reservation services with the new eTicketing system.

Toggles can help users filter the Visit Date and Admission Time when any guided tour is available and compare them.

Based on the feedback from the second round of testing, we added a call out for users to understand more about the guided tours in the high-fidelity prototype.

When you toggle off, the drop-down list will show the upcoming dates when the museum is open.

When you toggle on, the list will only reveal the dates when guided tours are available.

Steven believes that attending a guided tour will be helpful for him to understand the story behind the jade exhibit.

With the new system, he can easily filter through the available dates and figure out the best date to visit the museum.

Review orders and cancel reservations

After checking out, Steven will receive a confirmation email with an order number. To confirm his purchase, he can go back to the museum’s website and review the order.

Challenges we have addressed

Participants are not interested in registering an account just for reviewing their purchases.

Solutions
New eTicketing System

Tile interface for reviewing orders

With privacy concerns, we decided to require an Order Number and Email Address to access orders.

In the second round of testing, we saw our participants attempted to cancel the guided tour but still wanted to keep the ticket they ordered. Therefore, we separated the guided tour reservation from the ticket using a tiled interface.

Steven can easily access his orders, in case he needs to make any changes to his reservation.
The guided tour slot will still be removed if the user cancels the ticket.

The eTicket entrance in the museum

Outcome

With the new integrated website, Steven is able to be well-prepared for his big visit to the museum.

With the new eTicketing system, Steven can check the date and time of his reservation to make sure nothing goes wrong 🤓

Reflections

Understand the reasons behind clients' business decisions helps us to better comprehend the design constraints and then narrow down our problem space.
As a consultant, we should keep the solution simple and feasible but also have a vision to persuade our client, especially a public sector, to adopt our ideas.
Strategies for the new normal in the post-COVID era

The museum continued working with PIDS on moving the project forward. However, the project was suspended due to the outbreak of coronavirus. The number of foreign visitors sharply declined and the guided tour service has been cancelled since then. Considering the dramatic change of people’s travel habits, we have to think about how to adjust the eTicketing system to attract the new target audience.

Next project

Assisting people with panic attacks to relieve stress and anxiety in real time