Understanding visitor experience to inform ACMI's design-led transformation
In 2015, Meld Studios helped the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) to better understand behaviours, systems and processes surrounding the delivery of services to visitors. This enabled ACMI to develop and execute a vision for service delivery encompassing gallery spaces and enhancing the interactions between visitors, staff, and ACMI. Our work helped ACMI to secure $36.6m in government funding to architecturally and digitally transform the museum.
ACMI wanted visitor-centred insights to inform a major architectural, programatic, and technological redevelopment of the museum. Our scope of work included:
Understanding the current state service delivery in all aspects of ACMI’s products and services – involving both front of house and back of house;
Identifying opportunities for service improvement and innovation;
Laying out a future vision for service delivery that maps to the development of new gallery spaces.
What we did
Meld Studios conducted qualitative research with visitors, frontline staff and stakeholders to understand the current service interactions and identify opportunities for new and enhanced services and delivery.
Observational research at the museum allowed us to look broadly at visitor and staff behaviours and infer how the types of experiences might suit different types of visitors to the museum and how existing socio-technical systems can support those behaviours.
Following the research, and a period of analysis and synthesis, we visualised the existing visitor journey, mapping the key moments of interaction, and identifying opportunities to explore in later work.
Take a look at this video about ACMI's renewal.
Research underpinned masterplanning, leading to design and architectural work; it was vital for ACMI's multiple business cases to Victorian Government; and helped prioritise and improve internal systems and practices.
The journey map became a North Star whenever making change - and brought underlying infrastructural and procedural issues to the fore.
Seb Chan, Chief Experience Officer, ACMI, said:
"Meld Studios helped us to understand our visitor experience, with a particular focus on identifying the behaviours, systems and processes surrounding service delivery to visitors. We used this work to help secure $36.6m in funding from the Victoria State Government.”
In 2021, Good Design Australia recognised this project for outstanding design and innovation in the Design Research category.
The Good Design Awards Jury commented:
“The research methods and procedures were expertly executed and the resulting journey map was a piece that served as a valuable guide for this project. The value of the research to the organisation is clear. It helped inform master planning, leading to design and architectural work, staff process changes and organisational value upgrades. The rigorous research methodology applied is transferable to other domains as well. Well done. ”
The influence and impact of this project has been significant far beyond the initial scope. Central to this extended influence and impact is the highly engaging journey map that was used to communicate findings.
Image: Excerpt of ‘front stage’ of the ACMI visitor journey map
Delivering visitor insights as a journey map, rather than simply as a traditional insights report, had a dramatic impact on how insights were consumed within ACMI, the longevity of their use within the museum, and the influence of the project within the galleries, libraries and museum sector.
The journey map enabled staff members to collaboratively engage with insights and explore solutions. It remained a North Star for exploring change and discussing customer needs long after many initial changes were implemented.
The ACMI journey map has also had a significant impact in influencing visitor-centric activities in galleries, libraries and museums around the world. Seb Chan, Chief Experience Officer at ACMI, has blogged and spoken about the visitor journey mapping work at international conferences. Through the extended sharing of the ACMI visitor journey map, this engagement has directly influenced similar engagements that have improved the experiences of museum visitors in locations such as the UK and Hong Kong.
For example:Influencing digital journey mapping work at The National Gallery (UK)
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ACMI image credit: Shannon McGrath