In April 2016, the product development team partnered with digital consultancy Mentally Friendly to conduct user research in the hope of understanding our requirements for a new website for the British Museum. The research was conducted over ten days and the end result was a series of recommendations to engage different audiences on the website.



The team trialled different methodologies in the beginning to see which method would provide the right type of feedback. Some of the research methodologies included: questionnaires prompting users to describe their planning prior to coming on-site and calendar worksheets asking visitors to visualise their journey. We even hired Chinese and Japanese translators to ask Asian visitors about their habits and prior experience with cultural institutions like the British Museum.

The research revealed that users most likely to use the website are those needing additional information for their on-site visit. These users are young families, individuals with accessibility needs, tour groups, school groups, and members. We decided to create “audience portals,” which centralises important visitor information for these specific groups. The research also revealed the need for a tool to help visitors plan their visit better. Most visitors interviewed had very little clue what to do once they had entered the Museum. They just knew that the British Museum was a must-see destination.



Image credit: © Benedict Johnson