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Factory Deck

client

The Mattress Factory
via Carnegie Mellon MHCI Program
Pittsburgh, PA

duration

2 months

goodies

Final Presentation (pdf; 11mb)
big file, but lots of modeling goodness

The Mattress Factory is a contemporary art museum in Pittsburgh's Northside that features installation art by artists from around the world. I was placed in a team of four, and we were given the task of understanding and improving the service experience at the museum.

Through the course of our observations and interviews, we noticed two, somewhat conflicting themes: A desire to encourage exploration while striving for minimal direction.

The Factory Deck was able to bridge both themes — simultaneously providing a unique and interactive guide that encouraged exploration without imposing too much on the visitor's experience.

 
design communication

Building a Factory Deck

By the virtue of its size, a Factory Deck card isn't able to hold much information. It can give some basic information about a piece, and perhaps some reflection points, but not much else. We also wanted to leave space for visitors to write their own notes.

The fronts and backs of sample Factory Deck cards
 

A Unique Handheld Guide

The coolest aspect of the Factory Deck by far is the fact that you build it as you go. It's a piece of the Mattress Factory that visitors get to take home with them, share with family and friends, and continue to experience long after they've left the museum.

A new card is added to the Factory Deck
 
design communication

What is the Competitive Landscape?

An early consideration for the project addressed a number of business concerns: What is the Mattress Factory's brand, and what institutions does it compete with?

We collected the descriptions of a few similar museums. By analogizing each one to a well-known superhero, we put an interesting spin on the discussion.

Similar museums (by location and type) are analogized to superheroes
 

Know Thy Audience

The Mattress Factory strives to encourage exploration, but first things first: Who is visiting the museum? What is their motivation, if any, for exploring or interacting?

By creating profiles based on our user observations and interviews, we were able to get a solid grasp on who we were designing for.

A sampling of customer profiles created for the museum
 

Evaluating Potential Solutions

In brainstorming for potential solutions, the sky was the limit. Once we felt we had sufficient breadth, we evaluated each solution in terms both cost and impact. The graph to the left is a visual representation of the results.

Possible solutions evaluated for cost and impact
 

The Factory Deck in Action

To show our idea in action, we enacted a scene where two visitors were exploring the Repetitive Vision exhibit with their factory deck.

Yes, I'm playing the mannequin.

This enactment was central in our ability to sell the Factory Deck as a simple, lightweight guide that would impact the visitors' experience without being too overt in its direction.

Pictures of our team doing an experience enactment
				   		with the Factory Deck