Met Music

A mobile app where visitors to the Met can "play" instruments from the museum's collection

UX Designer | Collaborators: Carl Farra, Reynaldo Vargas
Designing for the Met, Spring 2015
January-May 2015

Design Question: How can visitors have a more hands on experience with a museum’s collection without directly touching them?

The Hall of Musical Instruments showcased the Metropolitan Museum of Art's amazing collection of instruments from all around the globe, but the instruments were on display behind glass cases - visitors could look at the instruments but not learn about the sounds the instruments could make.

MetMusic is a proposed feature of the Met's mobile app where visitors can "play" the instruments using their mobile device to simulate the instrument. Visitors can explore the different sounds of the Met's collection of instruments while learning about what makes each instrument unique. MetMusic was developed with the Met as our client and partner for the Designing for the Met class at NYU Game Center and was first exhibited at the Met Media Expo in May 2016.

I was the UX designer on the project working on the information architecture, interaction design, and visual design of the application. I also looked at the technical and design specifications of building MetMusic from prototype to production. 

The Making of MetMusic

Click on a picture to get more details about each step in the process.

Lessons Learned

  • Playtest frequently - we didn't playtest as early as we wanted during our sprints, so while we were able to iterate on MetMusic we could have done it earlier to prevent the redesign development in the last two weeks of the class.
  • Novel interactions can take away from the experience - simple was the best way to go, and the playfulness came from the overall experience in the end.
  • Collaborate with the client, don't consult - the feedback we got from Marco and the Musical Instruments Department at the Met gave us a lot to work with for content and design. We enjoyed working with them and hope that they did as well.
  • Don't be afraid to start over - Even with the two weeks left, the team wanted to push for the best experience possible. We fortunately didn't have to start over completely, but in not trying to pull in preexisting code and design concepts we were able to create a much more successful product.