The Information Architecture Institute
A conference on designing
complex information spaces of all kinds.
New York City, October 4 and 5, 2007

Design in the Getty museum

It was a special thrill to hear Dave Cronin talk about the interaction design work Cooper did at the Getty museum, as I’d visted there a couple of months ago. Its always fun to retroactively rebuild an experience, knowing something now, in the present, about how that experience was constructed.

The talk was mostly case study about their design process: the challenges of public museums, the diverse needs and types of people who visit, and the basic problems of wayfinding in public spaces. As its a Cooper design project, I wasn’t surprised to hear about their use of Personas. Having used the system I can say first hand the project was a success, as I used their interactive kiosks to both find art in the musuem, and understand the history of other art I’d already seen inside.

It was a clear, straightforward and interesting presentation, visually rich with screenshots and images (taking advantage of the visually interesting museum itself), but slightly too well packaged in feel to fit a “designer talking to other designers” vibe - and as the clients are quiet visible in the case study, I can understand the challenge of wanting to inform, but without rallying against a client: a tension all designers feel about client based work. Any inside scoups or tales of design turmoil on the scale of what it took to build the actual Getty center, will have to wait for side conversations, perhaps over drinks, with Mr. Cronin himself.

-Scott Berkun

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