AAHOM UI Graphic Exhibits

Kristina Rudolph | Under the management of the exhibit director
Duration | January 2015 – April 2018
Software | Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop
Role | Graphics and exhibit design

Client

The Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum is a 501(c)(3). My “black and white” role as an exhibit technician was to service, repair, clean, and update the 250+ museum exhibits from day-to-day. I went above and beyond…

Challenge

Older exhibits looked tired and eclectic for their spaces. There was no unified design or spacial flow to the eclectic exhibits within each room.

Proposal

  • Clean, paint, refresh, and redesign exhibits and their bases for a clean updated look
  • Update lighting and electrical to create a clean and refreshed look that contributes to more energy-efficient exhibits
  • Design a set of graphic labels for each exhibit in order to unify the eclectic spaces and provide further options for increased engagement

Outcome

I was given the green-light, from the museum director, to update all exhibits and graphics on the first and second museum floors after he saw the incorporation of the new graphics and cleaner exhibits.

Working with the exhibit director, we created a cohesive set of scientific-themed backgrounds based on visual representations.

Background themes for exhibits show waves, digital dots, reflection/refraction lines, magnetism plus and minus signs, motion dots regressing into space
Background themes: Waves, digital, reflection/refraction, magnetism, motion

The new graphic exhibit labels were created to be colorful with easy-to-read text and easy-to-navigate visuals to guide them.

Design improvements

  • Icons, which resembled apps, were added to help guide users through their discovery process
  • A numbering system let users of all ages follow suggested steps
  • A color-coded system of bars offered suggestions on engagement with the exhibit before and after viewing the label
  • Each label had a background representing a scientific-based theme (waves, digital, reflection/refraction, magnetism, and motion)
  • The content was simplified, shortened, and reorganized for easy readability
  • When able, hand or “in-use” drawings provided clues on how one could engage with the exhibit
Icons resembling apps and color-coded bar number system

Below images display the graphic series concepts and the final before/after layouts.


Below are some examples of the 50+ exhibits that were refaced with two floors of the museum.

Stationary “UI” layouts show potential ways that users can interact with the tactile hands-on exhibits. Exhibit labels include drawings showing mechanical details or in-use drawings with cartoon hands.

Spin stool graphics
Spin stool graphics show break-away drawings of the working mechanics for the stools
Bernoulli Blast graphic
Bernoulli Blast graphic showing in-use hand cartoon drawing
Siren exhibit graphic
Siren exhibit graphic was simplified and content was better organized
Walk on piano wall-graphic
Walk on piano wall-graphic is large and easy to read as people move around to play
Peripheral vision exhibit
Peripheral vision exhibit shows you where to put your nose to focus and where to grab the handles under the table’s top
Oscylinderscope graphic
Oscylinderscope graphic
How does your pupil work graphic
Pupil graphic is simplified and integrated into one label
Little magnet graphic
Little magnet graphic
Hand battery graphic
Hand battery graphic is better integrated and metal hands are refined
Sound frequency graphic
Sound frequency graphic is incorporated around the knob and on the face of the exhibit so that it can be moved freely to different museum areas with all instructions attached
Measure up exhibit graphics
Measure-Up exhibit graphics show how to position your body on each machine through steps and an image of a stylized stick figure at each station
Big magnet exhibit graphic
Big magnet exhibit graphic
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