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Born from a Mixed Reality UX Design Challenge on at New York University

A Mixed Reality Art Portfolio Viewing Application for Curators on the HoloLens 👓


Final Digital Visualization

Here is the project prompt:

Dana Karwas - Design Challenge
Design a proof of concept for a holographic art portfolio viewing application that can be used to interact with different types of art work in mixed reality on the HoloLens. This experience should be based on the experience of a studio visit. 

Ugh... What?

Sorry, let's start over:
Sarah Humphreville.jfif

Sarah Humphreville

Senior Curatorial Assistant at Whitney Museum of American Art

Imagine if you work as a curator like Sarah, whom we interviewed.
It's pretty difficult to arrange paintings🎨/ installations🎭/ sculptures🗿 when you don't have them in the exhibit space. 👉
Whitney Scale_Model 5.jpg

Whitney Museum Exhibition Planning Scale Models

Now imagine: you put on the HoloLens

The HoloLens projects a digital rendering of the artwork in your space. 👇


You can just drag and drop to position and arrange the artwork. BAM! Easy! 😎


We also talked to other gallery curators, studio managers and archivists, here are some key insights: 

 BTW you can find our affinity diagram of insights in our project booklet at the end

Physical Viewing


Curators would like to view actual artwork before accepting them to their spaces, but oftentimes rely on digital or print renderings of the work only.

Two Types of Curation


Curating for a permanent collection or planning for a temporary exhibition at a large museum requires different sets of protocols of selecting artworks. 

Time Constraint

When planning for an exhibit, curators are often pressed for time, working with strict deadlines. 

Space Arrangement

Curators use non-digital methods to organize their physical spaces. Exhibits are planned using a scaled foam-core rendering of the museum's walls

Presentation to Stakeholders

Curators present artwork to museums and gallery stakeholders in non-digital ways. Artwork involved in discussions are often printed on paper. 

Art Process Display

Most art studio galleries have tools and unfinished works on display. Artists want to show curators processes as well as their finished artworks.

Display Techniques

Artworks displayed on a wall is ideally 60 inches off the ground - the best placement for capturing a viewer's attention. 


Artwork on display can be "spotted" with special lighting. Artists often shine brighter lights on areas of the piece they want to highlight. 

From here, we came up with the immersive web idea as the entry point for the application.

The user (curator) first pick an artist from the immersive web. 


Going forward we put in place some design principles to keep us ground. 


The design should stay aesthetically minimal that assists the viewer without intrusion or distraction. The focus of the viewer should always be reserved for the artwork itself. 


The design should create an intuitive navigation process and gestural language. Viewers should be able to migrate their existing interaction with computers to the interaction with this app. 


The design for features should remain consistent and applicable to different types of artwork. The application should be designed in a way that respects and allows for scalability. 

Now that our concept is formed, it's time to get messy!... with some prototyping


Starting with a low-fidelity 2D version --- paper!📃

Moving on to a 3D version, using... well... ourselves!


Introducing --- Bodystorming! 


At this point, we have hashed out more details of application and made a higher fidelity clickable prototype


Below are some design renderings of the clickable prototype 👇 

Making prototypes without testing is like why even bother 🙄, so we user tested 😊

Testing revealed some interesting findings, one of them being: back buttons 🔙 are essential, but what should they look like on the HoloLens?


Our answer: user education 🎓+ voice activation🎤
Below is our user flow to illustrate this: