BYOAD: Museum Guide Templates (2021)

UX Design
Project Overview
This project was part of a broader initiative (BYOAD: Bring Your Own Accessible Device) that is a partnership between the NYU Ability Project and the Intrepid Museum. This was also done as part of a graduate level class taught by Amy Hurst and Anita Perr at NYU. I had the opportunity to work on a team with my classmates and collaborate with several museum sites, the site that I personally worked with was the Brandywine River Museum of Art.

Our class was attributed in a 2021 exhibit at the Intrepid Museum called Making History Accessible
My Role:
User researcher, Designer
Lilly Lin, Cameron Womack, Cathy Xu, Nelson James
6 weeks
timeline, limited resources for user testing, funding


As part of my class on museums and accessibility, we were given the opportunity to work with the Intrepid Museum in New York City on their BYOAD (Bring Your Own Accessible Device) initiative, which is a multi-faceted project that aims to make museum content and experiences more accessible. The team I worked on focused on the challenge of creating templates for easy to implement and low cost mobile guides for museum exhibits.

Traditional museum audio and text guides (handheld audio devices, printed guides) can be inflexible (in the case of a change in programming, or any small modification to museum content). COVID-19 precautions also mean that reusable devices rented out on site (like audio guides) need to be effectively sanitized before each use. Making museum guides adaptable and accessible to visitors' own mobile smart devices would alleviate the pain points above.

Challenges & Goals

Our main constraint for this project was time. Our team was only 4 students, and we were working actively with a total of 5 museums/historical sites, each with their own unique design challenges. It would have been impractical for us to fully develop guides for each museum given the time constraint.

A major goal we had for this project was for it to be able to outlive our short period of time on it, meaning that museum staff or volunteers could easily be trained to update the guides and create new ones in the future. All of the museums we worked with had personnel and funding limitations, meaning that our solution needed to be low tech and modular.

Therefore, our main deliverables for this project were the following:

Final Deliverables

Annotated Template WireframesAccessibility Documentation & Final Report

Process Overview


first concepts & Design

stakeholder meetings



Initial Stakeholder Meetings
Accessibility on the Web


Brandywine provided me with the section titles of their exhibit and some digital images of the artwork, which I used to make the initial wireframes shown below:


After drafting the initial wireframes, I met again with Brandywine's rep. They approved the initial page design and we discussed an opportunity to expand the template for future use in other, potentially larger and non-unidirectional exhibits. Expansion of the template would include a search function, audio guide inclusion, and an additional navigation menu at the top of each section page to help guide visitors in larger exhibits.


In addition to further development of the initial wireframes I presented, I added the expanded template features:


What's Next?

One thing I believe this project is missing is the lack of user testing - our team was juggling the needs of several stakeholders while being limited on time and resources given that this was a class project. We did our best to use simple layouts that are comparable to existing examples of accessible websites, but I think our template designs would have greatly benefited from having users with a range of physical and cognitive abilities try out a few of the prototypes, especially since the goal of the BYOAD initiative is to improve accessibility.

Again due to time and resource constraints, we were only able to provide design templates, accessibility recommendations, and general WordPress advice. We were unable to help our stakeholders actually build any of the designs in WordPress. Although we kept the solutions fairly low tech, I think it could have been crucial to help the staff from the museums lay down a good technical foundation for the templates and also help them troubleshoot any issues that might have come up with the implementation.


This project taught me a lot about how to divide and conquer, especially given severe resource constraints! It's difficult to know where you could see a project becoming, but only being able to do so much. I think overall our team did a great job working together and making impactful progress in the overall BYOAD initiative.