Select Page
Cooper Hewitt Museum –
A museum-going experience redesigned for inclusivity.

Services – Web Accessibility, UI/UX, Web Design, Responsive Design
My Involvement  – UX Designer, Lead UI Designer, Lead Visual Designer
Date Completed – Early 2017

Cooper Hewitt Museum
The cooper hewitt design museum is the nations only museum dedicated to historical and contemporary design with a collection of over 210,000 design objects spanning thirty centuries. Cooper hewitt makes design come alive with their permanent installations and seasonal exhibitions that encourages visitors to explore their collection digitally, draw their own designs in the immersion room, and engage in the design process.
The Task: Make the Cooper Hewitt Accessibility page accessible to museum visitors of all abilities
For this project we were tasked with redesigning the Cooper Hewitt Accessibility page and auditing elements of the Cooper Hewitt website. The goal was to not only ensure that the website is raised to current web accessibility standards, but to also ensure that visitors living with various impairments or abilities can have access to necessary information prior to their museum visit.
My Role
I participated in all phases of the UX process, from conception and information architecture to wireframing and building early prototyping. I was responsible for most of the UI and visual presentation preparation for our stakeholders.
Understanding our specific, yet diverse group of users.
When we took on the task, our team had to consider how people living with a diverse range of hearing, mobility, sight, and cognitive abilities interact and access the web. Our team embraced these accessibility guidelines as we would any set of design constraints. Only then would we be able to offer the meaningful changes which allow all people equal access to the Cooper Hewitt website and their accessibility page.
Accessibility Resource Toolbox
Before starting the project we had to understand the scope and look into what technology is used to help make the web more accessible. We discovered popular screen reading software, auditing tools, and universal web accessibility guidelines that such websites have to comply to.
Checking out the competition
For the competitive analysis, we compared the Cooper Hewitt accessibility page with other accessibility pages of well-known museums in the area such as the MoMa, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum to name a few. When conducting the competitive analysis, we reviewed each accessibility page against a mix of primary web accessibility standards, the amount of information available to museum-goers living with various disabilities, and the visual design of their UI.
Surveys and Insights
It was an important next step for the team to gain insight into the priorities of museum goers with disabilities. Instead of only relying on our assumptions, we conducted a survey to gain more concrete quantitative results. The feedback we received helped shape our approach to this project by giving us a general overview and a better idea of which features we could prioritize over others.

Our survey respondents preferred the following features:

Interviews
Following the user survey, some of the survey respondents agreed to participate in a few in-person interviews. During the interviews, we learned more about their pain points, behaviors, motivations, and needs in regards to both accessing a website and searching for specific information prior to visiting a museum.
One of our interviewees showing us how she uses a braille display keyboard to access websites.
After gathering and organizing all of the information from the interviews, we compiled and highlighted our insights into user personas. Building these personas will also help drive future design decisions.
Information Architecture
Following the user survey, our team began strategizing the best way to structure and display the information on the Cooper Hewitt website. This process involved card sorting, creating user flows, and drawing low fidelity wireframe sketches of the website.
HTML Prototyping and User Testing
In order to conduct user testing the team came to the realization that we had to create a prototype using HTML because typical prototyping tools such as Axure are not fully accessible. Before embarking on this challenge, each team member completed the Teach Access tutorial which provided essential training for designing accessible websites.

We conducted five user testings in total. Testers included people with various disabilities working at Mayor’s Office for Persons with Disabilities, Helen Keller Services for the Blind, Department of Occupational Therapy, and Tandon School of Engineering. At the same time, we also invited them to test the current website and interviewed them about their preferences, habits, and attitudes.

Web and UI Design
In order to conduct user testing the team came to the realization that we had to create a prototype using HTML because typical prototyping tools such as Axure are not fully accessible. Before embarking on this challenge, each team member completed the Teach Access tutorial which provided essential training for designing accessible websites.
Redesigned Accessibility Page
(New) Revised Accessibility Page
(Old) Original Accessibility Page
Responsive
Sometimes a design functionality that works on desktop does not translate well on touch devices and vice versa. So for this project I designed all screens simultaneously to avoid losing primary features when downscaling from desktop to mobile. The moment I have an idea for a component or a layout, I try it on all screens at the same time and see if it makes sense across the board.
Designers should … always bring the chocolate
This sentiment came from a Medium article written by Robin Noguier that I stumbled upon. He’s an advocate for bringing the chocolate. What’s the chocolate? It’s pretty simple. Don’t just do what people ask for. Go beyond that, and do something that they didn’t even know they wanted. In this case, my ‘chocolate’ was designing a series of WCAG checklists. Each checklist has its own level of accessibility compliance. A good level of compliance to aim for was Level AA. In other words, we advised our clients to “Aim for the green!”
My team. From left to right: Manning, Dom, Patricia, Nan, Claire, myself and Pan.
“We can impact not just the institution, but all of New York. There are very few universities that think about accessibility, design, and engineering the way we do.”
— R. Luke DuBois, Professor at New York University Tandon School of Engineering
Team –
Project Managers  Dominick Propati and Claire Kearney-Volpe
UX Research  Najma Dawood, Ariana Ijaduola, Pan Pan, Nan Zhao, Manning Qu
UI Designer  Ariana Ijaduola
Visual Designer  Ariana Ijaduola
Web Developer  Pan Pan
Next Project

Rutgers Feast or Famine