During the Fall 2017 semester at Parsons school of Design, I participated in a collaborative class about rapid museum prototyping. My classmates and I worked with curators at The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, where they were developing ideas for a new exhibition about cellular phones titled "Unseen connections". Placed in teams, we then spent three months building quick prototypes of potential exhibition products and presenting them to the museum staff for feedback.

For our final prototype idea, my classmates and I set up working demos at the museum’s location in Washington D.C. Regular museum goers were encourage to test out our betas and answer a quick survey on usability afterwards for case study purposes. For our final concept, my team created “Quest”. The prototype told a global story of where the components of our phones are created, and provide a narrative about the people who make cell phones.


  • Product Designer
  • Demo Animator


  • La Tricia Watford
  • Neeraja Mathur
  • Ying He
  • Rainie Xu


    How can we tell a global story of where the components of our phones are created and provide a narrative about the people who make cell phones?

    Prototype 1

    Version A

    Create a map with images of people who work on a specific phone component. When a person's image is clicked, a pop up will show information such as: the name of the worker, where they are from, what piece they make, and their salary. A short interview video following the day of the worker will also be included for each person on the map.

    Version B

    Start with a collapsable smart phone. Clicking on each component would highlight a location on the map in which the user could click on to learn more information about it.

    Goals and Learning Value

  • Provide people with a global perspective about where their cell phones are made.
  • Connect individuals with the people who make their phone by providing key information on their lives; in the form of data supported by a “story”.
  • Use data and story to provide the value of authenticity to make their exhibit experience memorable.
  • User Testing At The Museum

    Using two computer monitors, my team set up demos of our two prototype aproaches at the museum entrance. Volunteers tested the product by clicking through each map and watching the informational video that came with it. Users were then asked questions regarding their previous knowledge of what their phones where made of and who makes them. Try our online demo here.

    Each person on the map will have an accompanying interview video like the one below:

    User Testing Results

    Exhibit Product Mockups

    Option 1

  • User walks up to table
  • User sees instructions on screen
  • User puts on headphones
  • User interacts with exhibit
  • Option 2

  • User moves to face screen
  • User interacts with exhibit
  • Next Steps

  • Show comparative analysis of the cost of living for each country to make income value more understandable.
  • Test Attention Value.
  • Interview and film real people who build phone parts.
  • Test weather people have a different perspective towards their cell phones and the people who make them.
  • Test on a wider age range of individuals (young adults and teens).
  • Software


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