Design Brief

Project Duration: 14 weeks
In-Class Final Due: May 4th, 2017 6:30pm
Final Presentation: 
Friday May 12, 10:45am-12:15 pm (Cooper Hewitt Trustee’s Room)


Important Dates:
Week of February 2nd (TBD) Site Visit 1 (Client Meeting)
Week of February 16th (TBD) Site Visit 2 (Meet with UCP Clients)
March 30th: 6:30pm Midterm Presentations MAGNET Rm 803

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum is the only museum in the nation devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design. Cooper Hewitt educates, inspires, and empowers people through design by presenting exhibitions and educational programs and maintaining active publications.

It is the mission of Cooper Hewitt’s staff and Board of Trustees to advance the public understanding of design across the thirty centuries of human creativity represented by the Museum’s collection. The Museum was founded in 1897 by Amy, Eleanor, and Sarah Hewitt—granddaughters of industrialist Peter Cooper—as part of The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. A branch of the Smithsonian since 1967, Cooper Hewitt is housed in the landmark Andrew Carnegie Mansion on Fifth Avenue in New York City.

The project mission is to bring together students from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications, Integrated Digital Media and Occupational Therapy programs to reimagine the accessibility of the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. Specifically, we would like to design experiences for museum goers/users of Cooper Hewitt’s digital content with disabilities

Cooper Hewitt Client Team

Pamela Horn
Director of Cross-Platform Publishing and Strategic Partnerships, Director’s Office

Micah Walter
Digital & Emerging Media

Kathleen M. Kane (Accessibility Task Force)
Head of Visitor Experience at Cooper Hewitt

Kim Robledo-Diga (Accessibility Task Force)
Deputy Director of Education and Interpretation

Contact Client Team here:

Project Goals

1) Accessible Museum Experience: In Person Access
When a user visits the museum they should have the option to experience the collection and accompanying interactive media regardless of ability. A variety of community members with disabilities will be consulted as we examine the experiences and interactions specific to the Cooper Hewitt collection and space.

The Cooper Hewitt has multiple media resources and an API for creating a variety of experiences. Our challenge is to bring this content to life for users with disabilities. This component will be realized in a series of designs and prototypes that address different ways of experiencing design.

2) Digital Accessibility: Website Access
There needs to be a way to provide basic information to users about the Cooper Hewitt as well as a web-based medium for exploring their collections. Currently their website is not designed with accessibility in mind. Our goal is to develop wireframes and prototypes that consider how people with disabilities can engage with this content in meaningful ways.

**Cooper Hewitt API**

  1. Both project goals will likely rely heavily on an understanding and ability to work with the Cooper Hewitt API


  • People with disabilities
  • People interested in a variety of ways to experience the Cooper Hewitt’s design collection
  • Staff at Cooper Hewitt
  • Artists

Project Deliverables

  1. Written Project Overview with extensive documentation of initial research, design and prototyping processes
  2. Product Sketches and Paper Prototypes (show multiple iterations)
  3. User Research and Usability Testing (document method used)
  4. Key findings, Data Analysis, and Results from User Testing
  5. Competitive or Comparative Analysis related to your proposed idea/ ideas
  6. User Personas/Sketches and User Flows 
  7. Final Project Documentation
  8. Project presentation deck (20 slides max)

Client Communication
The project manager for each team will email questions to Google Doc for any and all questions:

Proposed 14 Week Schedule
This is a run of show for how to tackle this project over the next 14 weeks. Make sure to document the entire process on your blog page.

Week 1- Intro to the Course (Design Brief) January 26th
Week 2- Contextual Inquiry (Trip to Cooper Hewitt) February 2nd
Week 3- Design Process February 9th
Week 4- Site Visit With UCP TBD February 16th
Week 5- Design for Disability and Assistive Technology February 23rd
Week 6- Interaction Design March 2nd (Claire Away)
Week 7- Guest Lecture Georgia Krantz (Access at Museums) March 9th


Week 8 – Prototyping and Testing (usability research) March 23rd (Dom Away)
Week 9- Midterms (secondary research presentation + critique)  March 30th
Week 10Design Studio I  April 6th
Week 11Usability Testing (with community members)  April 13th
Week 12 Design Studio II  April 20th (DOM AWAY)
Week 13Design Studio III April 27th
Week 14Final Presentations (w guests) May 4th