As a Jakartan, it is never easy for me to recommend places to visit here, other than malls, parks, a mall with a park and….another mall. It’s ironic since Jakarta is the capital city of Indonesia, yet the options are limited (I have visited the national museum several times, but that’s it). I’m not sure if I should blame the economic boom for that, but it sparks a question in my mind: are those malls the only thing Jakarta can offer?

Luckily, in Somia, we are allowed to do an independent project to celebrate personal hobby and curiosity. Together with my colleagues, Dea and Citra, we did little desk research about what potentials Jakarta has and stumbled upon the fact that our capital darling has more than 20 museums! Gazed in awe, we started to reflect on our own experiences: how do we miss that? Why don’t we go to museums often? And what do people actually need from museums?

To find what is missing, first, we need to understand the current behavior of museum visitors. Then, we can find opportunity areas that can be optimized, thus increasing awareness and more visitors.

We started doing a 45 min phone interview each with four respondents that have different experiences and purposes regarding the museum. Two of them have visited at least one museum in the last 6 months, while others have visited more than three museums in the same period. We ask them to recount their previous trip, pain points, and expectation and how it impacted their experiences.

Therefore, we could see the big picture that helped us mapped the user’s experience and created deeper questions before doing field research. Also, we developed simple concepts based on those interviews as stimuli.

Rough concepts as stimuli

Next step is observation. To avoid biases, we searched for museums we never visited before. Considering time (we only have one day) and distance, we picked three museums to observe: Museum Wayang (shadow puppet), Museum Bahari (maritime), and Museum MACAN.

During our visit, we also did a 30-min intercept interview and concept test with five persons. A little tip: avoid using English in stimuli as it will make some respondents feel uneasy.

We intercepted some visitors and used stimuli to explain ideas clearly to respondents

After writing down our thoughts during field research, we synthesized the data to extract findings and created recommendations. Synthesis is a daunting process that only a strong-willed individual can survive. Imagine having a large number of post-its contained all thoughts, observations, and hypothesis from the field.

We clustered similar post-its and looked for patterns. As you can see below, we managed to put our thoughts into user flow and arranged it accordingly. Yellow post-its for observations, red for pain points and blue for new ideas.

Quick tips: always jot down findings on post-its after finishing each interview.

Despite that overwhelming exercise, it is actually fun to do if you are open-minded and highly curious (and of course, in a fresh state of mind). Imagine being a detective: crawling and linking qualitative data leading to a new discovery.


We found that the user’s journey could be broken down into four parts:

  1. How to Find
    How does visitor look for information about the museums? What is their first impression? What makes them want to go and not go?
  2. How to Reach
    How do they manage to reach museums? What kind of transport do they use? Why they do it?
  3. How to Enjoy
    How do they enjoy the experience and grasp information while they are in the museums? What is their main priority?
  4. How to Share
    How do they share their experiences with their friends and relatives after the visit? What would they say to others regarding their experience?

At the same time, we also discovered some patterns lead to four fictional characters (persona) that reflect the real person whom we spoke to. It is designed to represent the diverse needs and goals of the visitors but doesn’t mean to cover all the characteristic. Please note that some people may suit into more than one persona depend on the context.

It’s quite challenging to deduce insight in a short amount of time. For that reason, we don’t expect this to be perfect or all-in-one answer. Instead, it’s meant to be a new stepping stone to understand the behavior of museum visitors that could inspire us more.

  • People find information from social media (Instagram & Twitter) and word-of-mouth. It takes more effort to find a new museum to visit as the Internet has neither detail information nor descriptive images about the collections. Some try their luck to go to Museums without much information on their hands.

“I just went directly to the Museum, because when I searched on the Internet, it didn’t give a clear description of the museums. It didn’t tell me the difference from one museum to the other. “ — Alda, 24

Museum Wayang’s Wikipedia page explains nothing but the history of the building.

  • Interactive events/ collections can attract more people (new and existing visitors) as they can play and do activities with their friends/ relatives. However, only certain museums or galleries frequently held exhibitions.
  • Even though some museums frequently conduct events, people hardly get updates.

Museum MACAN frequently held new exhibitions that attract more people to go to Museums. On the other hand, Museum Wayang also organizes wayang performance, but the schedule is hardly found on the internet.

  • Moving to more than one destination in Jakarta could be tiring and time-consuming, that’s why people also consider the surroundings of the museum (nearby cafe, restaurant, public transport) to make the trip more efficient.
  • Connecting multiple museums or historical sites within walking distance is better as it will help people get more dynamic experience with minimal effort.

Kota Tua is a good example of creating a one-stop service where people can find cafes, museum, and attractions in one place.

  • People would spend a day if they plan to visit several museums. Thus, they need to plan their trip accordingly. However, due to the lack of details, they are unsure which transportation would be most effective in terms of money and time.

“I try to use busway at first, but if I get lost, I’ll order Taxi.” — Athaya, 23

  • It would be great if people know the full story of the objects presented. But from our observations, the objects are still not well exhibited. The flow and the collection are not aligned with each other. Some people need to take the tour more than one times to make sure that they don’t miss the collection.
  • Several museums lack info about the collections. Some only presented in Bahasa Indonesia.

Incomplete information confuses visitors.

  • People also refuse using a tour guide as they may feel confined to her/him. Some also find the tour guide is either too fast or too slow when speaking, so people do not understand or can not remember what they are saying. Even so, they think tour guide may be useful for a bigger group of traveler (>6 people) or foreign travelers.

“I usually ask the officer to confirm if I don’t miss anything.”
— Lisa, 29

“There was a tour guide, he seems so passionate. It’s good, but he explained it (the collection) too detail. We spent too much time on one collection. I get bored.”
— Nadia, 24

  • People want to bring home noteworthy souvenirs that they can show off to others. However, most of the museums only sell generic souvenirs that lack unique characteristic and emotional value.

Considering all the findings, we created a couple of recommendations to help visitors have a better experience. Out of all personas, we only focused on two potential target users.

As you may see, most of the ideas below are digital-based. Not because digital applications are better, but we try to simplify the scope and avoid falling into too complicated recommendations. Of course, there is no finish line in design, so please note that these concepts (are for fun and) still need further tests.


Goal: to help people get updates and find the museum they want

The idea is to give people a more holistic solution when it comes to finding the right museum. The Trendy Visitor may prefer a website since she may not see the museum as the first priority. On the other hand, as a frequent museum visitors, the Museum Geek would prefer an app to support his continual activity.

Goal: to help people enjoy the museum freely

Visitors rarely know what they will found in the museum. They may get lost and miss the opportunity to see the top museum collections. Easily accessed interactive maps and podcast make sure they get what they need.

Goal: to inform and attract new visitors without forcing them to install a new app

Phone memory shortage could become a barrier when introducing digital solutions. People refuse to install a new app if they rarely use it. It could also be challenging to ask people to use a website if they don’t even know it existed. So, our idea is to introduce the museum using their most frequently used transportation and travel apps, such as Gojek, Grab or Traveloka.

While the ideas above only cover the digital touchpoint, improving the experience using holistic service design should be taken into consideration. Not only when people in the museum, but also along the way from planning until they get out of the museum.

Even so, the biggest challenges may take place inside the museum, e.g bad signages, humid rooms, poor lighting, lack of activities and the creepy collections that look like Chucky. We might need another article for that.

On the good side, many public museums in Jakarta has an affordable entry ticket price, range from Rp3,000 to Rp10,000. The wide variety of museums in Jakarta is also a big advantage to attract varied visitors.

Solving museums problem could be a gigantic task. But let no one fall into despair. We’ve started small steps by knowing what people need and their perspectives towards the museum. We wish this independent project spark curiosities and more ideas, especially for designers, museum-goers or even casual travelers to find another way of improving the experience. Hope we inspire you. Yes, you too, Government.

Do you have any thoughts or memorable experience regarding museums? Please drop your comment below 🙂

Thank you.

This project is a collaborative independent project with Andrea Stefanny and Citra Pramana under Somia Customer Experience.