top of page

An Interaction Design Framework
to conceptualise Mixed Reality experiences in museums.




Thank you for visiting this website. Please note that this website is not yet optimized for small screen sizes. For the best experience, I recommend visiting this website on a desktop or laptop.


In the meantime, if you are using your phone, you can view some of my new-media sketches or connect with me on Instagram @abhinav.m.n.



PHD IMAGE 01.png

Context, Aim & Stakeholders: 
A Practical Ideation Toolkit for Designers

As visitor-centric and performativity-oriented museums increasingly adopt  mixed reality (MR) to enrich visitor experiences through immersion and interactivity over the physical environment, experience designers and curators face unique challenges when effectively incorporating these technologies into the museum settings. My research aims to address this need by developing a framework supporting the design and conceptualisation of MR experiences within a museum setting. 

Using Mixed Reality in museums does not guarantee an increase in engagement. Scholars highlight that visitors may lose interest in non-contextual implementations of immersive media like MR, AR and VR as their novelty wears out. Often decision making in such situations is done within cross-functional teams that struggle to create common goals and identify the most critical and impactful design considerations. 

The study identifies its primary stakeholders as professionals involved in the design and conceptualisation stages of MR museum experiences. Such professionals include interactive experience designers, MR artists, and creative technologists responsible for designing interactions to enhance visitor engagement. Professionals like curators and exhibition designers responsible for storytelling, narrative development and spatial design may also benefit from the study. There is also a rise of multi-disciplinary experience designers as generalists capable of wearing many hats. The extended stakeholder community for this study would be professionals like developers, subject matter experts and project managers who engage with designers during the ideation process. Overall, the study aims to benefit professionals involved in conceptualising performative experiences situated in and integrated with the museum space.

This research aims to develop a design framework that supports the conceptualisation of MR experiences in museum spaces. The framework will assimilate insights from design practitioners and investigate contextual needs for MR integration.


The framework also aims to be applied as a tool to help designers ideate MR interactions that meaningfully are performative and embedded in the context of the museum space. 


The Process

The data collection strategy and analysis comprises multiple techniques to engage with stakeholders. The process is shaped like a funnel with each step informing the subsequent step. 

This involves archival research, semi-structured interviews with MR design experts, multi-case studies of MR projects in museum settings, and iterative workshops with stakeholders for framework validation and refinement. The archival analysis uncovers critical challenges and needs. Semi-structured interviews of 17 expert stakeholders provide detailed accounts to build theoretical categories inductively. Exemplar MR exhibitions are analysed through descriptive case studies based on interview themes, providing context and detail. Synthesising themes from archives, interviews, and case studies helps create an initial framework.

The framework is finally validated through conducting ideation workshops with 30 expert participants across the world. The workshop scenarios are created in collaboration with design professionals at The Natural History Museum in London. 

The Ideation Scenarios

The Hintze Hall at the Natural History Museum is identified as the potential site for the scenario. The atrium and the wonder bay of the Hintze Hall were selected as host spaces for the scenarios. The main reason for this is that both the atrium and the alcove allowed the scenarios to focus on the stories of a single specimen in their respective spaces, which allowed the workshop participants to immerse themselves in the narrative in the available timeframe. Moreover, the spaces also contrast each other in terms of scale and circulation. While the Hintze Hall is the largest volume in the museum with multiple levels and access points, the Wonder Bays are smaller spaces, walled on their three sides and have only one way to access them. Therefore, testing the framework based on scenarios involving both spaces individually helps ascertain that it can be applied effectively in both kinds of spaces. This implies that such a framework could potentially be applied to a wide range of other spaces. Along with the atrium that houses the blue whale skeleton, a wonder bay housing the turbinaria coral is chosen for the scenario as was suggested to the researcher.


The Output

The output of the PhD is the Design Framework with a deck of Ideation Cards. Its the first ever framework of its kind that not only contributes to theory, but also to practice.


These cards encapsulate expert knowledge and learnings from the best Mixed Reality experiences and package it in a manner that can be consumed in a real life ideation setting.

Expected Release 

As of May 2024, I have been successfully awarded the PhD! 


I have two publications on the way, expected to be published by October 2024. Post-that I will make the framework Open-Source and share it widely. My PhD document is under embargo for the rest of the year and would go live by December 2024.

In the meanwhile if you would like to know more, I can present it in a presentation. 

* * *

Email me to know more:

bottom of page