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Interaction Design
Spatial UI/UX Design
User Research
Concept Development
Mobile App Design
Visual Identity Design Design System
AR Prototype
Design Principles
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Christina Yang
Evelyn Huang
Freya Young
Malia Hong

Carnegie Museum of Natural History (CMNH)

6 weeks
( Oct. - Dec. 2023)
What is Dimono?

Dimono is an innovative XR project that revolutionized the paleontology exhibition in a Natural History Museum setting designed to captivate GenZ visitors. Dimono transforms traditional Dinosaurs in their time exhibition at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History into interactive and participatory space with augmented spatial storytelling. 

Through Dimono, we aspire to revolutionize the natural history museum experiences for Gen Z visitors, shaping them into better-informed citizens who can draw meaningful lessons from the past to influence their perspectives and actions toward our shared future positively.

Design Challenge
Facing the challenge of transitioning from rigid establishments to experiential and flexible spaces, Carnegie Natural History Museum(CMNH) is now seeking solutions to improve the user experience for visiting patrons, attract GenZ visitors, and retain members.

Design Objectives

How can we engage and educate Generation Z visitors, who have short attention spans and high digital literacy, in a way that better connects them to exhibition narratives?

Our Solution

To transform the CMNH visiting experiences, we designed and developed immersive and multi-sensory experiences to engage  GenZ visitors and facilitate their learning journey. We transformed CMNH into a participatory cultural institution by implementing XR technology for augmented spatial storytelling. Through the design strategies of point of view shift, we incorporated XR technology with Natural Language Processing and Gamified Interactive Projection to enhance visitor participation. Through the active learning design strategy, We incorporated AR Technology and MR Experiences through collection mechanisms to strengthen GenZ visitors’ learning process and results. 

Design Outcome
Concept Video 3mins
We aim to transform the natural history museum journey for GenZ visitors, empowering them with the knowledge that bridges the past and present, inspiring stewardship for our collective future.

Creating engaging embodied experiences for GenZ visitors through a hybrid visiting path

We designed an embodied experience to facilitate spatial narratives. Our design solution has two parts - a “participatory museum experience” to transform distant historical facts into engaging and relatable narratives for Gen Z, and “a path collector” as a tangible reminder of their journey to encourage reflection and revisit to reinforce the delivery of the museum’s mission to their audiences.  

Innovative Museum Ticket for multi-sensory interactions

Interactive Momento that expands experience beyond a single visit

01. Embodiment
The journey begins with visitors interacting with the projection at the entrance to initiate a personalized second-person perspective visiting experience. Visitors select a dinosaur that resonates with their personality, establishing a unique connection between ancient history and their contemporary experiences.

02. Onboarding
After interacting with the projection, the visitor will be guided to pick up an MR device and a customizable path collector.

03. Wayfinding
Upon entering, visitors are guided to key fossils closely related to their chosen dinosaurs. Visitors trace their dinosaur embodiment’s footprints as they explore the exhibition.

04. Augmented Narrative Transition
Upon entering a new period, visitors will be stopped temporarily by a virtual boundary and introduced to how the current period ended and the dinosaurs they are evolving into.

05. XR Interaction with Paintings
Approaching and lingering at a painting for over 2.5 seconds activates an informative display. Information appears in the head-up display.

06. Explore and Collect Fossils through XR Interactions
Visitors can engrave a unique feature of a dinosaur onto their path collector as they explore the spatial UI and interact with the fossil collections, creating personalized AR artifact that preserves their unique journey.

07. Chat with Iconic Dinosaurs
Visitors can chat with iconic dinosaurs, enhancing their education experience through AI-powered dialogues. The conversation enriches the visitor experience with inspiring and meaningful narratives about the evolution stories of dinosaurs.

08. Reflect and Share
The Dimono mobile app allows easy recall of the experience through AR, fostering continued engagement and sharing beyond the single museum visit. Visitors scan their collectors to receive digital copies of collected dinosaur fossils, turning memories into lasting mementos.

  Why CMNH?
Carnegie Museum of Natural History
Carnegie Museum of Natural History(CMNH), one of four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, is among the top natural history museums in the country.  As a cultural institution, it serves an important role in engaging and inspiring more people on issues affecting our nation and the world. However, It’s now facing the challenge of transitioning from rigid establishments to experiential and flexible spaces. To attract visitors and retain members, CMNH is seeking solutions to improve the user experience for visiting patrons

Dinosaurs in Their Times Exhibition

We chose to focus on the most popular exhibition of CMNH. The current experience has remained relatively static for the past decade. While dinosaurs are inherently fascinating to many visitors, the current exhibition often falls short of communicating the stories of dinosaurs’ evolution, fossil discovery, and knowledge of paleontology. The challenge now is to bridge this gap by designing an immersive, multi-sensory experience to improve CMNH’s patron experience.

Current Fossil Collections 

We studied all the current fossil collections on display of Dinosaurs in Their Times Exhibition at CMNH. We also studied the current narrative for its curation. We categorized all species by time periods, selected target species/collections, and designed a new narrative for this innovative experience.

Current Experience

Through research, we discovered that the current visiting route is chronological, the earliest earliest dinosaurs are displayed first at the entrance of the exhibition hall. The rest of the dinosaur evolution follows.  The current interactive media are obsoleted and only display scattered information. The visitors often neglect narratives of evolution due to the outdated and overwhelming information. 

User Research
Target Audience

We focus on designing for GenZ visitors, whom the museum is currently losing. Characterized by high digital literacy and shorter attention spans, these self-paced visitors crave more engaging experiences.  We aim to turn GenZ’s fleeting interest in paleontology into a deep, sustained engagement of learning and educating them on the museum’s mission and exhibition content in a personalized and engaging way. 


 Interview Insights 
We interviewed 3 high school students, 5 GenZ visitors, and 2 museum staff to understand the motivations, behaviors, and experiences of Carnegie Museum of Natural History visitors who are generally curious about the history and evolution of dinosaurs and how studying dinosaurs benefits humanity. 


Interview Synthesis
Through Interviews, we’ve discovered that the intersection of curiosity, engagement, and learning significantly shapes their museum experiences. However, these rich stories within the exhibition are not fully reaching GenZ visitors. The static displays didn’t engage them, leading to missed opportunities for deeper engagement with paleontology and the museum’s mission. 


How can a new design Help CMNH?
By incorporating XR interactions and augmented reality, we aim to spark curiosity and enhance learning through immersive storytelling. Our goal is to convert passing interests into sustained engagement ultimately envisioning CMNH as an interactive, participatory museum.

We drew storyboards of the key user interactions and mapped out the entire user journey from entrance to exit.


Dimono Experience Design Principles
Based on our research, we decided that the principles of our design should focus on relevance, future technology, dialogue, and visitor participation.

Technology Strategy
How are we using the technologies? 
The technology 

This system incorporates various technologies such as digital projection mapping, mixed reality(MR) interactions, and natural language processing.

1. Digital Projections Mapping

2. XR Interactions

3. Nature Language Processing(NLP)

 Visual Identity
Logo Design

“Di” stands for “Dinosaur”, and “mono” in Japanese means “-like things”. Through Dimono, we hope to transform and set a new standard for dinosaur fossil collection visiting and learning experiences. 

Visual Identity

Poster Design
We designed the poster for the interaction projection mapping


 UIUX Design
Spatial UI Design

Spatial UX

Mobile App Design

Technology System
Our technology strategy is Physical Touchpoint + MR technology. We chose to use the Quest 3 VR headset as the hardware to develop our prototype. The technology system of the Dimono experience consists of a physical path collector, Digital projection mapping, MR interaction and hardware, and natural language processing.



Prototype Development
We conducted a paper prototype for the initial spatial demo and then developed our digital prototype in Unity.

Prototype Testing

We conducted usability testing and user experience evaluation for the spatial experience of Dimono and planned for possible scenarios and user experience problems.





Social Impact and Future Possibilities
Dimono blends natural history and XR tech to transform the CMNH into an engaging space where the past meets present curiosity, creating memorable visits that inspire. Through our design, we aspire to revolutionize the natural history museum experiences for GenZ visitors, shaping them into informed individuals who can draw meaningful lessons from the past to positively influence their perspectives and actions toward our shared future.

Want to learn more?

View Pictoria (pdf)

More Project Details Upon Request
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