Museum CX

Museum CX – Part I

Mark Walhimer Design Thinking for Museums, Museum Customer Experience, Museum User Experience Leave a Comment


Museum Customer Experience (CX), Museum CX, Museum User Experience (UX), Museum UX

The Museum Customer Experience (CX) (#museumcx) is the overall impact of the “touchpoints” between the museum and the customer (visitor or stakeholder). The Museum User Experience (UX) (#museumux) is part of the overall CX. In simple terms, CX is the overall impression the museum makes on the visitor and UX is the usability of the interactions between museum and visitor and or stakeholder.

The fields of CX and UX are partially subjective and partially objective.  The “impact” on a visitor can be how a dirty bathroom effects the visitor’s CX or how an overly complex website impacts UX. The word “dirty” is subjective and the words “overly complex” are subjective. A “dirty” bathroom is a testable parameter of CX and four pages of a website to reach the museum’s address is testable, the subjective “dirty” and “overly complex” are testable and can become objective. For the purposes of the post I am using “impact” and “impression” interchangeably as “how” they affect the emotions of the visitors for CX and the usability by the visitor for UX.

Museum Customer Experience (CX)
Museum User Experience (UX)
Visitors / Stakeholder

Examples of Museum User Experience (CX)

  • Customer service of museum floor staff
  • Museum Navigation using museum signage

Examples of Museum User Experience (UX)

  • Museum website Interface
  • Admission Ticket Sales Kiosk Interface
  • Interactive Exhibit Interface

Museum don’t refer to visitors as “Customers” or “consumers”.  Visitors to museums “” the content of the museum, but the relationship is different than between a “for-profit” business and a consumer and a museum and a “consumer”. Museums are part of civil society and as members of civil society we all “own” museums. The Board of Directors is entrusted with the care and protection of the museum, but the “ownership” is by citizens of a country or city. This premise is Public Trust Doctrine the “museum” is held in trust by the public.

In this series of posts, will refer to the Museum Consumer Experience as “CX” and the Museum User Experience as “UX”. To clarify, I don’t believe that museums and their relationship with visitors has changed or that museums should treat visitors as customers, but that the standard terms are CX and UX and for consistency will use these terms. In the future when I use social media on the topics of CX and UX will use #cux and #mux to distinguish between typical social media of #ux and #cx.

Since CX includes UX, will try to first refer to the effects of interactions on CX, then refer to the “usability” of UX.

In conclusion, The Museum Consumer Experience (CX) is the overall impact of all the “touchpoints” between the museum and the customer. The Museum User Experience (UX) is how usable is the interaction between museum and visitor. In the next post will discuss how to understand and improve the Improving Museum Consumer Experience (CX) and how to understand and Improve the Museum User Experiences (UX).

Museum CX Resources:

Bloomberg “Starbucks Design Tricks”

Harvard Business Review “The Truth About Customer Experience”

Bloomberg “Starbucks Secret Ingredient” 

Forbes “The Apple Experience”

Museum UX Resources:

Exploratorium UX Week

Museums and the Web “Assessing the User Experience”

UX Matters

Digital Gov

User Experience Basics GOV


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