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UX design & development of an exhibition software to collaboratively curate Women's History of HIV in America.


History Moves

A research collaborative by a public historian, Jennifer Brier from U of Illinois at Chicago and a graphic designer, Matt Wizinsky from U of Cincinnati.


UX Designer + Content Designer

• Designing the experience of the curation tool 

• Co-ordinating with developers 
• Presented the project at IASDR conference, UK

• Visualizing data into exhibition content


Figma, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, MS Office, Adobe Indesign, XCode, Whimsical, Miro. 

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History Moves is a research collaborative that brings together historians, designers, and community-based organizations to produce public history forged in participatory engagement.

It documents oral archives of women with HIV history in the form of a moving exhibition. 

History Moves collects & publishes oral histories of women living with HIV in America.

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Insights for design

Developing the curation task flow

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Building a task flow

Defining the requirements

The curation tool needs to be usable during mobile curation sessions and site visits. When the organizer/researcher visits the site to scope the capacity, they should be able to use the tool to input all the site info.

The tool should also be able to document all the collaborative decisions taken in the curation process.

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Introducing Cura

insight hiv neha mann design research process exhbition curation

An iOS tool to collaboratively and remotely curate exhibitions. It facilitates and documents the curation decisions in the form of an instructional manual.


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Developing V1

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Key Features

Key tasks

Cura facilitates the curation of exhibitions through 4 key tasks – selecting a venue, selecting content, building a narrative with that content and finally planning a programme. The venue guides the curation process as the women from the study are the experts of venue and site-specific curations of these exhibitions.


Starting a new curation

When landing at the homepage, the user has the choice to start a new curation, join an ongoing one or edit a past curation. This is the workflow to start a new curation and picking a location and dates of availability.


Project set up

Once a project is set up, it visually indicates the steps of the process and how far it has been developed. It also indicates who worked on a particular section. When selecting the venue, users can view the venue information and exhibition capacity in a quick expand mode. If any exhibitions have been curated at a venue previously, the option to import the curation is re-prompted contextually. 


Selecting content


Selection of content is done at 2 levels – thematic and visual. First, a user selects topics to be displayed. This includes thematic groups of content that have been uniquely tagged. This selection is followed by filter the selected content visually, with the possibility to further highlight a particular theme.

Curating the elevations


The selected content is moved forward in 3 categories – Quote, Image and Historical – for the purpose of curating the elevations. The user can switch between tabs and populate a carousel of elevations. The content combinations are also suggested by tagging the metadata with pairs. 

Planning the program

After curation of the elevations is complete the users can move on planning a schedule for day-wise activities, speakers, guests and other program details. There is also an option to import this information from recent curations.


View in actual size

The curation can be reviewed in an AR view, where each elevation can be viewed in actual size. This can be used anywhere to simply review the elevations in full-size and drop notes where edits can be made to the curation.


Concept: On-site AR preview


When the organizer or a participant visits the venue, the on-site AR preview can be accessed. This maps the venues space and displays a 360º view of the exhibition. The drop a note function is added to this view as well.

Measures of Success

• Successful curation of 2 different venues

• Successfully editing a saved curation

• Produce printable output - instruction manual

In retrospect...

New skills

Coordinating with developers

Developing user flows with multiple user paths

Basic editing on XCode

New concepts

Understanding the middle-ground between design and development

UI constraints of a tool/developer


Next Steps

Remote Exhibitions

Due to the restrictions on public gatherings, History Moves is now developing solutions to publish these curations digitally.

Usability testing with participants

I stepped down from my role after designing a protocol for a usability test with the ‘master users’. It will be organized when the tool can be pushed on test flight, and downloaded by the participants and tested.


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© 2020 Neha Mann · No part of this website should be published elsewhere without the consent of the author