Sitting With Art
An interactive experience with Seattle's public art.

An interactive outdoor bench that displays prompts on public art in Seattle. It archives responses to document diverse voices that make up the city and spark conversation around the past and future histories of Seattle.


January – March 2020

My Role
UX Researcher

My Team
Joyce Lin, Dustin Mara, Ashley Wang

By taking the experience of viewing art to Seattle outdoors, "Sitting with Art" not only reveals the hidden histories of art pieces but invites the public to share their thoughts. Overtime the centralized website with archived responses documents the diverse voices of the people who make up the city.

Sparking dialogue in Seattle communities centered around public art.


Curved bench encourages users to focus on the art in front of them by angling line of sight and supports conversation.

In our co-design session, we learned how participants' moods were affected by the shape of the bench. The structure of the bench itself can signify to those walking by that there's something to be discussed about the artwork its curved toward.


Flashing lights from the buttons signal users to choose either a surprise, prompt, or fact to respond to.

We found in our surveys how Seattle locals connected their knowledge of the city's history with tourism. The idea behind three choices is letting the user pick which one sparks interest most to them since a research insight is how engagement is built on interest.


Corresponding blurb about the art piece appears on display along with space for user's response.


Online database centralizes information on public art to educate users about Seattle's (art) history and archives responses from the community to increase curiosity and engagement.


A paper souvenir is printed with a copy of their response and more information about Seattle art.

By bringing the interactive bench to public art, the limitations and exclusivity of museums are minimized. The website serves to document the more diverse cross-section of Seattle in relation to these art pieces. The tangible printout serves as a reminder of this interaction as the user leaves the bench. Further promoting self-reflection.

1/6 Contextual Inquiry

First we narrowed down the focus of history in Seattle to the city's public art scene. We used design research methods to deepen our insights to inform our specific design inquiry. We applied a triangulation method between having a questionnaire, conducting directed storytelling, and having 1:1 interviews with a range of participants.

2/6 Ideation

With our insights that informed our design principles (engaging, communal, and representative) we started to use sketching to ideate our concepts. From practical to speculative ideas, we parsed through 64 ideas to 10 key concepts to further explore.

3/6 Down Selection

By combining and rethinking our 10 concepts, we created 3 final concepts with more details and explanations. Our goal was to bring forward ideas that varied in form and interaction.

4/6 Participatory Design Workshop

We reached out to an art professor and college student for a co-design session with 4 activites to spark conversation. The goal here was to gain more insights around our 3 concepts and problem space. Our “How Might We” statement shifted to more focus on space and engagement.

5/6 Storyboard

We downselected our ideas into one concept and created storyboard for context.

6/6 Final Prototype

After revising our concept, we entered the makers space on campus to begin laser cutting our cardboard to prototype a sample bench. A mobile app was prototyped as part of our final concept.