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Community input shapes direction of GoSite implementation plan

The public feedback gathered during the Pop Up phase helped create a more informed human-centered design
The GoSite Pop Up provided public feedback opportunities

The GoSite Pop Up provided public feedback opportunities /Courtesy GoSite at Grand Rapids Art Museum

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GoSite staff are Certified Tourism Ambassadors

GoSite staff are Certified Tourism Ambassadors

Visitors to the GoSite Pop Up provided valuable feedback

Visitors to the GoSite Pop Up provided valuable feedback

The GoSite, a collaborative project brought together by the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) to create a fun, innovative and welcoming place for visitors and locals alike to find and share information about Grand Rapids, opened Phase I this past summer in the front corner of the art museum, along the Monroe Center corridor on Rosa Parks Circle. The project is a coalition that includes the region’s destination marketing organization, downtown development groups, arts and cultural representatives and restaurant and hospitality industry leaders. Phase I consisted of a seven-week Pop Up space that offered pilot programs and shared plans and ideas to engage public response. The Pop Up averaged 120 visitors per day and collected an incredible amount of valuable information.

Following the Pop Up phase, the GoSite project team partnered with DesignVox, a local consulting firm, to analyze the findings collected during the process. This consisted of individual conversations, over 3,000 feedback notes, experience expectations, web and interview comments and personal observations from the staff and volunteers.

By gaining empathy and insight, it was clearly understood that having digital and other tools available to help navigate Grand Rapids and its many offerings was important, yet the optimal experience is by far best facilitated by a person. Knowledgeable and friendly GoSite staff are crucial for a positive visit, and the ability for people to connect with people underscores the true value of the downtown space. A sincere greeting and a short conversation go far in helping to personalize the information and curate a unique and memorable experience for every guest. Each GoSite staff member receives Certified Tourism Ambassador training through Experience Grand Rapids, and understands the importance of providing unbiased but helpful advice.

With this in mind, DesignVox assisted in reworking the space design to create a more open, social environment where human interaction is the dominant activity. From wayfinding patterns into and out of the space to location of the main help desk to seating and computer terminals, all aspects were taken into consideration based on the primary activity of sharing information person to person.

Beyond the priority to engage and connect with each guest personally, the many suggestions provided by Pop Up visitors helped inform content and programming to better reflect the community, and how guests to the GoSite would like to find and share information within.

The project team is completing the analysis report and updated design rendering and will make the findings available to the public, as plans for construction and implementation begin for Phase II and launch of the permanent GoSite space. 

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