Division of Biology and Medicine
Brown University Herbarium


Designing a visual user interface to digital Herbarium collections, driven by community and user needs.

Building on previous experimental interface work, the Herbarium User Experience project (HerbUX) was a two-year project that looked at user interfaces to online plant specimen collections, such as those typically housed in herbaria. Digitized herbarium collections remain somewhat inaccessible to large portions of the population — in large part due to the design of their user interfaces.

The project consisted of three distinct, but interrelated, component phases:

  1. A series of three 90-minutes consultation meetings with user-stakeholders (or potential user-stakeholders) of digital herbarium collections

  2. A period of analysis of the data collected from the meetings, which yielded a number of themes

  3. A design phase for a proposed interface design that incorporated many of the ideas and challenges identified in the data

In addition, we conducted a public survey that provided some data on the (non-specialist) public’s interest in plants.

The results of these phases and more information about the project can be found online

HerbUX was a collaboration between the Brown University Center for Digital Scholarship, the Brown University Herbarium, and the University of Minnesota’s Bell Museum, funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.


Patrick Rashleigh
PI, Brown University Center for Digital Scholarship

Rebecca Kartzinel
Co-PI, Herbarium Faculty Co-Director

Tim Whitfeld
Bell Museum Herbarium Collections Manager