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Algorithms + artists: new ways into the RA Collection online


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Finalist in the Exhibition and Collection Extension: Traditional Website Category at the 2018 MW GLAMi Awards

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Algorithms + artists: new ways into the RA Collection online

  1. 1. Algorithms + artists: new ways into the RA Collection online Kate Huckle Senior Product Manager Royal Academy of Arts @Kate_Huckle
  2. 2. We’re artist-run
  3. 3. A place to make, exhibit and debate art We’re artist-run
  4. 4. A place to make, exhibit and debate art We’re artist-run And this year’s our 250th birthday
  5. 5. We’re known for our blockbuster loan exhibitions
  6. 6. In May, we’re opening up new, free spaces for art and architecture with our Collection on display for the first time
  7. 7. But in 2018 we can’t just do this within the walls of our buildings We needed to spread across our digital platforms and make it work for our audiences, not expect them to come to us
  8. 8. How to make it accessible?
  9. 9. We started by defining our audiences Our committed exhibition audience - our 100,000 members, and repeat exhibition visitors A new, younger, audience: curious, but unconfident Expert audiences, the researchers and academics looking to use our collection as a key resource on British art. Non-experts Experts
  10. 10. We consulted these groups at each stage of concept, design and development
  11. 11. Time and again we heard from our non-expert audience that they didn’t want to do things online that “felt like school”, where they were being asked to learn We needed to find a way to capture their interest while not asking too much of them They’re using our site to plan a visit but not for inspiration or entertainment
  12. 12. We looked at their current online behaviours – outside of the museum world
  13. 13. No dead ends Light experience Ease of use
  14. 14. This gave us some basic principles
  15. 15. An integrated experience Allow serendipitous discovery Never end a journey for the user This gave us some basic principles
  16. 16. We worked with digital agency, Fabrique
  17. 17. And we created three distinct approaches
  18. 18. And generally we use big, beautiful images... and simple text
  19. 19. Did it work?
  20. 20. The Collection is now sprinkled across our digital real estate
  21. 21. We doubled our audience in the first three months of launching
  22. 22. “Quite amazing research material. This is becoming a great research tool and for general interest.” – Graham C. Moore “Fascinating, thought provoking, creating unseen links and where has the time gone?” – Jac Fletcher And had lovely feedback from our users
  23. 23. What does this mean for the future?
  24. 24. This is just the beginning... And we’re learning from how people are using the site too – to smooth out each user journey and prompt more beginnings Knowing our Collection better has already had a huge impact on our digital editors, Learning and Marketing departments Having an API in place gives us many future opportunities from in-gallery interactives to internal systems
  25. 25. Thank you