GLAMi nomination: High Museum of Art Website

nominated by: Mike Mouw, Mouw Tech Consulting, USA
institution: High Museum of Art, Atlanta
category: Marketing and Promotion

In July 2017 the High Museum of Art launched a new website. This project was proposed and guided by the new Multimedia Technology Department of the High, whose staff includes a creative and technical director, front-end developer, back-end developer, videographer, and database manager. This team, with help from savvy vendors, retired a non-responsive old Sitecore site and built a new WordPress and TNEW site, integrating the collections database (TMS) and customer relationship management system (Tessitura), while adding many new features. The project was coordinated with an initiative to create quality digital photographs of the works of art. The old site featured 770 works of art, while the new site holds information for nearly 11,000 out of the total 16,000 objects in the collection, including images of 6500 artworks now available online. The High and its unique collection went from being nearly invisible on the old site, to suddenly visible to the world on our new site—this includes the Museum’s collection of important civil rights-era photographs and the collection of renowned regional folk and self-taught art.

As part of the redesign, staff also considered content strategy. Our goal at the High is to extend and deepen our relationships with the community through art. We are interested in creating a dialogue not only between the museum and its visitors, but also between the visitors themselves. Ideally, by leveraging the power of art to bring people together, we will help diverse members of the community connect with each other. We thought the simplest way to distill our priorities was to state them plainly. The design team at Second Story first proposed the idea that the High focus its message on Art and You—staff and vendors worked together to build a new website that conveys this message clearly to users.

New Features Include:

  1. Collections Search: The majority of our collection—nearly 11,000 objects—are now available on our website, including quality images of 6500 artworks. Works are searchable by keyword, collection area, category, date range, region, and color. All works are zoomable, sharable, and savable:
  2. Custom Maps: Users can locate any work by clicking the “Find It” button on the object detail page. Clicking this button will take you to a map with the appropriate gallery number highlighted.Example, clicking “Find It” on this page:  Will result in a map on this page:
  3. Maps (Part 2): You can also go directly to the Maps page and see what’s on view within a particular gallery by clicking on the building, floor, and gallery number.
  4. Personalized Account: Users can create a personal account and save artworks, events or teacher resources. Users can also create maps of their favorite artworks, and if they provide a little information about themselves, the website will serve up events they may be interested in attending: Video with user directions on how to create a MyHigh account:
  5. Video: Increasing the quality and depth of our videos online is an important aspect of the work of the new Multimedia Technology staff. Videos featured on the website are sometimes uploaded directly to social media or linked within our blog. Video segments created by staff at the High are featured with works of art on our site, like the “Dragon Bench” by designer Joris Laarman: Joris Laarman object page with video link at the bottom:
  6. How Artsy are You Quiz: Users can take a quiz, and based on the results, the site will tell them a little bit about their “art personality” and suggest artworks they may want to see the next time they visit the museum:
  7. Responsive Design: The site is completely responsive, with custom styles for desktop and mobile. Over 60% of our users are currently on phones and tablets.
  8. Accessibility: Currently working toward full WCAG 2.0 compliance.

Team Credits: Second Story: Design including Style Guide and UX Plan; Twelve Foot Guru: Development including WordPress, PHP, JavaScript, TMS and Tessitura integration; Tessitura Network: TNEW Customization for Ticketing, Membership and Donations; Prime Access Consulting: Accessibility Review; Kate Haley Goldman; Front-end and Formative User Testing Plan; High Museum of Art Multimedia Technology Department in collaboration with staff across the museum: RFP Plan, Design, Development and Implementation for WordPress/TNEW website; Woodruff Arts Center IT staff: Tessitura and TMS Support, Web Hosting