Mayak Art House

Designing an art gallery website that will promote contemporary art, attract the audience and encourage them to actively participate in events taking place at the gallery.

scope of work: UX, UI & Visual design

tools: pen & paper, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator

year: 2013

Challenge

To promote art and attract people to the gallery

For a small local gallery for which close relations with both artists and clients are invaluable, the website is a tool not only supporting the promotion of contemporary art, but also allowing to reach the audience, arouse their curiosity, encourage them to visit the gallery and, eventually, become clients.

To make the first step easy, and the next steps quick

The idea was to create a platform that will allow new audience to connect with the gallery before visiting it – for some people this 

For the regular audience the platform was to make it quick and easy to 

Solution

Summary

For a brick-and-mortar art gallery not selling art online, a website was to be the major tool helping to connect with the potential audience and to encourage them to visit the gallery in person. 
To achieve this goal, a feature was introduced allowing to easily book invitations for art show openings (which are the most attractive events, also due to the limited number of invitations) and to reserve spots at workshops. 
Additionally, a monthly newsletter was introduced to keep the audience up to date even when they don’t visit the website (or the gallery itself) regularly.

As for the visual side of the project, the basic rule was to keep the design clean and minimalistic to put the focus on the art on one hand, and avoid the impression of the website being crowded and cluttered on the other.

DESIGN PROCESS

RESEARCH

In order to get the best idea of the needs, wants and expectations of the gallery audience, I did a big share of secondary research, which included studying articles as well as successful art gallery websites. I surveyed Mayak’s audience (both regular and occasional) to find out what might help them in developing closer relation with the gallery and what might encourage them to take the step towards becoming customers rather than just visitors. And since one of the main goals was attracting new audience to the gallery and I wanted to find out what might help in reaching tat goal, I also surveyed visitors at some other local galleries and art events.

The insights of the research became the starting point for the design.

USER GROUPS

Basing on the research results, I was able to define the main user groups and identify their needs and pain points to be addressed in the design phase.

CONNOISSEUR / ART COLLECTOR

Not only are they deeply interested in art and have an extensive knowledge of the subject, but they also have a great eye for art and can tell good artwork from back. They come to the gallery looking for art from established artists as well as from those who are only emerging. They attend gallery events if they think them interesting, but most often they come to the gallery to take a look at chosen artworks. 

Needs:
– information about new pieces in the gallery
– extensive information on artists
– information on gallery events
– easy booking of invitations to events

Pain points:
– they get frustrated when they miss things they are interested in
– they feel they are wasting time wen they come to the gallery just to find out there is nothing new
– they don’t like when they have to come to the gallery just to book event invitations

ART ENTHUSIAST

They are keenly interested in art and have a good knowledge of art related topics. They are regular participants of most show openings, they also regularly visit the gallery to see new artworks. They mostly buy artworks from their favorite artists, or those that are already established.

Needs:
– information on show openings
– information on new artwork
– information on artists
– easy booking of invitations to the gallery events

Pain points:
– they get annoyed when they have to regularly check for the gallery news in order to not miss anything
– insufficient information on artists

BEGINNER ART LOVER

They have the interest in art, but still are short on knowledge and want to learn more. They visit the gallery to appreciate the art, but also study it and get to know new artists, styles and techniques.
They visit the gallery to appreciate art and discuss in the first place, but sometimes they also buy artworks, both to decorate their home and to start a collection. They are frequent participants of show openings, workshops and other events.

Needs:
– information on artworks, artists, and on art in general
– information on the events at the gallery, especially lectures, meetings and show openings
– photos of artwork
– guidance

Pain points:
– they don’t like to miss gallery events or new additions to the collection because of the lack of information
– sometimes they feel intimidated and/or ignorant when going to an event and not having sufficient knowledge of the featured artists and their work
– they get frustrated when they go to the gallery to study artwork and the staff have no time to guide them

OCCASIONAL VISITOR / GIFT SEEKER

Art is not really within their interest. They see art as decorative objects and are not interested in the story behind  nor the artists bio. They visit the gallery to buy decorations for their home, or gifts.
With time, some of the occasional visitors might become beginner art lovers.

Needs:
– inspiration
– basic information on artworks
– clear photos of artworks
– contact information

Pain points:
– they get overwhelmed and annoyed with too much information on artworks
– they are afraid that when they visit an art gallery they will be pressed to buy

DESIGN PRINCIPLES

Knowing the users’ problems, the ways of addressing them could be defined.

Identify the mental models of users

Give users what they need, when they need it

Inspire users to discover art

Encourage users, don’t push them

Make user journeys easy and intuitive

Less is more: keep design clean, avoid clutter

INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE

To determine what pages and forms will be needed I designed user flows for all critical tasks. Each task was broken down into user journeys through the steps and screens a user will encounter while completing the task.
In accordance with the design principles, the flows are thought out as short and as intuitive as possible.

DESIGN

GENERAL TEMPLATES

HOMEPAGE

It's all about documents

The main purpose of Mido application is to allow its users manage and share their documents in an easy and secure way.  Therefore the ‘Documents’ section is crucial, as this is where all documents can be easily found, filtered and managed.

ARTISTS

Making it efficient and easy

Adding a document in the app is quite a complex task and requires taking various actions. To help users understand what they need to do, the whole process was split into a few easy steps, each of which is clear and straightforward.
Additionally, to add a document only the basic information needs to be filled in, and the rest is optional at this point.

Another handy feature is the possibility to rename attachment files and to add descriptions for them. 

SHOWS

Making it efficient and easy

To make using the application easy to use and navigate, all its core functionality and important information is available from the dashboard. From there documents can be viewed, added and requested, and hubs and contacts can be accessed. Also, basic actions can be performed on the newest documents without the need of going to documents’ pages.

When logging into the application for the first time, empty states messages are shown to the user, which are accompanied by buttons allowing to add a document or invite a contact to a hub.

SEARCH

NEWSLETTER

Results & Takeaways

Secure, easy, usable

The new version of the platform is cleaner and more functional than the old one. It is also more intuitive which will help users navigate through the platform and complete tasks with ease.

The minimalistic design serves the functionality of the platform, it allows users to focus on completing their tasks without being distracted by illustrations or overwhelming graphics.

Getting to know the users

The key takeaway from this project was realizing the importance of defining the main user groups and understanding their needs and wants in order to design a successful website.
I had already learned that trying to 

Next steps

More accessibility

Due to technical reasons only some of accessibility issues were addressed in this design, and the others, like language options and screen reader compatibility  should be considered as soon as possible.

© Jagna Birecka, 2022

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