Responses by Maya Kopytman, partner, C&G Partners.
Background: kressfoundation.org is the official website of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, an organization devoted to advancing the study, conservation and enjoyment of the vast heritage of European art, architecture and archaeology from antiquity to the early 19th century. The website’s audience includes art history educators, researchers, conservators, students and enthusiasts of European art.
In addition to showcasing the prestigious grant programs offered by the foundation, the newly reimagined website offers expert and casual visitors alike to get up close to more than 3,000 works of art from 83 museums and galleries across the country. The site reinforces the foundation’s core mission to share the artistic legacy of Europe with the American people.
Design core: The core offering of the site is the ability to explore the Kress collection’s thousands of works in one place with an unprecedented level of detail, from scholarly metadata to levels of close up zoom unavailable to viewers—even in physical galleries. A multitude of ways to search—by gallery, list or map—enables scholars and enthusiasts to draw new connections and form a deeper understanding of European art.
Favorite details: Since we were also responsible for the Kress brand identity design a decade ago, we built upon that in forming a balance between the richness of historical content and a modernistic and highly functional platform. The new site showcases the foundation as a forward-thinking organization, supporting high-tech digital initiatives in the area of art history research.
Challenges: Enveloping each artwork with vastly complex and detailed information without compromising the ease of close-up experience, and without overwhelming the users with pages and tables of scholarly data. Additional challenges emerged in simplifying this complex UX for mobile users.
We also used this site as the backbone for another website for an academic grantee of the foundation to be launched in 2021. Working on two websites with shared but also slightly different functionality proved to be challenging.
Special navigational features: Multiple views in the collection enable users to explore information through different lenses. The collection is categorized in ways that are consistent with world-renowned digital art collections worldwide; users can filter the collection by artist, repository, chronology, geography and media, among other keywords.
For the high-res zoomable images, we used an open-source, web-based viewer using the International Image Interoperability Framework, in addition to a robust Collection resource that includes dynamic filtering and integration with MapBox.