Responses by Bonnie MacTavish, head of experience strategy; Ahmed Meer, head of design technology; and Christine Sultana, head of operations, Nightjar.
Background: The Murray Art Museum Albury (MAMA) in Albury, New South Wales, is a regional Australian modern art gallery with big ambitions. Its business objectives of increasing visitation and paid involvement with gallery programs needed to be realized with a new digital platform. To encourage visitation and compel people to make the trip to this fairly remote destination, the site needed to convey the breadth of experiences at MAMA and facilitate easy transactions for both the user and the gallery. The target audience is broad, from locals in the Albury region to art lovers across the state of New South Wales, as well as international visitors looking to create a fulfilling holiday itinerary.
Design core: The design is clean and functional, allowing artist and designer Mark Gowing’s bespoke typeface to take center stage. A strong, gridded approach forms the foundation of the design system, aligning the content and creating a pleasing Swiss design aesthetic.
With a core objective to increase conversions of ticket sales, studio classes and tours, we simplified searching and filtering, giving site visitors better visibility of upcoming sessions in which they could take part. Upcoming events are also able to be explored in a more colloquial manner.
Favorite details: For the homepage and on featured Exhibition pages, we took the hero image and overlaid the bespoke typography, then incorporated colored backgrounds to create a bold impression. This ensured the typography was leveraged to create a consistent experience from online to offline, as each exhibition at MAMA has its own distinct graphic identity leveraged on the gallery’s walls and throughout collateral materials. The background colors are automatically picked from the hero image but can be easily edited by the MAMA team in the CMS, giving them full creative control.
Challenges: We undertook a thorough RFQ to find the best ticketing platform to suit MAMA’s needs, including ticketing sales as well as membership pricing, powerful event handling and the purchase of products related to workshop classes.
The custom date picker was also a challenge for our engineers as we had to enable MAMA’s content the flexibility to choose from myriad different date options. There was no standard date convention for the breadth of events MAMA runs—i.e., every second Tuesday in March or Monday to Wednesday for the first week of the month.
Navigation structure: We underwent a long, interrogative UX period to simplify the site’s structure. We wanted it to be as easy as possible for visitors to find something that piqued their interest and moved them down the funnel in terms of consideration. Once they’ve decided a visit is in the cards for them, bold UI items on the site make the next steps clear for visitors to register for an event.
Special features: With a wealth of bright, bold content on the site, we created a cursor that autopicks the color from the background image on hover. This creates a fun interactive experience for the user and encourages exploration.
Technology: For the front end, we built the site using Next.js, taking advantage of both static and dynamic generation. For the back end, we used Sanity as the CMS. Pages are built using an array of reusable slices in Sanity to give the content authors the most flexibility. We used Vercel’s serverless functions to power the search and real-time events listing, as well as to handle Stripe donations. The animation library we chose was GreenSock’s GSAP, which we love as much for its functionality as we do its name!