Design core: The redesign of the website is based on the colors and the work of Van Gogh. Each page uses one of the colors in Van Gogh’s color palette, inspired by his artistic quest from dark to light. On its previous site, the Van Gogh Museum already made an enormous amount of content available but in rather rigid formats. Dept came up with new content formats that allow not only for richer stories with interactive images and videos, but also for shorter stories, which enables the museum to quickly respond to current events.
Favorite details: Museum websites seldom offer information on how big the works of art actually are, and if they do, the presentation isn’t very intuitive. Furthermore, on an overview page of a collection, all pictures often appear to have the same dimensions, so visitors are often surprised by the size of an art piece when visiting a museum. Therefore, for the new website of the Van Gogh Museum, we developed a new feature that playfully indicates the size of a painting: Vincent for Scale. By placing the painting next to a figure of Van Gogh—who was 1.64 meters tall (about 5'4")—visitors can see the true size of the work at a glance. This new element uses data from the museum’s database, and the website simply recalculates these dimensions as a percentage of the figure. You never have to wonder how big his famous self-portrait, The Bedroom at Arles or Van Gogh’s portrait by Gauguin actually are!
Technology: One of the website’s handy new features is that it shows which artworks are currently on display in the museum. For each piece, more substantive information is now available for art connoisseurs or simply interested enthusiasts. Thanks to the ultra-res storytelling tool Micrio—developed by Q42—visitors can zoom into the smallest details of the paintings. Micrio cuts large pictures into small pieces, so you don’t have to wait until the whole picture is loaded. If you move sideways, the required parts are quickly loaded, partly by predictive logic. In short, it’s smart technology at the service of the experience of the end user. This way, even Van Gogh’s brushstrokes can be experienced digitally!
Accessibility: During development, dedicated testers were part of our team and were used to conduct multiple usage tests. Based on this feedback, the team was able to make adjustments in time and correct any ambiguities. In developing the website, extra attention was also paid to ensure users with disabilities could also access the new site. For example, the website and its navigation were optimized for screen readers used by partially sighted and blind people.