The Van Gogh Museum relaunched its website with a design refresh, a new interactive content format, better accessibility and smart features intended to inspire a global audience. Dept digital agency led the concept and creative direction of the project and partnered with tech agency Q42 for development.
Martijn Pronk, Head of Digital Communication at the Van Gogh Museum: “The teams of Q42, Dept and Van Gogh Museum have done a fantastic job. They have built a contemporary site that is at the core of a digital Vincent van Gogh world. With this, we will continue to build on the success of recent years.”
The new feature ‘Vincent for Scale’, was developed to playfully demonstrate how large each painting is. By placing the art next to a figure of Van Gogh, who was 1.64 meters tall, the visitor can see at a glance the actual size of the work. In developing the website, extra attention was paid to the accessibility for users with a disability. The website is optimised for screen readers used by blind and partially sighted people for navigation. Furthermore, the collection is more searchable, offers more substantive information for interested parties, and allows visitors to zoom in to the smallest details of the paintings thanks to the ultra-res storytelling tool Micrio.
“Two years ago, Studio Dumbar (part of Dept) developed a new identity for the Van Gogh Museum with a focus on the combination of colour within the work of Van Gogh. The redesign of the website is an extension of this idea. Each page can have one of the colours in the colour palette, inspired by Vincent’s quest for colour, from dark to light,” said Liza Enebis, Creative Director, Studio Dumbar (part of Dept)
The Van Gogh Museum had an enormous amount of content available, but it wasn’t easy to convert into different formats. Dept introduced a new structure that allows for richer stories, with interactive images and videos, as well as shorter stories enabling the museum to quickly respond to current events.
The Van Gogh Museum has taken a locked-down not locked out approach to Covid-19 by accelerating their digital offerings to digitally showcase the work and life of Van Gogh to an expansive audience. The crisis has unleashed new opportunities for the museum enabling it to take a longer view and reinvent traditional ways of communicating with rich, layered content.
The Van Gogh Museum website receives more than 8.5 million visits annually from people around the world. Prior to the re-launch, its primary purpose was to present information for prospective visitors and as a result of lockdown, the museum seized the opportunity to engage new audiences groups designed to equally inspire Van Gogh enthusiasts, students, explores, educators, budding artists among others.