Irish Museum of
Modern Art

Processes
Design Research
Information Architecture
Wireframe Sketching
UI Design

Role
Design Lead

UX Direction
Karen Reilly

URL
http://www.imma.ie/

Year
2017

IMMA connects audiences and art, providing an extraordinary space in Ireland where contemporary life and contemporary art connect, challenge and inspire one another.

Challenge

The museum had a badly outdated website which needed modernising. There was a call for submissions to re-imagine the online offering to patrons to communicate the breadth of what’s on offer at IMMA.

The site needed to include information on current exhibitions including a checkout system for purchasing tickets, full integration with their ecommerce gift shop, information on upcoming events, venue hire, and integration with their digital collection.

Approach

After reviewing the brief a number of times the requirements were listed and prioritised. These requirements served as the basis for the research and were revisited throughout the design process to ensure all needs were being both met and challenged. The following approach was taken for the design:

 

  1. Review of existing site
  2. Digital context
  3. Physical context
  4. Card sorting & sketching
  5. Visual design

Existing Website

It was clear that big improvements would be necessary to improve the experience for site vistors. The site was confusing to navigate with some links taking users outside of the website to search external databases.

There was an overwhelming amount of content packed into each page making it difficult to digest content. The website was not responsive making it unsuitable for viewing on mobile devices. 

outdated website design

Placing the Museum in Context

Patterns were identified from researching other art institutions. There was a greater emphasis on imagery. This was evident on the Centre Pompidou and Museum of Contemporay Art Los Angeles websites.

Clean typographic treatment and simplified navigation focusing on current exhibitions was another trend. This was probably best demonstrated by SFMoMA.

There was also a focus on planning museum visits with information on locations, tickets and transport which could be seen on the Tate Modern and Arnolfini websites.

sfmoma-1080
pompidou-1080

Visiting the Museum

The museum is situated within the grounds of the Royal Hospital at Kilmainham with it’s impressive courtyard, beautiful landscaped gardens, and converted stables which host the artists in residence studios.

Inside the exhibition space artworks are exhibited in the long naturally lit corridors of the main building with smaller spaces dotted along the length of these corridors. This is quite unique in comparison to most modern art galleries and creates a very initimate experience for the viewers. In order to link the physical space with the website an ‘Experience IMMA’ section was proposed.

Card Sorting, Personas and Sketching

The museum gets visitors of all ages with varying levels of abilities. Both seasoned museum goers and once-off visitors new to Dublin city needed to be accomodated in the design.

Along with these users, students looking for resources or those interested in upcoming events such as the IMMA Talks series also needed to be considered.

Content was organised by placing headings on post-its and grouping, re-grouping and prioritising. Sketching wireframes then allowed for quick iterations on design ideas.

imma-card-sort
imma-sketch

Design Outcomes: Navigation

Navigation was simplified prioritising What’s On and Getting Here. A large site search was placed underneath the featured exhibition section allowing for self guided navigation and planning future visits to the museum.

Related resources, events and gift shop items could be tagged against exhibitions and these would display on content pages. The ecommerce cart was incorporated into the menu allowing for quick checkout.

5_Exhibition_Menu

Design Outcomes: Typography & Colour Palettes

It was important to maintain a clean interface that wouldn’t detract from artworks or information heavy content. A minimal colour palette was used and whitespace also played it’s role in framing the content.

Typographic treatments favoured a grotesque sans-serif opting for Acumin Pro over NB Grotesk which was being used for wayfinding and other promotional materials. This ensured maximum legibility for large paragraphs of body copy.

1_Home
4_Exhibition_Shop-Hover
5_Exhibition_Menu
IMMA homepage in macbook

Selected Works

Aer Lingus Responsive WebCase Study · 2020

Aer Lingus LoyaltyCase Study · 2020

Iterate Branding & IdentityCase Study · 2018

Runway Design SystemCase Study · 2019

123.ieCase Study · 2016

Motor Insurance Quote JourneyCase Study · 2016