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Agile Artistry with the National Galleries

Making art accessible online

We’re currently working in partnership with National Galleries of Scotland to reimagine how they share their artworks with the world. A key part of this has been rebuilding their digital presence from the ground up so that it interconnects with and complements their traditional exhibits.

Galleries realised that they would also have to transform the way they operate, so that digital is woven into everything they do. This required real collaborative working. We achieved this by bringing them in-house to work side-by-side with us in in a unified agile environment.

A Phased, Collaborative Approach

Our first priority was building a brand new website for Galleries where people could access and enjoy all 97,000 of their wonderful artworks.

We organised a dedicated delivery team around this challenge, including Scrum Master, UX, planning, researchers, designers and testers. Daily team standups, planning sessions, progress reviews and more than a few post-it notes kept us focused on improving the experience of end users. We also included robust user testing to add polish, feed the backlog and inform future phases.

Image of gallery website in iphone
THE NEW COLLECTION SITE SERVES AS A FANTASTIC WINDOW TO EXPLORE OUR WORLD-CLASS COLLECTION, OPENING IT UP AS A RESOURCE FOR EVERYBODY TO USE, FROM LEISURELY ENJOYMENT OF THE ARTS ALL THE WAY THROUGH TO ACADEMIC RESEARCH.
SIR JOHN LEIGHTON, Director General, The National Galleries of Scotland

At a glance

  • 97,000+ records now online
  • 30,000+ images to explore with artworks updated automatically daily
  • 6 months from kickoff to go-live

Technical Complexity Made Simple

Galleries already had a painstaking in-house project to digitise the artworks underway but there was simply nowhere up to the job of housing and processing them. We provided this using open source technologies that speak to multiple internal databases, and pull through the images and complex catalogue data into one place. The system combines this information together into one 'middleware' tier, where the high quality images are processed and stored.

image of national galleries website on ipad

A whole new experience in 6 months

Our agile approach paid off, with Phase 1 completed just six months after kick-off. This lets users login, save their favourite artwork or purchase high-quality images. The site also features a detailed search, CRM and e-commerce integration, and automatically updates each time a new artwork is digitised. The number of available artworks is growing every day, and with Phase 2 now already well underway, we're getting ready to add even more features. This will include shop, information to help people plan their visits, and much more.

image of national galleries website on ipad

Users can now:

  1. Enjoy the whole collection online - whether just browsing or looking for something more specific
  2. View the artworks in the format the artist intended (no cropping)
  3. Create an account and save their favourite artworks to enjoy again later
  4. Share their favourite artworks
  5. Download a free personal image
  6. Purchase their preferred size of canvas or framed print
image of national galleries website on ipad

Expertise & tools...

  • Strategy
  • Brand research
  • Content
  • UX Design
  • Quality Assurance
  • Web development
  • SEO
  • Usability testing
  • Design

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