National Galleries of Scotland

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National Galleries of Scotland asked us to help them bring their world-class collection to life online - for art lovers around the globe to enjoy.

We're not just talking about a fresh lick of paint. When we began, only 6% of the collection was viewable on the existing website, which wasn’t robust or flexible enough for further expansion. Galleries' digital presence needed to be rebuilt from the ground up.

Art as the artist intended

Our biggest challenge was how to do justice to such a renowned collection. Our strategy was to make the art itself as prominent as possible, and present it as the artists intended.

We wanted website visitors to be able to view each piece up close and with as much detail as they would in a physical gallery space. To achieve this, each artwork had be reproduced in as high-resolution imagery as possible.

Getting the user experience right was also crucial. We worked hard to ensure navigating the site is as intuitive and interesting as visiting a physical art gallery.

“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

50,000images to explore, with new artworks added daily.

Our approach paid off. Art lovers can now experience some of the world's finest artworks as up close and personal as they like. Over 92,000 artwork records are already in place and 50,000 high res images are available to all. And with new artworks automatically uploaded every day, Galleries’ entire catalogue will soon be accessible for all.

As a result, time spent viewing art on the site has increased, and user feedback surveys show that visitors find the new site much more engaging.

We also helped Galleries meet their commercial objectives. Sales increased by 35% year-on-year, mirroring the increase in shop pageviews by more than double.

Behind the scenes

A co-located team

We collaborated very closely with Galleries to achieve the best possible results. Two members of the client team worked with us in-house on a regular basis during the design and development of the site. This meant we had full access to their expertise and knowledge throughout the process.

Fulfilling a broad range of audience needs

To cater for different users, we provided different depths of experience for people to explore. This includes related content those who want to delve deeper, a full shop, CRM integration and support for visitors and donations.

Innovative technology

Creating a site that can host 92,000 high res artworks required some very specific high-tech solutions. For example, we created an image upload and storage system using a 'middleware' tier. This stores complex catalogue data along with each image. We also created an automated colour picker and a powerful zoom tool.