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THE CHALLENGE

Organizing idea
Create a new website for the museum with a modern visual identity, automated CMS, and improved analytics strategy.

Supporting objectives
Our team is providing the Singapore Art Museum (SAM) with a new website, CMS, and content and analytics strategies. SAM is the only contemporary museum focused on Southeast Asian art and artists and hosts multiple cultural events each year. My role in this project is as a product owner and UX lead, in a team working with an agile process and atomic design principles.

  • Reach audiences

  • Stand out in Southeast Asia

  • Differentiate from other SG museums

  • Live up to "contemporary" as a concept

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THE PROCESS

Our team provided the Singapore Art Museum (SAM) with a new website, CMS, and content and analytics strategies. SAM is the only contemporary museum focused on Southeast Asian art and artists and hosts multiple cultural events each year. My role in this project is as a product owner and UX lead, in a team working with an agile process and atomic design principles.

At the start of the SAM project we outlined our organizing idea and key tenants that ground our work. We chose “Connect with Contemporary” because so much of what SAM does in programming and through its educational workshops is about making new ideas, cultures and artworks approachable. It was also important to us to find a way to communicate to SAM's audiences what contemporary art is, and why it is different than what they might see in other museums. 

We’ve found many museums focused not on the official distinctions between modern art and contemporary art, but rather on the fact that contemporary in many cases means representing works that address issues important to people in recent times. We also identify that the works shown by SAM often make use of new mediums and technology. We took several different approaches to understanding the context of SAM’s identity in the art world and within Singapore.


 

Research

Much of the public art in Singapore is very traditional or architectural in nature. Visitors to SAM are often invited to become much more involved in artworks; a stark difference from many experiences with art they may have had previously. We identified that SAM was well positioned to take on a more edgy approach to their visual identity, web presence and content across all channels: (web, print, and the in-person museum experience).

In our initial research…

1) We looked at what similar organizations and “competitors” were doing to engage and involve their audiences.

2) We look at analytics for the museum website and investigated what visitors viewed most. We looked closely at what paths commonly lead to ticket purchase to the museum. We also looked a where visitors to the site were coming from. All of this helped us know where we should put our efforts in terms of highlighting existing content and creating new content.

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3) Next we examined the sensory (visual and physical / architectural) experience of SAM so we could understand what we’d need to capture and condense into our content. We wanted to create a unified experience that felt coordinated and bold like SAM, at every point of content. We drew inspiration from some of the world’s leading contemporary museums.

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Design Sprints


We established the foundation of our work in Sprint 1. We leveraged our early prototype heavily- it was a great way to get into ideas and into code early on. It was also very helpful for SAM as a way to understand that going in a very different visual direction was positive and possible. The foundation of our work involved core deliverables:

  • Explored extensions of original visual identity concept

  • A revised information architecture

  • A content inventory

  • Templates to support content and a plan to migrate to a new Content Management System (CMS)

  • Requirements document for features and technical needs

  • Outlined clearer business objectives and how to reach them

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The Material Layer


In Sprint 2, we zeroed in on the material layer. We wanted to bring bold diagonal lines into the visual approach as these brought a sense of motion and flow to the content in each page. SAM encouraged us to work in some of the geometric patterns that appeared in the tile work of their historic building- a brilliant suggestion and our talented visual team integrated this into the visual design system. (I supported visual designers in the definition of what design systems should address: they created these beautiful elements).

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Delivery


Sprint 3 involved a final pass at visual designs and hand over of materials to the internal team at SAM. Our technical team helped to organize training for SAM's marketing staff to understand how to manage content and use content on social media to drive traffic and future ticket purchase flows on the museum website.


THE OUTCOME

The outcome was a new custom site for the Singapore Art Museum. Perhaps one of the most valuable aspects of the upgrade was hidden in the background of this work; an easy to use and update content management system that will help SAM keep visitors updated and involved in a more active and engaging manner.

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