The Challenge

With more than 400 artworks by more than 80 individuals, collectives and groups, QAGOMA wanted to make each visitor’s experience special. They wanted to create individualised experiences that allowed visitors to not only explore the collection, but discover interconnected relationships between the artworks, artists, and themselves, ultimately personalising the exhibition to each visitor.

With such a large library of art, we needed to find a way to give visibility to the full spectrum of work without visually overloading patrons at the beginning of their visit. Moreso, the solution needed to feed the curiosity for discovery that lives in us all, educating and informing in the process, while still being fun and engaging for all ages.

Our Solution

Putting our design and digital minds together, we presented a creative solution to the QAGOMA team that drew on the insight that people may not have a refined knowledge of art, but they know what they love. By putting the user front and centre, we would let them explore the interconnected relationships between the art and artists via both a personalised quiz and swarm data visualisation that expanded out full details about each piece and artist. Based on their interests, users would find commonalities in the artworks and artists, and ultimately bring these pieces closer to them, creating a more fulfilling and enlightening experience.

Ultimately, all users would go through a journey that stepped through an initial ‘beginning point’ – the APT9 kiosk, before giving them a choice of two options for being presented art, either via a personalised quiz or through a data driven swarm. After being presented the art, they would become educated on various themes of each piece including style, colour, and media. Furthermore, via discovering and filtering art via the data swarm, they would finally see the relationships between the art, artists and themselves come to life.

With the intention to deliver the data driven experience via touch screen kiosks, we leveraged our past experiences working with large amounts of data and displaying them in a meaningful and emotive way. This included our interactive work on A State of War for the Queensland State Library and Brisbane Vision 2031 for the Brisbane City Council.

The Quiz

The first of two potential user journeys, the quiz was designed to hone down a curated feed of artwork based on ‘you’ (each individual visitor). These questions asked which galleries they wanted to view, who they were with, and what kind of experience they were looking for, e.g. ‘i want to be excited’, ‘i want to be challenged’, and ‘i want to be entertained’. Completing the quiz, an email was sent to the user with a bespoke itinerary of artworks tailored to them, with details of where they were located throughout the gallery.

Discovery

The second journey gave visitors the ability to explore and discover the full library at a macro level via an animated, interactive swarm. We designed and built the swarm, displaying tiles of each artwork as a triangle per the APT9 brand. By interacting and ‘loving’ pieces on display via the touch screens, artworks literally drew closer to the user. These tiles were animated to rotate in a series of bands that encompassed a central focus point, ‘you’ (the user).

Users could interact with each tile to open and view more information about the artwork and artist. They also had the ability to filter via a range of tagged categories such as subject, media, genre, elements, region and a dedicated ‘first nations’ category for aboriginal artists . Choosing to filter by a category saw related artworks being shifted closer to the center of the swarm, emphasising the relationship between both the different artworks and the visitor’s interests. Users were also able to favourite pieces or randomise their choices if they preferred.

We leveraged our experience with D3.js, a javascript library used for data visualisation, fine tuning this to ensure that animations were smooth and that the tiles were distributed without obstruction while rotating and transitioning from outer bands into inner bands. The result was a bespoke data visualisation created specifically for APT9.

All successful projects thrive on a trusting, collaborative relationship between client and agency. The stellar collaborative relationship between JSAcreative and the QAGOMA design and development team ensured that APT9’s creative and development was seamless, with solutions and processes bringing the concept to life. The content was delivered via an API from a centralised CMS, allowing QAGOMA the flexibility to add/edit/remove artists and works from the exhibition as it evolved during the 6 month exhibition.

Outcomes

In the immediate weeks following the launch of the exhibit (24 November to 31 December 2018), over 10,000 people used the kiosks to help engage with and plan their visit.

The internal response from the QAGOMA team has been highly positive both from a design and development standpoint. Additionally, ongoing monitoring has shown steady growth in popularity for the interactive kiosks throughout January 2019.