When we first visited WCMA we observed a unique use of space within the museum that, to us, spatially demonstrated the museum’s unique approaches to curation, teaching and publics. Where one gallery was set up as a classroom lab, others resembled salon-style reading rooms, artist project spaces or even collection store-rooms. In our design for the website we wanted to convey a tangible sense of crossing the thresholds of these spaces and give users the ability to orient themselves to virtual spaces, artworks, events and even other visitors.
To give users a sense of their progress through the WCMA website, we’ve created a dynamic module which tracks page traversal as users navigate the site. This ‘paths’ concepts appears as a visual footer on each page, showing users where they’ve been and where others have travelled from the current page. While the data is anonymous, tracked clicks on each page begins to create new suggestions for exploration. The experience echoes physical space – users are given a ‘line of sight" to other visitors and can choose to follow their paths.
The website’s interface is large, device friendly and easy to use, drawing inspiration from card-style interfaces like Netflix, YouTube and Hypercard. The interface can respond with message 'beacons’ and streaming video to effectively go live for special events and artist projects.
Perhaps most radically, our design eschews almost all categorization – simply identifying content as “ongoing” or “archived”. As such, the site gives WCMA a platform that leaves creative space for future exhibitions and programs which may not fit the mold established by a content management system set up to with distinct silos.