Introducing mused

Digital Media
September 25, 2023

How would you survive a zombie apocalypse? Are you Grungecore or Gorpcore? Which Béyonce album are you? These might not be questions you’re asking yourselves right this minute. But they are questions that will pique the interest of young people. And that’s what we’re hoping to do with the launch of mused, a new V&A website for creatively curious kids.

mused is a content-rich, interactive website that invites kids to explore the V&A’s world of art, design, performance and creativity, supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Digital Accelerator for Arts and Culture. Brimming with quizzes, challenges and articles about art & design, fashion, music, film & TV and gaming, mused is an exciting step along the line to an audience-first approach to the digital content and products we make at the V&A.

With mused, we’re targeting a global Generation Alpha online audience aged 10 – 14 across the English-speaking world – that’s many, many millions of potential users. By understanding and analysing how young people engage with contemporary culture – from trends insights to SEO analysis and surveys – we identify the topics, people and things they’re most interested in. That’s why you’ll find subjects ranging from Harry Styles to Barbie, and from fashion ‘cores’ to Minecraft. We then find ways to make connections with the V&A’s collections and exhibition programme – for example, that the V&A’s collections include Harry Styles’ iconic cardigan that had TikTok going wild. Our goal? To create fun, constantly changing and socially relevant content that brings together contemporary culture with 5,000 years of human creativity across the V&A collection.

As the V&A transforms into a family of museums, for audiences of all ages and backgrounds, online and in person, we want mused to be a stimulating, safe and welcoming place for kids to spend time online, with content that’s designed to entertain and inspire their curiosity. Some highlights include:

Between the questions we’ve interspersed fascinating facts about the creative process, to encourage further exploration and curiosity around art, design and creativity. 

mused has been developed with, and for, young people with content informed by our Trendspotter panel – a group of diverse, plugged in and passionate young people who help identify the design and creativity trends that mused celebrates. We also run regular user testing sessions through our user labs to identify features and content that most appeal to our target audience of 10 – 14-year-olds.  

mused is free to use and has been designed to the highest accessibility and child safety standards. We’re committed to children’s online privacy, and mused has been carefully designed and built to be a safe environment, in accordance with the ICO children’s code, and GDPR and COPPA rules around safeguarding children online. 

This is just a brief overview, but over the coming weeks do keep an eye out for more blog posts that will deep dive into our product strategy – on why we decided to build a digital product for kids and how, our content strategy – on how we identified the themes, topics and formats that will most appeal to them, our design and UX approach – on how we developed the user experience and interactive elements with and for kids, plus how we’ve derived trends and data insights to shape the content we make.

mused is a collaborative effort that could not have happened without the expertise of a cast of amazing people including:

  • James Nation, Product Lead, who has steadily steered all things mused, Rebekah Ford, who led on design and UX from big picture design thinking to mischievous micro-interactions, Eva Liparova and Kim Plowright, who between them made sure mused hits our audiences’ needs and interests, and that it’s secure, safe and accessible, and Tom Shreeve, Erica McKoy and Megan Graye who have created a wonderful content smörgåsbord.
  • The team at Big Bite, our WordPress agency, who diligently and brilliantly built mused including Hannah Healy, Jonny Waters, Shaun Buckle and Phil Saunders. 
  • Sonia Joao at OxyInsight who supported on trends and insights, recruiting and running our panel of young Trendspotters and Louise Jolly supporting on fascinating semiotics research and insights.
  • The team at SEOMG! who are continuing to help us turn SEO insights into relevant content for kids.
  • Caspian Turner at Accessible by Design for ensuring mused is a brilliantly accessible site for kids.
  • Chris Unitt and the team from One Further for supporting on analytics set up so we know how mused is performing.
  • The team at Criteria and Callum Russell at Crystal Eyes for helping recruit a diverse and incredibly insightful group of young people for the many rounds of user research we conducted. 
  • Emma Scott and Martin Ashplant of Cultivation Partners who provided an exciting foundation for our thinking around digital engagement and products for Gen Alpha and Gen Z audiences.
  • Fabia Stocken, Ethan Joseph and all at Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Digital Accelerator for Arts and Culture for their generous support, Charlotte Penny, Alison Clegg and Gilih van den Berg at Arts Council England and Ankur Bahl, our ACE digital advisor, for advice and support along the way.
  • And to all my V&A colleagues, not least Tom Windross and the content team, Fiona Hodge, Richard Palmer, Will Parry, Andrew Tullis, Jack Craig, Marcus Clark, Laura McKechan, Emma Zeitlyn, Andrea Solomon, Eleni Tsirtos, Bruce Heck, Sophie Rouse, Evonne Mackenzie, Sophie Brendel and Helen Charman among many others.

Many, many thanks to you all!

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