We relaunch vam.ac.uk today and we know – and hope – that there’ll be lots of questions about the new website. In the meantime, we wanted to give you an overview of what we’ve done and why.
Why have we overhauled the website?
It was time to rethink the V&A’s digital presence. Our website was five years old.
We want our website to bring the V&A to life online. We want to open up the Museum’s collections, exhibitions, events, people, activities, ideas and experiences. We want our digital experiences to live up to the V&A’s physical presence as a vibrant, active, continually changing place. So it was time for change.
What do we hope to achieve with the new website?
We want to inspire more people to visit. Our aspiration is to offer a seamless transition from browsing your iPad on the sofa at home, or searching on your desktop at work to turning up to visit the Museum. So the goal for this phase of our digital transformation is to turn more of the 14.5 million visits to our website each year into visits to the Museum.
We also want to define the V&A brand online. We want to do justice to the collections, the galleries and the people that make the V&A so unique. We now use much larger, richer imagery, so there is a better balance between text and image. There is a bolder use of the brand and logo. And these all make for a more cohesive experience across digital and print.
It’s not a refresh, it’s a rebuild. We’ve created a new editorial tool (a content management system) and a new website from scratch. The new site has been built by the V&A’s Digital Media team with product innovation consultancy Made by Many using open source software (Ruby on Rails). That means we now have the freedom to choose what features we build, and when.
But we’re not rebuilding the entire website. We’re starting on a focussed number of pages, and we’ll build out quickly. So the old website and the new will co-exist for a while.
We’ve gone from this:
We’d love you to explore the new website – including the homepage and our current exhibitions Botticelli Reimagined, Undressed, Paul Strand and our Curtain Up display. Browse our collections pages, including jewellery, fashion and photography and find out what’s in our new Europe 1600-1815 galleries. We also have new pages to help you plan a visit or contact us, as well as learn about us, our learning programmes and events, and our research.
To get the inside story on the making of our new website, read more here.
We hope this post answers some of the first questions you might have, but we know there’ll be more! Please share them below.