Gallery websites - are they user-friendly?

 Courtesy Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Courtesy Yorkshire Sculpture Park

“The first essential requirement for an exemplary user experience is to meet the needs of the customer, without fuss or bother.” 

Across the arts, digital expression now forms an integral part of mainstream art practice and web platforms have largely replaced promotional brochures and adverts. Interaction between publicly-funded galleries and what could be described as their ‘audiences’ extends way beyond physical visits. Whereas in the past, galleries just needed to have a nice looking website, today it’s all about being optimised for mobile and being active in social media too to draw visitors to the site's content.

Commissioned for the Interpretation Matters website (http://interpretationmatters.com/?p=603), freelance writer and researcher Susan Jones offers a commentary on what makes up a good user experience. By sampling selected gallery websites, she has highlighted good examples, and at the end suggests some simple ways in which sites can be improved. 

This text forms part of a larger research project that is examining digital futures and trends that will address their scope and impacts on the presentation of and access to contemporary visual arts.