The new site has been designed by Dutch consultancy Fabrique and build partner Q42 and, according to the Design Museum, gives the institution the opportunity to look at “how to represent a design collection online”.
The new platform replaces the previous Design Museum website, which had not been redesigned for eight years.
Josephine Chanter, head of communications for the Design Museum, says: “We’ve got a huge digital audience and we wanted to make people’s first contact with us a well-designed one.”
Chanter says the new website is “very audience focused” and that the design team took influence from Ben Terrett’s work on the Gov.uk project, which won the Design Musuem’s Designs of the Year Award last year.
Chanter says: “It’s all about making choices. For example we cut the navigation down to five subjects from about 20 on the previous site – that was very hard to do.”
The site has also been designed around Fabrique’s 80/20 principle, according to Chanter. This is the supposition that around 80 per cent of visitors come to the website for basic information – such as address or opening hours – while 20 per cent come for more general inspiration.
Chanter says: “We wanted to make the experience seamless for the people who want information, and also to help people learn from and be inspired by the collection.”
She adds: “There is an emphasis on images and film – we wanted it to be really visual.”
Fabrique, which has worked on museum website projects for clients including the Rijksmuseum, but never in the UK, was selected from a longlist of 27 digital consultancies.
This was cut down to a shortlist of eight groups, before four were chosen to present credentials pitches.
Chanter says the website redesign ties in with research the Design Museum is doing around how it expresses its collection online. The museum is currently working on a project with Brighton Archives and, Chanter says, “looking at what a design collection is in the 21st century”.
She says: “This new site gives us the flexibility to do new things in the future.”