Leading centre for the study of art history, conservation and curation, The Courtauld Institute of Art is home to the prestigious college, shop and the Courtauld Gallery, housing an internationally acclaimed art collection. The Courtauld is an independent college of the University of London based in Somerset House and attracts students, staff and visitors from across the globe. With an established reputation in the UK and internationally, a strong digital presence was essential to emulate this multi-faceted success.

1932

FOUNDING year of The Courtauld Institute of Art

15

DEPARTMENTS involved in stakeholder workshops

3

MILLION images to digitise

Courtauld Institute of Art UX web design by After Digital

Brief

With the website at the heart of the Courtauld’s business plan, we were selected to scope, design and develop a modern new web presence built around a sound digital strategy, which first and foremost considers the needs of their diverse user groups.

The Courtauld wished to advance knowledge and understanding of art and heritage through access to world-leading expertise and collections, exhibitions and debate online. In order to do so, they required:

  • Creation of a responsive, easy to navigate, elegant website, which supports multimedia and user engagements 
  • The ability to clearly communicate The Courtauld's multi-faceted business functions, presenting it as a major London attraction, whilst retaining it's character as a University art gallery
  • Digitisation of their vast collection of images and assets via a Portfolio integration
  • Increasing reach and extending audiences worldwide
  • Taking advantage of new technologies which support their mission.
Courtauld

“It's always exciting getting to work with organisations with such diversity and heritage. The in-depth research and digital strategy behind this project allowed our team to really delve into the challenges presented and the opportunities available to The Courtauld and ensured the new website is as vibrant and dynamic as both the Institute and the Gallery.”

David Johnstone, Commercial Director,
After Digital

Discovery 

We spent 10 insightful weeks on site with the Courtauld team, leading in-depth stakeholder workshops with over 15 departments. Liaising with teams from the website action group (WAG), marketing team and the board through to the education department, student representatives, gallery, public programmes and shop teams, we had the opportunity to really get to the crux of the business' aspirations and 'what is' status.

Naturally, within such a complex organisation each section of the business had its own unique (and significant) objectives and challenges. The university looked to attract the highest calibre of students, whilst the gallery aimed to increase brand awareness and compete with other leading UK galleries. Meanwhile, the goals of the public programme were to attract new demographics and increase diversity. As such, the major challenge was to offer an effective platform that enabled all stakeholders to fulfil their objectives, whilst focusing on offering the user the most streamlined and succinct user journey and experience. 

As always, these on site sessions were pivotal to achieving successful information architecture (IA), allowing our strategists and UX experts to work in collaboration with The Courtauld's team, ensuring every element of the project was scoped out in line with each group’s individual, yet diverse vision.

Courtauld Institute of Art wireframes

UX & Web Design

Our UX specialists collaborated with The Courtauld team to build out user journeys and wireframes that focused on prioritising content and calls-to-action for users and the limited screen real estate of mobiles. The design team then translated key user journeys into beautifully crafted online experiences. Initial design concepts considered a monochrome style based on client discussions and industry research, however the chosen concepts make use of a refined colour palette with a focus on flat, material design - intuitive use of subtle movement and motion in design to indicate clear purpose and give texture.

Courtauld Institute of Art UX and web design by After Digital

Custom Development & Integrations

Building on The Courtauld’s digital community, we developed a custom ‘social media wall’ where visitors can view and actively engage with others and see content from across The Courtauld’s channels.

Leveraging our long history in the arts and culture sector, and our experience with complex third-party integrations, this project will be more than just a pretty interface. The new website integrates seamlessly with The Courtauld’s existing online ticketing system TOR, providing a far more robust solution for online ticketing. What’s more, the website also integrates with the Courtauld’s digital asset management system Portfolio, where over 3 million images being digitised. Customised in order to meet their needs, these integrations offer The Courtauld far advanced administrative control and an ability to extend the online experience for their users.

A successful multi-functional platform

We continue to work with The Courtauld Institute of Art delivering new functionality and leveraging new technologies across their website, which allow them to achieve their many business goals. The website has succeeded in increasing their reach and boosted traffic and engagement, whilst significantly improving administrative control of all online content. The innovative Portfolio integration resulted in Extensis partnering up with After Digital to offer enhanced functionality to their wider customer base.