Art & Culture Platform
I spent a large portion of 2012–13 working between London and Paris on Google’s Cultural Institute initiative
Headquartered in Paris, Google’s Cultural Institute's aim is to make important cultural material available and accessible to everyone and to digitally preserve it to educate and inspire future generations.
At its heart, the Cultural Institute is a large-scale platform purposefully designed for ingesting, organising, and interacting with millions of digital assets of cultural relevance. I was responsible for designing not just the B2C front-end experience, but also the B2B ingesting, organizational and archiving back-end systems.
Mapping the system journey
As the project’s Lead UX, alongside the Lead Visual Designer, we often took to the whitewalls to map out the architecture for the overall experience of the platform and its various projects. Here, my main responsibilities were creating journeys, wireframes and interfaces to map user's mental models of navigating a real-world gallery, exhibition or art institution with digital models of interaction.
Working in this way meant we were able to constantly and quickly revisit the system’s underpinning IA, design and navigational models which, through various integrations, partnerships and releases, changed vastly over the 12+ months.
Wireframes and interaction models
Concepts that were green-lit by Google’s Product Owner were recorded to a higher fidelity wireframe format and shared with Designers and Engineers at Google to develop:
The Google Cultural Institute collaboration lasted for well over a year, spanned more approximately 12 projects and numerous product releases, including:
1 - Cultural Institute initial launch
2 - Partner and curator toolkit
3 - Upgraded artifact viewer
4 - Partner white-labeled version
5 - Integration with Google Art Project
6 - Navigation and masthead updates
7 - Histogram timeline faceting
8 - Street View integration
9 - Guided audio exhibition tour
10 - Theme-level pivoting
11 - Collections for educators
12 - Art Project comparison tool
7 million cultural artifacts from over 1,400 institutes!
By 2014, Google’s platform held a total of 1,400 cultural institutions from over 70 countries, 7 million archival artifacts, 200,000 high-resolution digital images of original artworks, over 1,800 Street View museum captures, and more than 3,000 online exhibitions curated by experts.
A selection of press cuttings can be found below: