The Indianapolis Museum of Art Online Collection was designed to be the best user experience for discovering art online. By incorporating a clean, mobile first user interface approach, visitors can easily discover new information about the collection and dive deeper for more detail. The result of this work is a more streamlined user experience with an object.
One of the primary goals of the collection pages is to encourage exploration and discoverability of objects throughout the collection. The search interface provides a robust index of all data known to the IMA about the objects and provides faceting to allow for filtering of results. Search results can be stepped through one at a time, utilizing the paging controls on the object pages, eliminating back and forth navigation.
The object pages provide an opportunity to showcase the imagery as well as the research done at the IMA. For objects that have a lot of content, there is now a greater emphasis on those items unique to the IMA. This includes photography, gallery labels, provenance information, related text, multimedia content, rights and reproductions information, and collection data. High-resolution imagery greets the user to start each page with zooming functionality that makes brush strokes and small details visible. In addition to the primary image for each object, additional imagery is provided encompassing different angles, frames, details and all are displayed in hi-resolution with zooming functionality. This provides the online collection with the best and most complete set of imagery the IMA collection has ever had. To aid in further discovery each object page contains a “You May Also Like” section providing the user with additional works from the collection to discover.
To continue in the open-access tradition at the IMA, all works that have been classified as public domain are offered to download for free. The high-resolution imagery can be downloaded and includes all of the images of an object, not just the primary image. As copyright clearance is determined for the rest of the collection additional downloads will come online automatically.
Making all of this possible required the re-architecting of the data layer that drives the collection. The new system developed by the IMA (codenamed Dagwood) pulls data from the collection management system kEmu and from the Digital Asset Management System Piction. Additional collection metadata that was stored across multiple systems was consolidated into this new centralized datastore. Having all of the collection data in a centralized system allows for enhanced reusability and has eliminated a number of systems required to manage the collection data.
This was the first step in enabling the IMA to offer unique experiences with the collection online. Everything was designed and developed with flexibility and growth as core concepts. All future collection related projects will be built on the foundation provided by the new online collection.