An art museum web design must walk a fine line between creating and showcasing art. The design must be attractive without upstaging the art showcased on it. This means it needs to present the artists’ work without drawing attention to the site design, either good or bad.
First and foremost, you need to show the art. It has to encourage website visitors to come in and visit the museum in person. Organize everything and make it simple for your visitors to understand how to navigate the site.
Consider your audience and their needs when you’re designing it. The use of solid design principles, including white space, color schemes, and making sure your website is responsive for all devices, will do wonders for your SEO and usability.
Let’s dive in a little deeper.
An art museum web design should present the art in a way that emphasizes the art, not the website
When you read an art review, there are usually several things highlighted, the title, the artist, and the size of the piece. Your website should do the same.
Is the work’s title prominently featured in the text? Is the artist’s name there? If the piece on display is for sale, does it indicate what size the artwork is?
Is there enough contrast in the image for viewers to accurately appreciate the artist’s use of color?
Keeping these and other questions in mind can help you to create the ideal art website.
Make it easy to navigate
It is essential to create an easy-to-navigate website.
When looking for local art museums and galleries, most users go to the museum’s website first. Once there, they look for art that suits their tastes. Once they find that, they look for what gallery the piece is in.
Your art museum website must make it easy to find the exhibitions or galleries. You can do this by creating easy-to-find links, either in the menu or on the homepage, or both. Make your website easy to navigate if you want to grow your museum through website visitors. Having a poor user experience is a big mistake for art museums.
Encourage visitors to visit the museum
Designing a website for an art museum is about more than displaying the art. Yes, it needs to show the art, but it must do so much more.
It’s about encouraging people to the art in person. Visitors to the museum need to find the museum’s visiting information on the website. Make it easy. This page needs to include your address, hours, and any entrance fees. If it’s free, be sure to emphasize that.
Visitors need to see what’s on display, the gallery it’s displayed in, and the museum’s layout. That is quite a task in itself.
Put as much of the art as possible on the site. A proper museum website design system should allow the visitor to learn as much about the art on the website as possible. The more informed your website visitors are, the more likely they will visit the museum in person.
Having an online map of your museum will also help people see everything and not feel that they’ve missed anything.
Don’t distract from the art
You can use color schemes to highlight the art pieces. Color is a very effective way of focusing attention on what’s important. For lighter colored works, a darker background might make it more appealing. If you use a light background, a dark border around it may make it stand out more.
Avoid busy backgrounds. It’s best to avoid busy backgrounds or bright colors for art sites as a rule, as they can draw attention away from the art. And it’s likely that your colors could clash, making everything less attractive. I prefer to use black and white for precisely this reason.
Consider your audience and their needs
Use information like contact info, hours of operation, a map of your museum, and a list of your upcoming shows or exhibitions.
Many online art galleries rely heavily on social media. People are more likely to visit an art museum after a friend shares the post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. Make it easy for people to share your pages on social media.
Consider your audience and what they need to understand and appreciate your website. Use simple language and make sure visitors understand the general layout of your website. But don’t dumb things down too far for the sake of navigation.
Many museums avoid plain, simple language on their site. Be simple. It’s OK. Simple language is more accessible for the general public. This makes it easier to entice them to visit.
Avoid anything that distracts from the art and the museum. Use basic layout guidelines like centering text and making the text as big as possible to encourage visitors to click and read.
Art museum web design needs to follow solid design principles, including white space, color schemes
Many museums choose a minimalist design with a heavy emphasis on white space. White space is an essential aspect of a solid web design. Reduce or remove busy textures and extraneous shapes to create a composition that emphasizes the art.
Balance the design by having only one element that stands out. Use a plain, simple background behind it. A solid color often works well. If you must use a patterned background, use simple patterns to create a design that shows off your artwork.
Make your art museum website responsive for browsing on all smartphones and tablets
With ever more mobile devices out there, people spend more time browsing the web on these devices than ever before. To be successful, you must consider the environment your website is going to be viewed in. A well-designed, responsive website will look great on phones, tablets, and on the desktop.
The website should appear clean and with easily readable typography. It would be best to use fonts well known for ease of reading on a digital screen. These are typically san-serif fonts such as Arial and Roboto. Like Times New Roman and Playfair Display, Serif fonts are more challenging to read on a digital screen. If you must use them, use them as headers rather than body text.