Serpentine Galleries: Serpentine Mobile Tours

 

Serpentine Galleries: Serpentine Mobile Tours

 

Working with AllofUs, we were invited to help the Serpentine Galleries, one of Europe’s most prestigious and influential contemporary art galleries, develop a series of digital platforms that would enable the gallery to engage new audiences and enhance the exhibition experience for their visitors. The first platform to be released as part of this initiate is the Serpentine Mobile Tours. This web-app (accessible via the Serpentine Galleries’ WiFi network) offers visitors an interactive gallery experience providing access to additional content, including artist interviews, editorials and curator tours, from the Serpentine’s Exhibition and Architecture Programmes. 

Each tour is carefully composed by the gallery’s curatorial team and consists of text, images, and video that is tailor-made to tie into artworks and themes on display. Recognising the general behavioural customs of mobile use, and the unique exhibitional context in which the app is being used within, the Serpentine Mobile Tours deliberately avoids offering lengthy descriptions or content that competes with or detracts from, the visitor’s encounter with the artwork. Instead, Serpentine Mobile Tours aim to enrich the visitor experience by providing concise insights into the artworks, the artists, and their working methods. In this way, the app functions as a well-informed companion, one that travels alongside each visitor as they make their way through the exhibition.

Process

In order to achieve this, we initially conducted a series of interviews with the gallery’s curatorial team in order to gain valuable insights into their aims and ambitions for an exhibition and how the digital platform would be able to integrate itself into their working practices of exhibition making.  Alongside this institutional research, we undertook a series of visitor observational exercises in order to understand the behaviour of visitors in relation to their mobile use within the gallery and, consequently, how the platform might best be assimilated into their exhibition experience. 

These insights led us to develop a highly flexible system based on the use of a series of template content ‘cards’ that would accommodate all possible existing and future content. This allows the curators to easily build tours from the collection of content ‘cards’, which they mix and match as they see fit. This was followed up by the development of a series of working prototypes made up of a set of test tours that we composed using sourced content related to the gallery’s most recent exhibition.  

The resulting platform operates through a highly stripped down and natural user experience whose UI is so minimal and intuitive that it renders any form of navigation unnecessary. Alongside the highly minimal and intuitive UI, we developed a bespoke backend solution that is powered by a tailor-made CMS for the gallery staff to manage themselves.

I was responsible for the direction of the interaction design and prototype content of this project.

Serpentine Galleries Campus Screen

Serpentine Galleries Campus Screen

Exhibition Tours

Exhibition Tours Menu Screen

Artist Bio Screen

Artwork Screen

Artwork Screen

Artwork Description Screen

Gallery Map Screen

Exhibition Catalogue Screen

Exhibition Catalogue Screen

Visitor Journey

Visitor Journey

Application Architecture

Application Architecture

Template Cards

Template Cards

Tour Example

Tour Example