A Tinder app for art

Digital technologies allow us to create more targeted and personalized museum experiences, according to Marie Bryndum and Maria Muhandes, who studied Digital Design and Communication at ITU. In their thesis project, they designed a Tinder-like app that gives museum visitors easier access to information about the artworks.

Digital Design DepartmentEducationITU thesisdigital artdesign

What was your thesis about?

In art museums, you often only find information about title and artist next to the piece you are looking at. If you want to know more, you can consult an information board and read an elaborate text, which is typically written in rather dry museum language. We see this as a barrier for good museum experiences.

 

The starting point for our project was to explore how museums can provide visitors with easier access to information about the artworks. The inspiration came from the ITU research project GIFT, which is about creating more personal museum experiences with digital technologies like apps and Augmented Reality. 

How can digital technologies enhance the museum experience?

Digital technologies are quite brilliant tools for creating new ways of experiencing museums and art.

 

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Digital technologies are quite brilliant tools for creating new ways of experiencing museums and art.

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The digital medium can bring you closer to the artworks. Usually, you are not allowed to touch a piece of art, but technology makes it possible. With Virtual Reality, for example, you can actually travel around inside the art.

Technology can also extend the museum experience – it can allow you to create your own own personal collection of artworks, which you can read more about at home and share with friends in a completely different context. 

What was your approach?

We did the project in collaboration with the National Gallery of Denmark (SMK) and started out by investigating who the museum's target audience is and by interviewing guests about what they wanted to experience at the museum.

The museum had some ideas about their visitors that did not always reflect our findings. For instance that 50+-year-old visitors were not interested in using apps or iPads at the museum.


When we talked to the users, they expressed the opposite – they wanted a lot more interactive experiences, more information about the artworks, and would love to enhance the museum visit by using apps.
 

What was your product?

Based on our interviews, we worked on creating something that would target the museum experience to the users. As most people already carry phones in their pocket, we decided to use smartphone technology to ensure that users meet the information at the right time.

 

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The idea was to let the audience ‘date’ the artworks, so we designed a prototype for a Tinder-like app for art museums, where artworks nearby pop up on the screen.

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The idea was to let the audience ‘date’ the artworks, so we designed a prototype for a Tinder-like app for art museums, where artworks nearby pop up on the screen. The user can then either swipe to get more information or swipe the piece away if they are not interested in it.

The app presents information on different levels: first three ‘fun facts’ about the piece that provide a  down-to-earth introduction; then deeper layers for those who want to know more about the period, painting style, symbols and so on. 


Additionally, you can like and save works that you particularly like and revisit them at home. We also toyed with the idea of letting users organize their own tour based on personal preferences.
 

Don’t apps and other gadgets disturb the museum experience?

If you follow this logic, you can also say that audio guides disturb the experience, and they have been a part of many museums for years.

In principle, the ideal art experience does not exist – it’s what you make of it. Therefore, we designed the app as an option for those who would like to use it.

 

We received good feedback from the museum guests – most would like to have such an app. The museum also liked our results, but as we well knew in advance, SMK wants to maintain a more traditional museum experience. So there is actually a clash between what the museum stands for and what the users want.

Further information

Vibeke Arildsen, Press Officer, phone 2555 0447, email viar@itu.dk