Launched in 2010 by the RMN-Grand Palais, the Monet mobile & tablet app has just gotten a facelift. When we wrote about it in 2010, it was already a huge success! Designed to be used before, during, and after the visit, it provided its users with an audioguide as well as additional content about the painter’s life and background for the artworks. Thought out as a digital artbook, its novelty resided in the wide scope of content made available and in the very high definition of the artworks.
At the time, the main focus was the Monet 2010 website, an impressive feat of interactive design. However, the app quickly made a name for itself: shortly after its launch, it made it to the top App ratings in the Apple Store and received very good press. After that initial success, the Grand Palais created similar apps for many of its other exhibitions, using that same navigation and high definition format. If you were around the museum at that time, you might have downloaded the Hopper app, the Redon app, the Cézanne or the Depardon app – each of those featuring a new feature or an improved narration technique. Five years after the Monet app launch, it was decided to rethink the application and upgrade Monet. So, what’s new?
As it turns out, the Grand Palais had a lot right the first time around. It’s rather a good thing to see that the new additions regard mostly contents, the general tone having stayed the same. The application was developed to include more information about the Giverny gardens as well as talks with curators and behind the scenes information – a trend coming from social media that has conquered cultural institutions in the last five years (think #EmptyMet or #Askacurator). The scope of the application got wider, but the institution’s discourse on the artist has remained coherent.
The big difference lies in the app’s design. These past five years, museums and GLAMs in general have been paying a lot of attention to user experience and navigation trajectories. Following this growing trend among cultural institutions, the general layout of the app has been revamped in order to offer a more efficient and pleasurable scrolling. By leaving more space for videos and visuals, increasing the display resolution and simplifying the navigation, this redesign offers a more immersive experience to the user and affects the content as a whole.
The path the Monet App has followed is quite symptomatic of the changes that GLAMs have undertook in the last years. Websites and applications have been modernized, the use of mobile devices has been rethought, and online user experience is finally being taken seriously. Following examples from the tech and start-up world, the institutions have been paying as much attention to the design and packaging as to the content inside it. The results are here: more interactions, larger online communities, and bolder digital projects.
Can’t wait to see what the next upgrade will be like!