If you’re familiar with the Dallas art landscape, you likely know theCrow Collection of Asian Art, a permanent, curated museum featuring art from China, Japan, India, Korea and Southeastern Asia, spanning time from the ancient, to the modern. If you’re not familiar, make sure you stop by for a few hours and take in the awe inspiring gallery. Oh, and did we mention admission is free?
Crow Collection approached Aria to design a new website that matched the experience grandeur of being at the museum in person. Their previous website hadn’t been overhauled in a number of years — or in internet years, a few decades — and was designed for smaller screens, slower connections, and really only worked on desktop computers. Featuring small photos, too much text, and no real pizazz, the site was difficult to manage, keep updated, and didn’t really say, “yes, you’ve landed at the world famous Crow Collection of Asian Art.”
We were familiar with the Crow Collection from our work with The Dallas Arts District. However, we hadn’t had the opportunity to take a shot at creating a digital expression of the ethos of the collection itself. So at the chance to do so, we jumped.
The problems with the old were numerous. But they didn’t strictly influence our approach with a redesign. We decided instead to simply ignore the previous site and give ourselves the chance to say, “if we were to design it with no outside influence, what would it be?”
The site we architected, designed, and developed is a multi-faceted user experience.
I’ll break down a few key components.
We decided to take a much more visual approach to navigation, relying on Crow Collection’s magnificent gallery of imagery to allow the user to navigate much more natively. Overlaying text and buttons on top of these images gives the user a clear set of instructions, and always a clear next action.
We developed the site using a responsive grid — meaning that the site works no matter how big or small your screen. This was a key requirement, knowing that many visitors utilize the site on-the-go for directions, hours of operation, admission price, special events calendar, etc.
We chose to design and implement a 100% custom solution to navigate, filter, sort, search, and display the gallery of imagery representing the collection itself. From the ground up, we wanted to give the user a clear sense of the big picture, as well as minute detail many of the pieces featured. The zoom function, for instance, will take any resolution image and use it as its maximum, allowing Crow Collection to display crazy-large images when needed, but only slightly larger than average when not.
We could wax poetic for hours on the myriad cool and sexy ideas that went into the site, but we highly encourage you to simply explore at your leisure: visit CrowCollection.org.
Overall, the site has been very well received, with a lot of kudos on the intricacies of many of the design and architectural decisions. Being a recent launch, we’re watching the interaction metrics closely to ensure we continue to track the ever-moving target, and hit dead center.