The Rijksmuseum’s award-winning website (www.rijksmuseum.nl )has been totally revamped in 2020. Strategic design agency Fabrique, strategic technical agency Q42 and the digital team of the Rijksmuseum have brought the collection to life online. In addition to a new style and visual language, which is characterized by extremely large images and simplicity, we also launched a new platform: Stories (www.rijksmuseum.nl/en/stories ). This is the hub for all the stories taking place in the museum and behind the scenes. We created this innovative storytelling platform linked to very large imagery and a specific customer journey for each target group. In this way we invite the visitor to scroll endlessly through the website. In other words: the new Rijksmuseum site is the Netflix for art. You can enjoy a wonderful evening of ‘art binge’ at rijksmuseum.nl!
Ever since the beginning of the internet, museums have been looking for ways to display their collections online in an attractive way. How do you create a museum site where the public can get lost? And how do you make the online experience just as good as the visit to the cultural institution itself? That challenge was the starting point for the new Rijksmuseum website. Together we have devised a way in which visitors can learn about the stories surrounding collection items.
The Stories platform brings lots of new elements to the Rijksmuseum’s online environment. With state-of-the-art video streaming thanks to its own player plus other visual story forms, such as ‘scroll counting’ style articles, tours, ‘zoomers’, live events and podcasts. Stories are for everyone: for young and old; for the curious and the connoisseur. The stories on the new platform are offered in series. The stories are expanded every week. So, just like on Netflix, everyone can follow their favourite series. And look forward to a new season. It looks and feels simple, but if you see further you will find a lot of depth and complexity underneath.
The new museum website is characterized by extremely large images. This special, ‘image first’ design is inspired by the trend-setting and award-winning Rijksstudio that we launched in 2012. In Rijksstudio anyone can zoom in on small details of familiar, unexpected and surprising images. The principle of full-screen images has now been extended across the entire Rijksmuseum website. For this, the award winning Dutch photographer Studio Polat developed a new style in photography for the Rijksmuseum, in which the level of communication and marketing photography matches that of the collection. As a result, the entire website feels like a museum experience. We have ensured that the visitor always sees the correct crop and the correct size image, regardless of the size of the screen.
In this ‘image first’ design we ensure one clear message per image. Together with the museum we make drastic choices and we keep each other sharp with the most important question: is this the Rijksmuseum? The visual and interaction choices sometimes seem to contradict the standard patterns that exist in e-commerce and marketing, but it works measurably well. And this makes the renewed site much more an extension of the museum than a meager reflection of “the real thing”.
Zooming in to the smallest detail
Of course we made the new website fully searchable: from the collection and activities to all practical information. And we have brought all activities of the Rijks together in a simple overview with smart filter options. Besides, the ultra-resolution storytelling tool Micrio allows users to zoom in to the smallest details of the paintings and immerse themselves in the artworks. The zoomable works in the series ‘In detail’ are also enriched with numerous stories and facts. And for visitors who really want to binge art, there are plenty of video tours to enjoy.