The Portland Art Museum Web Site: Design DNA by Exprima Media
Tuesday, January 10th, 2012
This week, the Portland Art Museum launched a redesigned web site. A new logo perches proudly atop pages with attractive palettes, clean typography, and soft lines. Beneath the colors, between the lines, behind t
he typeface lies the unseen but ever-present work of Exprima Media.
Exprima was brought in to design the Interaction Design of the new site. Our work started with a series of Discovery meetings and ended with a detailed site map and detailed wire-frame drawings (think blueprints) of the
site’s various interfaces. Our final wireframes provide the basis of the user’s experience of the site – the way the information is zoned, how the navigation works, where the buttons are, how the pages are organized.
In Discovery, we reviewed other museum sites to find examples of successful zoning.
We also worked to map the content, navigation, and page structure of the Portland Art Museum site.
We also worked to identify the goals of the site’s typical users as well as Museum’s goals for those users.
After generating our wireframes, we created an interactive prototype and tested it with potential site visitors. This allowed us to tweak and optimize our interaction design.
Our activities contributed to a new Portland Art Museum site that is at once intuitive and informative. All our site maps, user studies, our wireframes, are all invisible. But without these, the site would be less than it is. Without an explicitly designed user experience, software can quickly be difficult to use. A site or app with neglected interaction design may be pretty, but it won’t be easy. You can browse the Showcase Of Beautiful But Unusable Websites to see some more egregious examples. Nasty.