Burke Museum Web Design

One hundred and thirty years of history, thousands of items, and hundreds of collections. Redesigning the Burke Museum’s web presence from the ground up was a year long project during my time at Tag Creative. Working with Heather Michelson and Zak Menkel, the three of us brought the Burke’s history, resources and education efforts into a contemporary and responsive style to help their users get the most out of visiting both the site and museum. As digital designer on the project, I created the desktop and mobile designs, developed the information architecture of the site, and worked with our developers to create a fluid, responsive experience.

ClientBurke Museum ServicesGraphic Design, User ExperienceYear2015Linkwww.burkemuseum.org

Process


Laying out the wires

We knew that we would be developing the final site in Drupal, so that prompted us to begin the design phase by creating wireframes for the basic templates that a majority of the pages would follow. The Burke team came to us with a document that contained the new content for almost the entire site and, and it was on our team to suggest what pages belong where, but we also relied on the Burke's extensive knowledge of their collection to provide input on what their users and audience needs when visiting.

Prototyping the interaction

In the early stages of wireframing and information architecture I began putting together walkthrough videos of the wires formatted for mobile. These videos were incredibly helpful for us, the client, and early users as we refined the experience from desktop to mobile.

Early design stage

The exploratory design phase began with an interior page, in this case Current Exhibits. We wanted to begin the early phases of design using an interior page because the homepage is often the rock star of a site, and although is the first impression for a user, it isn't indicative for the Burke's frequent visitors that come to the site as a reference.

Refining the design

Moving into subsequent rounds of design, I wanted to create a tighter sense of direction and hierarchy for the user. We kept with the large photo in the top of the page since such a massive part of the Burke experience is visualizing the vast collections and documents in the museum's catalog.

Dialing in the interior pages

At this point in the design phase we felt that the dark header, footer and other structural elements weren't creating an inviting space like the museum itself. You can see here we began to move towards lighter elements, and ultimately adding color that helped to create a welcoming, helpful reference for new and repeat users.