Art Institute of Chicago exterior photo

Art Institute of Chicago

The Need
With an outdated website and difficult to manage CMS, the Art Institute of Chicago needed a freshly designed site with custom features that were museum visitor friendly.
The Result
A completely rebuilt Drupal website with customized features and a dedicated mobile site geared towards museum visitors.
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About the Project
Art Institute of Chicago logo

Founded in 1879, the AIC boasts 300,000 works of art in its permanent collection and host 30 special exhibitions each year. These collections are stewarded by eleven curatorial departments and nearly 500 employees and housed in eight different building that covers nearly one million square feet, in the heart of Chicago.

The AIC was in need of a digital platform that showcased the museum to potential visitors in a way that was spectacular as their physical presence.  Working with Studio Blue, we built a completely new site that met their needs and showcased the amazing works at the Art Institute of Chicago to any audience.

Art Institute of Chicago home page screenshot
Challenge #1
Create an enterprise level site with customizable features

With such a vast offering of collections, and the ever revolving door of visiting exhibitions, lectures, and performances each year, AIC needed a site that was highly visual, completely customized, easily changeable, and designed to portray their offerings with sophistication.

The first step was building a completely new Drupal 7 site, with customized features. The newly designed homepage allowed AIC to promote specific features and contains full-bleed images that scale to any browser and allows for video promotion. To improve their user interaction, we added a custom toolkit navigation that allows AIC to promote content based on relevance, and make it easy to find in their content heavy site. Events, exhibitions, membership events, hours of operation, and dining options can all be based on date to simplify findings.

Art Institute of Chicago image of site on mobile phone
Challenge #2
Deliver a mobile site geared to museum visitors

As a museum, the AIC needed a mobile site that was specifically geared to actual (real life) museum visitors. The answer was a mobile site that leverages the same look and feel of the desktop design but is optimized for mobile devices, with a prioritized subset of site content that is specifically related to a museum visit. Current featured exhibitions, collections, event calendar, same day hours of operation, and dining are all highlighted via mobile to make museum visitors experience seamless between the virtual and real worlds.