Smartify is a mobile art guide that empowers people to scan and instantly identify artworks in more than 90 museums and galleries worldwide. Founded in 2015 to be the "Shazam for art," Smartify uses image recognition technology to unlock rich content about artworks, artists, and venues.

Earlier this year we introduced an all new experience on Smartify: tours. Venues and independent art experts can now publish premium multimedia tours curated by their top experts, and visitors can follow along at their preferred pace, in a museum or at home, using their own device.

Venues that have published tours on Smartify since the launch include the National Portrait Gallery (UK), the Rijksmuseum (NL), and the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery (USA).
March 2019
Product strategy, experience design, interaction design, visual design
Imagine walking in to a museum ready to explore, learn, and see some fantastic art. To make the most of your visit and ensure you don't miss any highlights, you'd like to enlist the help of an audio guide. The venue most likely invites you to rent one of their audio guide devices, or to download their official audio guide app.

This scenario presents pain points both for you and for the venue. You may not want to deal with the hassle of renting a device or installing yet another app on your phone. The venue has likely made a huge investment in their guide(s), which are mightily expensive to solicit and to maintain over time.

Smartify was uniquely positioned to offer a better alternative. It could become venues' platform of choice by making tour creation, promotion, and technical support smoother and more affordable than ever before. It could become visitors' museum app of choice by offering an intuitive experience and massive database of information that complemented, rather than distracted from, the art itself.
↑ Some examples of the new tour screen.
Our team interviewed visitors at two venues in London to understand their behavior during their visits. Did they prefer to be guided through a gallery or to explore on their own? As they walked around looking at art, what types of signage or information did they expect to see or hear? Would they rather rent a device from a museum or install an app on their own phone?
Because everyone's relationship with art is unique, the answers to these questions were varied. We drafted a set of unifying principles to align the team before beginning to design anything. Smartify tours needed to:
1. Empower people to explore independently
Some museum visitors are more independent than others, and not everyone we spoke with wanted to be guided along a tour. Some people kept their phones out in the gallery, while others stowed theirs away in a pocket while listening to audio. A tour on Smartify needed to be equally simple to follow sequentially or to start from anywhere in the list.
2. Allow for easy multitasking
Mobile users are constantly switching between apps and tasks. Someone might receive a text in the middle of a tour, or have a sudden urge to post to their Instagram story. Allowing people to pause a tour and pick it up again later was a must.
3. Support all media types
Depending on the venue and its collection, a Smartify tour would contain a mix of audio, video, text, and even AR content. The experience needed to support any kind of media.
↑ Early wireframes.
↑ Mapping the entry points to a tour.
↑ A flow of the new tour experience.



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