The Metropolitan Museum of Art has launched its new iOS application – The Met – which debuted this week at #2 in Apple’s app store, right behind Instagram’s new venture Hyperlapse. The sleek, modern design helps first-time and repeat visitors to the museum to explore and discover new interests there. The app currently works on all functional iterations of the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Plans for an Android version are already in the works, with an expected release in 2015.
The goal was to “provide an app based on customers’ interests so that they can tailor their own visits,” said Director and CEO of The Metropolitan Museum of Art Thomas P. Campbell at a press conference on Tuesday. “You’ve got to digitize to survive.”
Created with the user in mind, the app is designed to “tell people what’s happening at The Met every day, wherever [they] are,” explained the museum’s Senior Mobile Manager Loic Tallon. They plan to do this by making sure the app is “Useful, Simple and Delightful.” For such a clean interface, with simple tap-and-swipe gestures, The Met packs a ton of information into its punch. The sometimes-overwhelming plentitude of exhibitions, collections and events consistently occurring within the museum’s walls are now put at the user’s fingertips, which will likely cause users to discover their interests and dig even deeper. Yet somehow, the app itself isn’t overwhelming. In fact, the aim was for users to be able to answer their own questions within 30 seconds.
Menu categories include Exhibitions (current temporary installations), Collections (permanent pieces and sections of the museum), Events (calendar listings for lectures, performances and other events), Members (a list of upcoming members-only perks) and Latest News (stay up to date on the museum’s happenings). Users can also buy tickets, get directions and hours, and other basic must-know details.
According to Tallon, 80% of the app can be used offline and will work on the subway. “The apps I enjoy using most are the ones that make me smile and fill a need,” he said, noting even Angry Birds as a subway-distraction and inspiration for The Met. “I want people to say ‘This deserves to be on my phone,’ because if it isn’t useful they’ll delete it.”
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has consistently been at the forefront of the digital age. They are active on all major social media platforms, have 1500 archived catalogue titles online, two video series – 82nd & 5th, which is now an iPad app adapted in 12 languages, and One Met. Many Worlds. – and now it has a successful new app.
“Hundreds of parents wake up across the city asking the same question: ‘What am I going to do with my kids today?’,” laughed Chief Digital Officer Sree Sreenivasan. “We’re hoping one of those answers will be ‘The Met.’”