I have a deep passion for Art History and Japanese culture, which is why I choose a museum specializing in Japanese collections. I also have a dream to work for a museum setting someday. In college, I wrote a short thesis on a fictional museum I created specializing in Kimono and Japanese Woodblock print collections. I want to go off that thesis and create a website for that museum.
Here are three competitive museums:
The Japanese American National Museum: http://www.janm.org
- visual design: The first thing I notice is the obvious olive green and eggplant purple color scheme and it’s almost a little too much. The site is overall text heavy with a rather outdated layout. It’s also not responsive.
- Content: Being a museum visitor, the content on the museum itself and exhibitions are easy to find through the navigatio
- “call to action”: There is no obvious CTA, but the looping hero image acts as a CTA showcasing current exhibitions. The secondary info can be accessed by text that is underlined when hovered. I think having CTAs that look like buttons would draw the eye more.
- Navigation: The navigation bar is relatively simple blends in with the surrounding text. The easiest pages to navigate are the the “Visit JANM” and “Exhibtion” pages. It has a balance of both text and images giving the viewer an idea of what’s happening.
- Functionality: For the purpose of finding about the museum itself like location, parking, and exhibitions, it gets the job done. For other things like the Calender, it’s a little hard to read through.
- Community building (social media): JANM has social media widgets on the front page only. I think it would help to have them either on the head or footer available on every page.
- Other comments: I know as a museum visitor, I like to call the museum ahead of time, so I would look for a phone number but it’s hard to find on this site. I think if the museum was updated with a responsive layout and a less saturated color pallete, it would be easier to navigate.
- What are the client’s business goals for the site? To educate and bring awareness to the general public on Japanese-American culture and history especially in California. The exhibitions mainly focus on individuals who have made an impact on Japanese American culture; especially during WWII.
- Who’s the target audience? Mainly adults who have an interest in Japanese culture, history, and art. And I think the museum is trying to reach younger folks through educational programs like “janmKIDS”.
The Itchiku Kubota Museum: http://www.itchiku-museum.com
- Visual design: the home page is a continuous single page with sections broken into blocks of images including a guide map.
- Content: The content is mainly divided into two sections “Museum Information” and “About Kubota Itchiku”. There is a sliding bar on the left hand side that pans to the center to show current events and social media widgets. PDF’s are also available for guests who don’t speak Japanese.
- “Call to action”: When hovered over, the two main sections expands with a sub menu leading to more information. The only evident CTA is toward the bottom in a large red circle with a mobile scan code for viewers to access more information with their smartphones.
- Navigation: For Japanese speakers, the site is rather easy to navigate, but it’s rather difficult for folks who don’t speak Japanese. There are PDFs available but it doesn’t have the detailed information such as current exhibitions.
- Functionality: The site functions well as a visual showcase of the museum location. It invites the viewer to want to know more and attend the museum.
- Community building (social media): The only social media widget available is Facebook and it can be found on the black sliding bar on the left hand side with paned open.
- Other comments: Itchiku is a famous kimono designer, and this museum is a place he built. The images are beautiful and inviting, but I think more images of the kimono and less of the scenery should be shown for guests to have an idea of the kind of work Kubota did.
- What are the client’s business goals for the site? To educate the general public on the life and career of Kubota Itchiku who developed a unique kimono weaving technique called “Tsuchigahana” and developed a large body of work which has become recognized worldwide and showcased in places like the Smithsonian Institute. The museum, which Kubota designed himself, is located near Mt Fuji and invites the guests to enter a quiet world where Kubuto found tranquility and inspiration for his work.
- Who’s the target audience? Folks who enjoy love learning about kimono, authentic Japanese scenery, and Japanese culture itself. Mostly adults and an attempt to reach out to foreign audiences.
The Adachi Museum of Art: https://www.adachi-museum.or.jp
- Visual design: The layout is similar to JANM’s in that it’s a more traditional layout. However, it has a neutral color pallet making the image and text stand out nicely.
- Content: Concise info that can be found in the navigation bar: info, exhibitions, gardens, access, museum history.
- “Call to action”: The hero image showcasing current exhibitions acts as a CTA. Secondary CTAs and videos are listed below the hero image.
- Navigation: Very easy navigation with balance of image and text to make finding basic information easy.
- Functionality: Simple functionality with info accessible to both Japanese and English Speakers.
- Community building (social media): Social media widgets can be found on the home page on the bottom right corner. However, instead of taking the viewer straight to their social media pages, a sub window pops up with blog posts.
- Other comments: The drop-down menu is concise, and no need for a separate page for each sub menu.
- What are the client’s business goals for the site? To bring guests into a world that Adachi created to view the paintings he collected in, what Adachi perceived to be, the perfect setting of sublime gardens displaying all four seasons.
- Who’s the target audience? Anyone who enjoys gardens and paintings, especially photographers who take advantage of the outdoor setting. The museum also targets English speaking tourists, thus a bilingual website that’s easily accessible with equal amounts of info in both languages.