The Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt presents its new website with a pioneering concept

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The Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt presents its new website with a pioneering concept
Digitorial to "Storm Women" © Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, 2014.

FRANKFURT.- The Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt is presenting its new website at Besides a fundamentally altered design, the new web presence is based on a pioneering concept: to offer visitors a digital companion—before, during, and after visiting an exhibition. In doing so, the Schirn is responding in an innovative way to the demanding and changing use behavior of its visitors. The new website was developed based on the needs of all groups of visitors. It focuses on extensive information about the exhibitions as well as the overall Schirn program with its wide range of educational and communication opportunities. An intelligent technical set-up enables the display of individualized as well as differentiated contents and information about the Schirn depending on the respective device in use, the day of the week, and the time of access. Within only a few months, the Schirn designed and implemented this new website in collaboration with the Frankfurt-based digital agency Henne / Ordnung. It features a slender main navigation; a clear, dynamic visual language; a dual distribution of text, image, and video contents at the central axis; as well as a semantic search, consistently carrying on the Schirn’s corporate identity. The site is responsive, which means that it is viewable on all popular screen sizes—from the smartphone and the tablet to the desktop computer—without restrictions. Besides the Schirn website, the visuals of the Schirn Magazine were also fundamentally altered. For the purpose of reinforcing its magazine character, a different typography was selected than for the new website. The text, image, and video elements have more space, can be displayed larger than ever before, and in doing so facilitate reading ease.

In recent years, the Schirn has been able to maintain and consolidate its leading role in integrated online communication with numerous digital developments and applications. This includes Schirnwide Wi-Fi at no charge as well as the digitorial, the audio-guide apps, or the exhibition projects that only take place on the Internet. The Schirn’s aspiration and goal is to offer visitors an original, sensuous exhibition experience and allow them to actively participate in art-historical reflection both at the Kunsthalle as well as online. Therefore, the institution continuously rethinks things, scrutinizes the established and the traditional, and places its focus on themes, discourses, and trends related to art and cultural history from the perspective of the world of today.

“The new website is the digital companion before, during, and after visiting the Schirn. Five years after the last relaunch, it was important for us to design a website that offers more than just a new appearance. Our concept is pioneering and demonstrates how contemporary digital communication can look. The new website caters to the various needs of our visitors. Regardless of whether one prepares one’s exhibition visit at home, is already at the Schirn and reads on one’s smartphone that a guided tour is about to begin, or whether after visiting an exhibition one shares one’s experience with the Schirn community on Instagram: each context, each situation demands different information. We can ideally react to that with the new website,” explains Max Hollein, director of the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt.

The main navigation of the new website is subdivided into three large areas: Exhibitions, Program, Visit. The navigation point Exhibitions takes users to all of the essential information on current, planned, and past exhibitions at the Schirn. A different kind of communication approach was explicitly chosen for the exhibition pages. They are set up according to a special dramaturgy consisting of networked information modules, such as moderated image galleries and videos, a speed-reading mode for the text elements, as well as relevant articles from the Schirn Magazine. A countdown module counts the days until the next exhibition opening or closing of a show. One special feature is the Instagram wall. It sees itself as a visual guestbook and actively includes visitors in the communication of an exhibition. The navigation point Program presents a specially developed calendar module with an intelligent filter function: all of the educational and communication opportunities, such as guided tours for the public, vacation workshops, or artists’ talks, have been brought together there in a neatly arranged calendar. It also provides insight into the Schirn’s extensive educational and communication work: MINISCHIRN, Schirn Explore, guided tours for families, art lectures, programs for educators, or opportunities for barrier-free tours through exhibitions are accessible and attractively presented there. The Visit section provides compact information about opening hours and tickets, directions, about MINISCHIRN, individual and group guided tours, as well as the Schirn Café. In addition to the main navigation, the new website offers a meta navigation in the areas Press, Engagement, and Schirn. The Press section includes a newsroom for journalists, editors, bloggers, and Internet disseminators that caters to the demands of today’s media work. The Engagement section introduces the network of patrons, corporate partners, and sponsors of the Schirn. The support of the City of Frankfurt as well as numerous sponsors, patrons, and partners enables the Schirn to realize its exhibitions, projects, and its wide range of educational and communication opportunities. Finally, the Schirn section includes its mission statement and presents detailed information about the Kunsthalle itself, one of the most important art institutions in all of Europe.

Five years after its launch, in line with the new design of the Schirn website, the Schirn Magazine presents itself in a completely altered design and layout. With its numerous articles, contributions, and features, the magazine has established itself as an important medium on the contemporary art and culture scene. In redesigning the Schirn Magazine, one of the main concerns was activating interaction with the users. An easy-to-use comment function as well as a mark-andshare function for the magazine’s texts now allow discussing or sharing what one has read directly in the magazine itself or in social media channels. With its four permanent sections, Context, Interviews, Column, and Schirn Tipps, the Schirn Magazine invites users to enter the world of the Schirn: it presents exhibition-related as well as additional articles; discussions with artists, musicians, authors, and people engaged in the cultural sector; contributions and opinions written by Schirn curators; tips on relevant events on the art and culture scene in the Rhine-Main region, and much more.

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