Lost Bear Gallery is a leading destination for contemporary art in the Blue Mountains, NSW, with a superb collection of paintings, sculptures, ceramics and glass art by acclaimed Australian artists.
The gallery wanted us to build a website to promote its artists, exhibitions and events, connect with a wider audience, and function as an online shop to increase sales.
Thanks to the self-managed and user-friendly website, Lost Bear Gallery is able to keep its content up-to-date easily and ensure a consistent and visually appealing experience for its users. This has resulted in improved interactions with customers, making it easier for them to navigate the site and find the information or products they need without feeling overwhelmed.
During the first 10 months, Lost Bear Gallery’s website generated approximately A$7,000 in online sales. The gallery received more than 170 new submissions through various contact channels, including their contact form, product inquiry popup, and mailing list.
We conducted UX research to gain insight into the needs of both business stakeholders and end-users that included: interviews with key stakeholders, such as the gallery owner, marketing manager, and sales manager; auditing direct and indirect competitors to identify the best practices and common design patterns; and identifying art collectors as the primary user persona.
Based on this research, I created a comprehensive list of goals, pain points, and behaviours of Lost Bear Gallery and its end-users as a guide for making design decisions for the project.
I used an object map in my design process to help me understand the website’s hierarchy and how the objects are related to each other and fit into the overall user experience.
This helped me to identify potential gaps, patterns or redundancies in the design and make informed decisions about how to design and build the system.
Adding the following specific features to the WordPress backend to better suit Lost Bear’s needs and requirements improved the overall user experience and made it easier for Lost Bear Gallery to manage and update the content.
Dynamic tags offer a flexible and efficient way to manage content, reducing the time and effort required to make changes. This results in a better user experience, as the website’s design and functionality remain consistent and cohesive.
As part of the design process, I designed an interface that’s clean and simple, focusing on usability, to ensure that users can find and understand the information they need without feeling overwhelmed by excessive details or a visually cluttered interface.
I carefully chose colours and fonts consistent with the brand’s identity and message to achieve this. Black and white is an effective colour scheme for creating a minimalist interface with high contrast that visually helps separate different elements of the website while allowing the artwork (colour) to take centre stage.
I faced UX constraints while designing Lost Bear’s website. First, the client’s specifications were that the navigation menu could not include a separate “Shop” page. This meant that users had to purchase artwork through the exhibition or artist page, which required additional consideration in terms of how to present artwork and facilitate purchases effectively.
Another challenge was the loss of design control that came with making the website self-managed. While this enabled the client to add and update content without needing designers/developers, it required me to give up some level of control over the design and layout of the website. This meant I had to carefully consider creating a visually appealing and cohesive design that the client could easily update.
Working with a company with limited resources and time required me to adapt my design approach to fit their workflow. This involved prioritizing the most important features while finding innovative solutions to meet their requirements. Not all the accessibility features could be automated for content updating, such as alt text for images and keyboard navigation. Therefore, working closely with the client was crucial to ensure that all essential features were implemented correctly.
Despite the constraints, the website successfully sold over $7k worth of art within 10 months and received more than 170 new submissions through various contact channels. This demonstrated that by carefully balancing the UX constraints and finding creative solutions to meet the client’s needs, we were able to create a versatile, minimalistic and self-managed website for Lost Bear Gallery to connect with a wider audience and increase sales.