What’s next for museums? That is the main subject of MuseumNext, the major conference series on the future of museums. Our Creative Director Rolf Coppens was invited to share his views on design and innovation. Grrr’s cooperation with Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, awarded with two golden European Design Awards, had reached the other side of the Atlantic.

So how to talk museum for an audience of leading museum directors and professionals? By starting with a sausage.

Don’t serve the Unity Sausage

Rolf is referring to the Dutch saying of the “eenheidsworst”, meaning creating the most common denominator. Using food and cooking as a metaphor, he shows that the design dominance of the big tech companies is creating a very bland dish that works for everybody, but isn’t great for anybody. We believe that (art) museums are a place that welcome experiments and challenge the minds of the visitors. In this thinking, museums should be the source of inspiration for the big tech companies and not the other way around.

Brutal yet intuitive

Dutch cuisine, was once diverse and creative. Until the leading Domestic Science College of The Hague in 1934 introduced the New Hague Cookbook. Using the latest findings of nutritional science, the cookbook had a tremendous influence on the Dutch kitchen. Turning all Dutch cooking into unity sausage. As Rolf states: the same thing is happening in web design today. Influenced by the likes of Google, Apple and Microsoft, designers create websites and apps that stick to the same safe rules. This feels familiar to users but also slows down innovation and experiments.

With the new Stedelijk website, we aim to present the trend of web brutalism to the general public. Web brutalism is a reaction to standardization and exaggerated fringes, just like its architectural predecessor; brutalism of for example Le Corbusier. While the website at first glance might be in your face, users experience it as easy, intuitive and fun. So how did we do it?

  • +13%

    Page Views

  • +36%

    Time On Page

Intuitive, interactive and….conversion focussed

The new Stedelijk website converts better than the former one with +13% increase in page views and a +36% improvement in time one page.

Inclusive and accessible

When it comes to designing for inclusion and accessibility we are definitely not there yet. However, together with Stedelijk we aim to be a frontrunner on these aspects. On this, we are working together with Studio-I, a platform for improving inclusive services in museums. And we also cooperate with the Dutch National Creative Council on developing a nation wide platform on inclusion for the cultural sector.

During our MuseumNext talk, we gave an insight into our solutions for digital inclusion. Like how we build websites for the visually impaired first, and add features for “normal” people with sight later. And how we fix issues for people with (partial) color blindness and fine-motor issues in the use of mouse input. We made a strong case for an integrated design / development culture to solve these huge challenges.


Dutch design is leading

We know the New Yorkers like to see themselves as leading the rest of the world. But looking at the audience reactions, we see that the Dutch Design tradition still makes a huge impact worldwide. And we are proud of delivering that message.