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Yesterday, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York launched its first-ever app. The occasion was marked by a press conference and followed by a special performance by Interpol at the Temple of Dendur (because, why not?).
After some opening remark’s from the museum’s chief digital officer, Sree Sreenivasan, the Met’s very cheery and charming senior mobile manager, Loic Tallon, explained the how the app came to be and its features.
Setting out to create an app that offered “the easiest way to see what’s happening today,” they worked with the Portland-based creative agency Instrument, responsible for the apps of brands like Nike, Youtube, and Twitter (you might have heard of them). As Tallon explained, they had three goals: to keep it simple, useful, and delightful.
Keeping it simple was a big ask, between the museum’s permanent collection, dozens of concurrent exhibitions, and thousands of events that take place throughout the year. Being text and image-based only, the app itself is quite light (just over ten megabytes to download). That also means it can be used while off-line, say, while you’re in the subway. Over the next month or so, its features may connect to the Met’s already existing audio tour site.
Making sure the app is useful revolved around being able to answer any user questions within 30 seconds. Questions like: What’s on view today? What events are happening today? What events are happening later this year?
And the app’s delightful nature is achieved through a colorful appearance, a regularly recurring icon that reminds of us Trivial Pursuit pie pieces, and works of the day Tallon (also delightful) described as “our easter egg,” which pop up when you rotate your device by 90 degrees. And while no plans exist yet for an egg hunt (to some media member’s dismay), the app offers a few definitely delightful ways to discover or re-discover the Met’s permanent collection, with curated lists like “Grand Spaces and Hidden Nooks,” “Family Favorites,” “Medieval Love,” and “Met-Staches,” which Tallon suggested the Brooklyn crowd may appreciate.
The Met app is now available for the iPhone and friends from the App Store, but in case you forget to download it before your next trip to the museum’s hallowed halls, there will be giant floor appliqués in the foyer and big pink stickers on maps to remind you.