The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, came to us with their book about the forthcoming Kew exhibition by David Nash. It’s a beautiful book, with great photos of his work and detailed copy about his processes, techniques, and artistic development through time.
This paper version is a rich resource for fans of the famous sculptor, but Kew wanted to do something innovative – and with a premium feel – to translate it to the iPad. To create something of genuine use to fans of Nash and visitors to the exhibition.
How we applied our process
We thought carefully about our end users – we wanted to make something that would have value for fans of sculpture in general and Nash’s work in particular. We spent a lot of time thinking through how an experience could work equally effectively for people:
- Planning to come to the exhibition
- Physically at the exhibition
- Wanting a flavour of the exhibition, but unable to come
- Interested in unearthing more detail and knowledge of the work of David Nash
It quickly became clear that in order to make use of certain features of the iPad (e.g. location data), this would need to be built as a native iOS app rather than in the iBooks platform (which was in fact the direction we took for another Kew project, The Plant Hunters).
We reimagined the content as discreet nuggets of information. We chopped up and rewrote parts of the text so that we could split everything into pieces of content attached to specific exhibits or areas of Nash’s work. We presented each of these pieces of content in a grid formation and as an alternative integrated them into a map. This allowed us to pinpoint each exhibit so the user could see where the sculptures are placed within Kew, and use the app as a tool for exploring the exhibition.
We also introduced content filters and the ability to add Favourites so that users could organise and browse the material in a way that suited them. We added a ‘related content’ tab to each piece of content allow users to take a different non-linear journey to that which they would have taken in the book.
We gave the app a unique feel by using a parallaxing interface, something we’ve used very successfully in our previous Magic of Reality iPad app, which presented the text and photos in a novel and satisfying way.
The result was a rich tool for aficionados of and newcomers to David Nash alike. We maintained the high quality feel (and some of the visual style) of the book, and surfaced the content in a very different way, giving users control over how they explore the world and work of David Nash.
Available on the App Store now – David Nash at Kew Gardens.