The National Gallery

The National Gallery is one of the most visited museums in the world and contains over 2300 paintings including many famous works, such as van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait, Velázquez’s Rokeby Venus, Turner’s Fighting Temeraire and Van Gogh’s Sunflowers. The gallery represents all major traditions of Western European painting from the artists of late medieval and Renaissance Italy to the French Impressionists.

After a long period of using traditional audio-guide hardware, Smartify was asked to work with The National Gallery to write, produce and distribute exhibition guides to visitors' own devices.

Challenge: As Smartify partners since 2016, the National Gallery wanted to provide an accessible and contemporary guide for visitors, while also generating as much income as possible. To meet this challenge required not only a mobile guide that could be delivered to visitor’s own phones, but an efficient and simple way to purchase the audio guide. Finally, the National Gallery were looking for a partner to write and produce the tours.

Our solution: The Smartify creative team writes, records and produces the audio tours for the National Gallery’s temporary exhibition programme including highlights such as Raphael; After Impressionism: Inventing Modern Art; Lucian Freud: New Perspectives. Working collaboratively with the curators at the National Gallery, we help explore the exhibitions for contemporary visitors.

Drawing on our team’s technical and design expertise we connected guides to the online ticketing user journey. Visitors purchasing a ticket could choose to buy an audio guide as well which would be sent via a link and QR code on a ticket. In addition, visitors could purchase the guide at the ticket desk.

Finally, we wanted to ensure ongoing KPI management. Smartify connected our in-app analytics on visitor engagement directly to the National Gallery’s internal analytics monitoring platform to ensure that they had a clear oversight on usage, pinch points, engagement and demographics of those using the tool.

The results: Advertised to visitors at the start of their visit, our Smartify audio guide has already become an integral part of the visitor experience. It also has higher take-up rates and generates significantly more income to the museum than the previous device-based operation.

Learn more about our work on accesible tours

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