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13th February 2018 Amy Firth

Designing for first time visitors: London Networking Meeting Report

The National Gallery hosted this networking meeting, with Lawrence Chiles speaking to a crowded room of arts professionals about the process that the National Gallery had been through to make the first time visitor experience more meaningful, and more likely to re-engage people.

Looking at the market, the opportunity and the change which the National Gallery wanted to achieve, Lawrence described how the core value propositions of the National Gallery helped define their goals.

From four key audience segments, the common theme was the “first-time visitor” characteristic, which cut across other age and social demographics. First-time visitors had been identified as in need of particular development, shifting first-time visitor engagement from feedback like “it’s all Jesus over there” and “the toilets were downstairs” to a more engaged and personal art journey.

This was a challenging proposition, but one which Lawrence and the National Gallery team had tackled with gusto. Their research had identified that while the gallery offers a huge, multi-layered experience, first-time visitors to the gallery needed a framework to hang their visit on, something shorter and more guided. Lawrence talked about how to nurture storytelling, and developing “episodic content”.

The National Gallery have a lot of data to draw upon, but the underlying principles were applicable to all sizes of organisations. A lively discussion followed the talk, debating the balance between choice versus guidance,  and leveraging post-experience digital engagement.

It was great to see a wide range of organisations represented among the attendees, and AMA member rep Melissa Darby did a fantastic job of hosting and facilitating some excellent networking. Our next London networking meeting is coming up soon at The Globe… watch our event listings for details.