It’s no surprise that mobile technology is an attractive opportunity for arts and cultural organisations. OFCOM suggest more than half the UK’s mobile users have a smartphone – no other device offers access to such a wealth of information, exploration and connectivity while being inextricably entwined with our day to day lives.
In under four years there have been 25bn downloads from Apple’s AppStore alone. Museum of London’s revered Streetmuseum app is a fine example of the medium at its best. How hard can it be to make an app that entertains and educates?
In early 2011 Thought Den were commissioned to produce a playful mobile-based experience to take Tate’s collection of artworks beyond the physical walls of the gallery. Their previous app, Tate Trumps, was hailed as a game-changer and demonstrated public appetite for mobile experiences. Magic Tate Ball was designed to appeal to more casual mobile users on an international scale. It is now Tate’s most downloaded app, but after almost a year in production the journey was far from easy.
Credit must be given to Tate for writing an excellent brief. I believe the most successful digital projects are built on genuine collaboration between the content owners and the digital team. Tate clearly understand the value of their content and Thought Den were given ample freedom to harness the technical power of the medium and wrap it up in a compelling creative treatment. We pitched a few concepts and Magic Tate Ball stuck – it’s a simple idea with a silly name, which is a winning combination.