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IQ News: Portrait of the Met as Commercial Web Site

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New York-based Nicholson NY has won the assignment to redesign the Web site for the Metropolitan Museum of Art following a three-month review that included more than a dozen shops.
The site, metmuseum.org, will include the museum's collections, a rebuilt online store linking to its 30 retail stores and catalogs, tutorials for all academic levels and information on exhibits and programs. Nicholson will employ its "extended commerce" model that sells to the user through the overall experience of a site.
Jennifer Friedberg, senior vice president, business development and marketing at Nicholson NY, said the goal is to create an experience online that will entice users to visit the Met. Artwork will be displayed on the site with the same color scheme as backdrops in the museum when the site relaunches in October.
"The feeling that you get when you walk up the steps of the museum is the feeling you should get from the site," Friedberg said.
The New York offices of Siegel & Gale and iXL were among the review's finalists, said Emily Rafferty, senior vice president for development and membership at the Met. She said the original site, which first launched in 1994, was created by EarthWeb. "It was intended as an information site," Rafferty explained. "It was never intended to do what we now [want]."
The new site will include at least 50 objects from each of the museum's collections. "We recognize that the World Wide Web offers a real opportunity for the Metropolitan Museum of Art to communicate with an ever-widening audience," Rafferty said.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Tom Nicholson, founder and CEO of the agency, said the museum has made a big commitment to the site.
"This assignment really is an opportunity for us as a company to bring several areas of expertise," he said, including strategy, design and merchandising.