An Audio Companion for the Expanded Art Gallery of New South Wales

  • 2023

  • Digital

Designed By:

  • Today
  • Art Gallery of NSW

Commissioned By:

Art Gallery of NSW

Designed In:


Dora, your art companion, lets visitors to the new Art museum campus engage with art in new, deeper ways. Designed as an ‘eyes up’ experience, Dora is an accessible audio companion that blends into the visitor experience and connects visitors to art, artists, music, curators and culture.

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  • Art Gallery of NSW (AGNSW) has built a world-class art and architectural experience: the Sydney Modern Project. To coincide with the launch of this new campus AGNSW needed an audio experience that embraced technology as a tool to support and enhance a visitor’s artistic experience—but not distract or detract from it. Responding to the challenge wasn’t about innovation for its own sake; more so about using design and technology to create a companion that would be a way into the art, supporting an interconnectedness between the visitor and their personal experience of art and the gallery space it exists within.

  • The solution is Dora—your art companion. Dora is an ‘eyes up’ audio experience whose interface is designed to melt away—changing colour to match the physical space, as visitors create their own path. Rather than using QR codes or near-field communication which might alienate some visitors, content is accessed by entering a number found near each artwork. You can start anywhere in the gallery and build your own path. Dora allows you to engage with a mosaic of voices and music as you wander; allowing you to find out more about the artworks, landscapes and architecture from creators and curators.

  • Dora improves connection and access to art for the general public through format, features and content. Many art museums have audio on offer via devices for hire or as downloadable apps. The Dora audio companion is a progressive web app (PWA) available via a visitor's device browser to access everything from historical context to artist inspiration, making for a deeper, more connected experience. Dora was designed with an accessibility-first approach. This means accessibility features like audio descriptions of artworks, or transcripts of content are not tucked away in an extra features corner, but are part of the main Dora interface.

  • AGNSW can see when and how people engage with the art, helping them create more meaningful experiences as they build on the product. “The foundational idea for the design of the Dora is to enable visitors to follow their own path through the expanded Gallery campus, to have a ‘wander’ rather than a ‘directed’ or ‘guided’ audio experience. The feedback from our visitors has been overwhelmingly positive, many noting the ‘ease of use’ and the rich ‘combination of music, artist commentary and words from curators’. The ease of inclusion of Access content such as transcripts and audio descriptions of artworks, largely enabled by the playlist model, is a highlight for us. Dora offers broad engagement with the art, artists and place to as wide a community as possible in line with our motto From here. For all.” – Francesca Ford, Manager of Digital projects at Art Gallery of New South Wales “The simplicity of this solution is deceiving, it took real creative confidence and trust among our team to work through countless ‘what-ifs’ and stay focused on a functional and beautiful product.” - Liana Modolo, Product Design Lead at Today