The Online Museum
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- 1.George Washington University MSTD 297: Museums & Technology The Online Museum Dana Allen-Greil New Media Project Manager National Museum of American History 03/27/08
2. Online Collections
- If visitors can access our digital collections using the Internet,will they still come to the museum in person ?
- If people can look at pictures of beaches online,will they still vacation in Florida?
Source: Paul F. Marty, "Museum Websites and Museum Visitors: Before and After the Museum Visit.2007.Photo (Top): Curtiss JN-4D Jenny, Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum. 3. Physical and Virtual VisitsComplement Each Other
- A 2005 study found that:
- 70% of museum visitors specificallylook for online information prior to a museum visit
- 57% say the information they found onlineincreased their desire to visitthe museum in person.
- Online visitors use museum Web sites to:
- plan visits to physical museums
- learn more about museums after a visit
Source: Paul F. Marty, "Museum Websites and Museum Visitors: Before and After the Museum Visit.2007. Chart: Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS),InterConnections: A National Study of Users and Potential Users of Online Information . 2008. Chart: The number of remote online visits is positively correlated with the number of in-person visits to museums and public libraries. (2007) 4. Who is on a Web site development team?
- Some team members will bein-house , others may becontractedor beexternalpartners.
- Curators / subject matter expert
- Educators / interpretive planner
- Project manager
- Exhibition designer
- Public affairs / marketing
- Web staff
- Developers/ programmers
- Project manager
- Sponsors / Partners
- Colleagues at other institutions
- 0.RFP (Request for Proposals)
- Wireframes/ information architecture
- Directions (~3)
- Other key pages
- Interaction design (i.e., what would the steps be for a user to do x activity)
- Programming and database development
- Production (images, animations, etc.)
- Beta test
- Site documentation
- Original graphics files
- Call your colleagues for estimates on similar projects
- Work your Web budget into project budgets (e.g., exhibitions, partnerships)
- Cost keeps going up
- Discounts / partial pro bono
- Dont forget maintenance and staffing!
- Audio/video/image rights
7. Content, content, content
- Tell a good story and people will use the site
- Sometimes sites that arent high-design are still very popular (e.g.,Between a Rock and a Hard Place )
- Web sites live a long time, keep that in mind when developing contentand watch your traffic grow over time.
- It is very hard to gain knowledge about your online visitors
- Who are they
- Why are they coming / what do they want from you
- How often do they come
- Once you build it, they will come and then you have to keep it updated and working!
- Someone to pay attention to it
- Often tied to exhibition sponsors
- Harder to fun wider-reaching projects
- Difficult to fund the staff you need
- New technologies offer new opportunities but also new barriers for those with disabilities
- Neither assistive technology nor technology-specific accessibility standards are keeping pace
9. Technology Planning: Questions to Consider
- Whoneeds to be at the table?
- Skills (content expertise, audience evaluation, interpretive planning, user interface design)
- Departments (curatorial, education, exhibitions, technology)
- Which goalsare most important?
- What problemare you solving?
- Who is the projectsupposed to serve ?Is target audience the same online as it is in other media?
- How will youmeasure outcomes ?
- Whatexpectationsdo you and your target audience have for look & feel, aesthetics, navigation, usability?
- Did this start as a Web idea or is it anadaptationof another type of project (e.g., PR, exhibition, book, etc.)?How will youtranslateit for online media?
10. Technology Planning: Good Practices
- Bring all thestakeholdersinto key decisions (including users).
- Design user-centered sites not institution-centered sites
- Interpretive planningshould include technology and media strategies.
- Integration throughout planning, content development, and design of exhibitions.Technology should not be segregated from other types of messaging media.
- Berealistic .Museums have limited resources (staff, time, funding).What will give you the best return on investment (ROI)?
- Plan forsustainability .
- Who will maintain media component(s)?How will maintenance be funded?
- How will it be updated over time (content/hardware/other technology)?
- Collaborate .
- With vendors
- Other institutions
For more about ROI, see: Leonard Steinback, Analyzing Return on Investment: Process of Champions, inThe Digital Museum .American Association of Museums, 2007. 11. What makes the Web special
- What can you do online that you can't do in the physical museum?
- Strengths of online media
- Manipulation of artifacts
- Getting up close/ details
- Not restricted by time/place
- Navigate any way you want to
12. Integration with other museum functions
- Exhibitions & collections
- Communications strategies
- Email communications
- Other publishing media (e.g., print calendars, museum signage)
- HR, interns, volunteers
- Visitor services
- Museum Computer Network (mcn-l)
- Museums Computers Group (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- AAM Media and Technology Committee
- Museums and the Web
14. SHOW AND TELL 15. Online Exhibitions
- Multiple ways to navigate content
- America on the Move
- http://americanhistory.si.edu/onthemove/(Exhibition, Collection, Themes)