Archives and Museum Informatics

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 127–138 | Cite as

A Review of Museum Web Sites: In Search of User-Centred Design

  • Morten Hertzum
Article

Abstract

The introduction of the Web in museum environments is a relatively new phenomenon and the ways to utilise it are still very much under investigation. This review investigates the process of design that underlies current museum web sites and argues that it will be crucial to their future evolution and success to centre this process around the users. Based on a small-scale questionnaire of leading museum web sites, it is found that the development of these sites has been a fringe activity. The museums have needed time to gain experience with the new medium and have essentially designed their sites around their own understanding of what museums are and how museum-related information can be communicated. A process of user-centred design seems a crucial next step in order to get beyond three characteristics of the current sites: (1) The majority of the museum sites have been developed without a clear notion of what the site should achieve. (2) The sites have not been evaluated to find out whether they match the users' needs and wishes. (3) The material on the sites tends to duplicate material in the physical museums rather than to rethink it given the possibilities provided by the new medium.

human-computer interaction museums usability user-centred design visions in design web site management WWW 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Morten Hertzum
    • 1
  1. 1.Interaction Design CentreUniversity of LimerickIreland

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