Heritage portal - informal 'visions and requirements' questionnaire
Some questions that you may want to ask about our vision for the Heritage Portalsite and requirements for its redesign:1. What’s the purpose of your website - Mission and Vision? Your needs? - The website is primarily a resource for cultural heritage and research professionals – so either people who work within cultural heritage or people who work in scientific research and, most importantly, the overlap group of people who work in cultural heritage related scientific research. - The key target audience is people who are going to USE the website (ie. actually contribute content and use the networking function) as opposed to people who are just going to visit it to obtain information but not actively participate. The site provides a resource for both audiences but the first is the most important. - The vision is to become a single point of contact for cultural heritage research in Europe – whether that’s accessing static information, sharing research findings & grey literature, looking for training opportunities and current vacancies, accessing funding etc etc etc - It should become something that is matter of course: You have a query about something? You log in to the heritage portal forums to ask other professional in your field. You finish your research project? You automatically publish the findings on heritage portal, as well as in the relevant journals for your field. - The website currently describes itself as: “a new open-access European Commission-funded website providing news and resources about cultural heritage research, conservation, education and training across Europe”. I’m not sure that that captures what it really is (or can be), but it’s a starting point.2. What does your site do – can you list key services and products?Products: No commercial products (ie. nothing is bought or sold via the site). It is EU-funded andoperates as a public service/not-for-profit entity.HOWEVER: Funding does not allow for a full-time editorial team, so in order for the site to remainviable it needs to become self-sustaining to some degree – ie. users need to be persuaded to subscribeand to contribute content. It cannot remain merely a ‘free source of information’. This is alsoimportant in that if the site is to fulfill the terms of its funding it needs to become an active dynamicresource for the EXCHANGE of information between heritage professionals across Europe not merelyfor the provision of information.As such, THE SITE ITSELF IS THE PRODUCT and re-branding to take this into account is crucial.Services: Information resource for heritage professionals (news, research findings, training,education, funding, vacancies), Networking platform for heritage professionals (via in-built ‘social’ networking function), Forum for dissemination of latest research, Information resource for generalpublic and interested parties (news, research findings, links).3. Key website audiences – can you list core markets, customers groups, keystakeholders? - Practicing Heritage Professionals - Practicing Research Scientists/Academics - Those carrying out scientific and/or academic research related to cultural heritage
- Governmental and Private research bodies - Students (particularly graduate students) in areas relating to cultural heritage research - Heritage interest groups (ICOMOS, Archaeological Association etc etc) - International Organisations (EU/UN) - Academic Institutions, Training Providers, Funding Providers4. Can you identify what the website will ‘do’ for each of the listed key audiences?(e.g. Inform, provide a service, support operational activities, enable communityinteraction, process bookings) - Practicing Heritage Professionals: - Practicing Research Scientists/Academics: - Those carrying out scientific and/or academic research related to cultural heritage:Provides a forum for publishing latest research, Provides a forum for keeping up to date with latestresearch, Provides a networking platform for exchange of questions, queries, news etc, Provides newsand information about vacancies, training and funding opportunities. - Governmental and Private research bodies:Provides a forum for publishing latest research, Provides a forum for keeping up to date with latestresearch, Provides a platform for advertising vacancies, conferences, funding initiative, trainingopportunities etc. - Students (particularly graduate students) in areas relating to cultural heritage research:Provides a forum for keeping up to date with latest research, Provides a networking platform forexchange of questions, queries, news etc, Provides news and information about vacancies, trainingand funding opportunities. - Heritage interest groups (ICOMOS, Archaeological Association etc etc):Access to information about latest heritage research, heritage initiatives in other EU countries etc.Provides a networking platform for similar interest groups in various countries to exchangeinformation and ideas, Access to information about funding, conferences etc. - International Organisations (EU/UN):Provides a public forum for information about internationally funded initiatives and their outcomes(becomes a marketing tool, essentially), Provides a forum for publishing funding intitiatives,conferences etc. - Academic Institutions, Training Providers, Funding Providers:Provides a forum for publishing latest research, Provides a forum for keeping up to date with latestresearch, Provides a platform for finding/advertising vacancies, conferences, funding initiative,training opportunities etc. Allows for networking with similar organizations in other EUcountries.5. Can you summarise the key motivation behind the intended re-launch?Site is not currently user friendly. Navigation routes through the site are not clear. Unclear what thesite does and why. Lack of clear branding. Need to increase numbers using networking function.6. Can you identify and list website strengths - what do you like (or what works)most about the current website? - ‘News’ content is of high quality, up-to-date and visible instantly on home page.
- A lot of useful information all in one place (if only it was easier to navigate through!) - Networking function has great potential as a professional tool.7. What do you like least? (Please list main points of dissatisfaction and weaknesses) - Home page far too ‘busy’ - Information difficult to find and navigation not clear - Networking tool not attractively promoted - Purpose and function of site unclear - Look not that great either!8. Who are your nearest competitors and/or peers? Can you list their websites andstate what do you like/dislike about them?There are no direct competitors really – but there are lots of heritage/EU funded sites out there – thepoint of Heritage Portal being to collected all of the fragmented bits and pieces of European heritageresearch and amalgamate them all in one place… A few below as examples. There are good and badpoints to all of them. None are exactly what I want for Heritage Portal but the Europeana one isprobably closest, although even that I find quite confusing in terms of what it is and does. It’s almost like you need to already be familiar with the projects in order to find the websites useful.. which isexactly what I don’t want for heritage portal, I want the site to give you that information straight away and then lead you in to exploring all its amazingly useful features!http://www.charismaproject.eu/http://www.perpetuate.eu/http://www.europeana.eu/portal/http://www.collectionstrust.org.uk/http://www.mela-project.eu/www.dublintown.iehttp://www.theworkcycle.com/9. What feedback have your received from customers and key stakeholders?Very little yet. It’s quite new. But general consensus is on the ‘fantastic idea, needs to work better’ side. Also, ‘great content pity about the site’.Redesign Focus10.Please identify reasons for web redesign? (e.g. rebranding, new sections/pages,tech upgrade, information architecture rethink)As per questions 5 and 7 – design and navigation upgrade11. What would you consider the key objectives of your new website? (e.g. toencourage or increase online sales/bookings, deliver information and updates to thecommunity quickly) - Increase number of subscribers to site - Increase number of subscribers actively contributing content - Increase number of subscribers actively using the social networking function - Become first point of call for practicing heritage and research professionals on a whole range of different issues: latest research, funding, vacancies, training, professional queries… - Increase visibility to international and governmental bodies: Get these organizations using the site to promote their funding programmes, initiatives etc.
- Increase number of heritage interest groups using the site to network with other similar groups, explore funding options, promote conferences etc. - Increase number of graduate students using the social networking function in particular – who will then continue to use it once they finish studies and go out into the working world. - Increase visibility to non-heritage researchers, whose findings might crossover into heritage related projects.12. What words do you want people to associate with your website? (e.g. intuitive,informative, approachable, friendly)Current, informative, reliable, invaluable, indispensable, clear, straightforward, comprehensive, well-regarded, respected, connected, forward-thinking.13. Do you have any pre-existing ideas regarding the re-design in mind? (e.g. big fullscreen images, elastic layout)Lots of ideas, nothing concrete. Cleaner, more straightforward, easier to use. More image-heavy, lesstext. But form is definitely secondary to function in this instance. From a design standpoint I want theweb design company to come up with ideas that ‘wow’ us.14. New site functionality wish list (please list functionality must haves and dreamlist (e.g. content management, video, newsletter, events calendar, shop, client log inarea, blog, social API’s)A lot of this stuff we already have within the site in fact, we just need to make it easier to find andeasier to use. Tying in with external social media would be indispensable… FB, Twitter, LinkedIn,Google Plus etc… We already have a mailchimp newsletter, but a customisable RSS feed might be anidea for ‘news’ items.. Measures of Success15. What outcomes would you like to achieve with the re-design? Please list: (e.g.improved usability, higher search rankings, increased traffic, tech upgrade, betteraccessibility)See Q.11 above, but more specifically: Dramatically lower bounce rates, Increase in Subscribers,Increase in active users of social networking function, Increase in users actively contributing content,Much greater awareness of the site within the wider Heritage/Research community, internationalorganizations etc etc.