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Layla Masri and Emily Grossman, Pimp My Website: Tech Tools to Redesign and Reinvigorate Museum Websites on a Budget
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Layla Masri and Emily Grossman, Pimp My Website: Tech Tools to Redesign and Reinvigorate Museum Websites on a Budget


A presentation from Museums and the Web 2009. …

A presentation from Museums and the Web 2009.

While there’s been a lot of excitement about new audience-engaging technologies such as Flickr, YouTube, Facebook and SecondLife, most museums simply don’t have the staffing or budgets to constantly create new sites, games and functionality.

However, many institutions DO have a wealth of legacy, evergreen content that is still popular but may not have aged gracefully in terms of browser compatibility, design and support of social networking features or multimedia. How do they keep them alive – and augment them – with the advent of new technologies, browsers and platforms?

All museums are looking for ways to stretch Web and marketing budgets as well as maximize staff time. By showcasing enhancements and upgrades to existing sites and functionality using tech tools that are readily available, easily implementable and free (or extremely inexpensive), museums of any size or focus can not only keep their existing content relevant, but also feature the latest and greatest without a complete site overhaul.

Mini-Workshop: Redesign: Reinvigorating Existing Site [Mini-Workshop]

Published in Technology , Design
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  • 1. Pimp My Web Site: Tech Tools to Redesign and Reinvigorate Museum Web Sites on a Budget by Layla Masri and Emily Grossman April 17, 2009
  • 2. What’s changing and where are we going?
    • The good
    • Social media on the rise
    • Redesign attracts attention
    • User-generated content encourages more web visitors
    • The bad
    • Current state of economy
    • Museum donations down, postponing exhibits
    • The ugly
    • Rising costs to redesign museum website
    • Smaller museums may not be able to afford costs for a full redesign
  • 3. New Solutions
    • Many cost-effective ways to make changes
      • CSS based changes/redesign
      • Sharing tools for content distribution
      • Social networking tools/user-generated content
    • Changes with the largest ROI are best
      • Free/low cost
      • Adds to and encourages community involvement
      • Easy/fast to implement
  • 4.
    • Key to understanding the icons
    New Solutions Free One time/yearly cost <= $100 Over $100 Less than 30 mins 30 mins to 1 hour Over 1 hour Limited Moderate Complete Cost Implementation time Community Involvement
  • 5. Redesign
    • CSS is key to inexpensive and fast “redesign”
    • Allows updating of site look without having to modify pages
    • Retains all currently existing content/site architecture
    • Ideal requirements for a distinctly new design include:
      • External stylesheets
      • Few/no in-line style attributes
      • Majority of the layout cannot be table-based
      • Styling “hooks”
  • 6. Case Study: The Museum of Russian Art (TMORA)
  • 7. Case Study: The Museum of Russian Art (TMORA)
  • 8. Case Study: The Museum of Russian Art (TMORA)
  • 9. Case Study: The Museum of Russian Art (TMORA)
  • 10. Case Study: The Museum of Russian Art (TMORA)
  • 11. Case Study: The Museum of Russian Art (TMORA)
  • 12. Case Study: The Museum of Russian Art (TMORA)
    • CSS refresh has REAL advantages:
    • 1/4 of typical redesign cost
    • 1/3 of typical redesign time
  • 13. Content Sharing Options
    • Over 65% of web traffic is for social networking
    • Shared content increases its value, builds branding & boosts search engine ratings
    • Most options are very quick to set up and easy to maintain by novices
  • 14. Content Sharing Options
    • People want to share things! Give them lots of avenues to do so:
      • RSS
      • Distribution
      • Widgets
      • Image and video slideshows
  • 15. Content Sharing Options : RSS
    • Quickly push out content to keep visitors in touch with your institution
    • Accessible through a variety of devices (phones, other sites, desktop)
    • Quick to set up and easy to maintain
  • 16. Content Sharing Options : RSS
    • Services:
      • Feedforall: one time 40$ fee
      • Ponyfish: varies, free to 60$/yr
  • 17. Example: Ponyfish RSS Admin Feed outputs
  • 18. Content Sharing Options: Distribution
    • Page-level tools to allow visitors to share content across blogs, social networks and e-mail
    • Brings traffic back to your site to increase site popularity and enhance search engine ranking
    • Provide metrics and analysis to see how content spreads
  • 19. Content Sharing Options: Distribution
    • Services:
      • AddThis: free, multi-language support
      • ShareThis: free, customized setup
      • AddToAny: free, share and subscribe plus tied into Google Analytics
  • 20. Example: AddThis Distribution Tool
  • 21. Content Sharing Options: Widgets
    • Pull and push real-time content from 3 rd party sites without manual updates
    • Examples: countdown clock, timer, calendar, banner ads and videos
    • Create updatable exhibit ads, collections news and events listings for your museum site that can also publish to other sites
  • 22. Content Sharing Options : Widgets
    • Services:
      • Clearspring: free, leader in widget development, stats, 80+ social networking sites access
      • Widgetbox: free, very similar to Clearspring
      • Widgenie: free to 50$/month, widgets can contain imported data and be further customized with pay service
  • 23. Example: Clearspring widget admin
  • 24. Example: Clearspring widget
  • 25. Content Sharing Options : Image Slideshows & Video
    • Showcase collections, event happenings, tours of physical spaces and other important visual museum elements
    • Challenge – balance sharing with upholding museum branding within external image/video tools
    • Solution – use tools that allow direct embedding of assets on your site
  • 26. Content Sharing Options : Image Slideshows & Video
  • 27. Example: Flickr Pictobrowser Image Slideshow
  • 28. User-Generated Content and Community
    • Engage and enlarge your audience by giving them a sense of identity and ownership:
      • Interact with online and physical visitors
      • Raise awareness of mission, collections, events
      • Connect with members and event attendees
      • Build appreciation for collections and curatorial niche
  • 29. User Generated Content and Community
    • Social Networking Platforms:
      • KickApps: free includes ads, 100$-300$ monthly removes ads
      • Ning: free, similar to KickApps, integrates with Facebook, event calendars
  • 30. Case Study: Ning site example
  • 31. Case Study: Ning site example
  • 32. Case Study: Ning site example
  • 33. User-Generated Content and Community
    • Embedded Social Networking Features:
      • Google Friend Connect free, commenting/ranking tool and community membership
      • Kampyle free, content ratings and feedback management
  • 34. Case Study: Google Friend Connect
  • 35. Case Study: Google Friend Connect
  • 36. Before you start pimpin’ …
    • Technology should fit the needs of the project
    • Explore and test user needs and pick tools that cater to them
    • Aim for low cost/high return on investment
  • 37. Questions?
    • Presentation Resources and Links: mw.beancreative.com
    • Layla Masri Emily Grossman
    • [email_address] [email_address]
    • (703) 684-5845 ext. 201 (703) 684-5845 ext. 205