Monday, March 26, 2007

Museums and Web 1.0 Lessons (i.e. Usability)

Museums & the Web 2007 - It is almost that time again. Museums and the web will be held in San Francisco April 11 - 14. (This is one blogger that is still awaiting his invitation.)

From the advanced scoop that I have heard I think this year will prominently feature the new web; second life, avatars, web 2.0, social tagging, user-generated content and taking social networking to the next level. Great quote about the conference this year: “There's a theme running through the MW2007 papers, about enabling access to museums using the technology of choice. What's intriguing is that those choices may not be as generationally bound as we are thinking. The phone / i-Pod / audio tour continuum might soon be perturbed. It doesn't seem to take very long for a medium to become 'conventional'.”

I certainly don't disagree with the idea of the narrowing technology generation gap. In fact, I have advocated for its eulogy. Still, while all the stuff mentioned abot is really "cool", what about the lessons of the old web, that forgotten Web 1.0 world? Personally I would love to hear a renewed call for usable, intuitive and mission-driven websites. Enough about services that will lead our visitors away from our sites, redefine the museum or online experience. Let's committ to getting collections online (in total) and creating indexes and services to make them actually usable. There is still a great amount of work to be done in this realm. Jakob Nielsen or Steve Krug care to take a trip to San Francisco and teach these kids a thing about websites?

9 comments:

jtrant said...

Thanks for quoting me ... and for calling me a "kid"; it does the heart good after 20 years of museum computing ;)

I think if you spend some time with the papers for MW2007 you'll find that there is lots of good 'old fashioned' concern about design, usability, sound information architecture and increased access to collections running through the conference, as well as the funky phones and other cool stuff. See the full list of papers on-line.

And if you can make it to San Francisco, drop into the day long usability lab to see live testing in action, or the Crit Room for some more heuristically-informed evaluation.

/jt

(or there's always Montreal, next year)

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