Mike suggested 10 good habits for museums to get into when it comes down to thinking, showcasing and engaging with online collections. I always like Mike’s presentations because there are always handy lists and graphs. Two of my favourite things.
Be less museum and more audiency
Mike advocated for talking to your visitors – whether that is face to face, via the website or via social media. Just talk to them find out what they like, what they want to know about objects and where they want the content
Understand the importance of Google
Whether you love or hate Google, it is the main search engine that the visiting public use to access museum content. Ultimately on the web, visibility is authority. Mike’s provocation was that if museum objects can’t be found on Google, they are invisible to the world. Going on to suggest if museum objects are invisible then there is no point in them being online. This produced lots of discussion on Twitter about how true this is – I’m a little bit on the fence. Mike discussed SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and provided details of a handy SEO starter guide.
Social/ Sociable objects
Let museum objects be the engines of socially networked experiences. The hook around which conversations happen. Sociable objects online are those that allow users to easily interact with them and with other people. Mike also advocated for objects having a clear call to action.
Not just “Fire and Forget”
Digital is iterative, be continuously thinking about what and who your online collection is for, and how you measure success.
Focus on Stories
Stories should be drillable. Build a environment where museum object stories can evolve.
Make informed tech choices
Unfortuantely technologies can’t be second guessed, but don’t be afraid to ask about formats, costs, standards and risks. Also ask for help when you need it. Mike discussed the MCG email list as a good place to go to for help and support.
Knowing what users do
Measure everything you can. Some questions that museums should be able to answer. What do people do with your objects? Which is the most popular? and why?
Do less, better
There is a disconnect between what audiences and museums and funders want. Museums & funders want a large quantity of object records online, whereas users want high quality object records with pictures.
Don’t be afraid of marketing
Be visual, designed and playful
I ran out of brain space for points 9 & 10 but the slides can do the talking for me.