Redesigning a website is often a long and arduous process. Re-designing a museum website is on a whole different level. From collections to retail and development to marketing, every department is a stakeholder. Aside from that, museum websites are massive. Ours has thousands upon thousands of pages which makes the idea of completely updating it slightly terrifying.
The National Museums Liverpool website hasn’t had any design work since 2012. Given that digital is one of the most agile moving industries, and in order to make sure that digital products are achieving user needs, we need to be updating them and constantly striving to do better. Our website is no different. So, with our appointed design company IGOO, we made the decision to embark on a complete redesign of our website to make sure that it is accessible for everyone and that it’s meeting all of our user needs. The first stage of this is the user research phase. To have a user-centric design you need to undertake a lot of research and speak to a lot of people in order to make sure that you’re working towards creating a website for what the user (you!) actually wants.
Some of the work we’ve done so far includes:
All of this combined data gave us a really good understanding of what people were using our website for and how they were using it, including what worked well, what they were struggling with, what we needed to change and what we were missing. From then on we begun holding stakeholder workshops with representatives from each department across the whole of National Museums Liverpool. We digested all of this data into different user personas. These are fictional representations of our visitors that help us understand our prospective users and make it easier for us to tailor content to the specific needs, behaviors, and concerns of different groups.
The website steering group in action!
We asked ourselves various questions about these imaginary people including:
What tasks are they trying to complete?
What is their ultimate goal?
How are they feeling about the experience?
What pain is the user experiencing?
Once we had this solid foundation of who we were creating the website for, we began to construct the new sitemap. A sitemap is essentially a way to show how the navigation should be structured based on what we know of how users will navigate the site. They help us identify where content will sit and what needs to be produced, as well as the language used by visitors. Moving forward, our next steps are to start working on wireframes and designs to pin down the look and feel of each section of the new website. We’re hoping to keep you in the loop as the project progresses so please let us know your thoughts about our current websites, what you would like on the new one and if you have any ideas about what content you'd like to see!