Hmmm. After analyzing my chosen site and the excessive number of div tags in the design. I probably should have chosen a more simple design. The site is a two column site with header and footer with embedded “panels” in the body.
Argh. I’m not going to be able to finish before class.
I did comb through a fair amount of posts from blogs that were very complicated or gave a very over simplified description of a how to. The one I feel is makes it simple and easy to understand is
http://mirificampress.com/show.php?id=106. Oddly, it’s a Christian-based web blog…who knew?
My findings were that they varied in their approach to design elements such as navigation, features and user experience. The common thread to all the sites, given that they were visual establishments, was an animation featuring current exhibitions/events.
Overall I have to site MOMA’s as the most user unfriendly site. I couldn’t find information after leaving the site and then returning. Sites varied on how information on the homepage was displayed. Some used the “fold” to determine their design and while one, The Walker Art Museum used the home page to post all their primary links. Their site actually seemed to be the easiest to use.
I would say Houston’s site would benefit the most of a redesign. From the home page, one is launched into an entire site by clicking on a featured link (collection, exhibit, school). It was confusing also since I couldn’t navigate back to the home page after jumping off.
My design focused on meeting the needs of the stakeholders while also incorporating features from the selected user personas. I tried to address Heather’s request to make the site interesting and “design-y.” I used Theresa’s request by making a specific banner to highlight kids’ events at the museum. I incorporated George’s request by trying to group all the relevant information in an easy to find layout. And alas, most importantly I created a easy to find link for members to join.
The sites I’m reviewing for a competitive analysis are the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Walker Art Center, Milwaukee Art Museum, The Museum of Fine Arts Houston and Los Angeles County Museum.
The common elements all include design that is driven by the current exhibit at the museum and all presented in a rotating images. Navigation varies whether it’s a fluid frame like Moma or a left column navagation such as Milwaukee’s.
My observation is that depending on the stakeholders of the sites and their prescribed tasks, the sites do vary in how the information is presented.