More than just papers, MW2004 offers a chance for dialogue
MW2004 features a variety of interactions so you can learn from the concrete experiences of others. Mini-Workshops introduce tools, methods, or techniques. Crit Rooms feature a review of museum Web sites in "real time" and testing of attendees' Web sites takes place in the Usability Lab. The performance space engages our imagination, exploring the virtual and the real.
Interactions are listed chronologically below, or you can see an overview of the program.
Focussed one-hour mini-workshop sessions are designed to introduce tools, methods, or techniques for developing, maintaining and evaluating museum Web sites.
Experienced Web designers review real museum Web sites and offer their comments in the Crit Room sessions. In this interaction, modeled on the art school critique, Web sites are volunteered in advance by MW2004 attendees, who are present to respond.
Each year Museums and the Web encourages designers, artists and performers to demonstrate and discuss how they engage museums and museum visitors using a combination of the real and virtual, The presentations involve both actual performance demonstrations and talk about such performances by individuals and groups who have recently done outstanding work. This year, we're featuring the Dialog Table.
On Friday, April 2, a "User Testing" laboratory will run all day long. The purpose of the session is to provide an opportunity for conference participants to 1) observe user testing of museum Web sites in action; 2) volunteer to participate as a user test subject and discover some of the problems users have on unknown sites; and 3) volunteer their site to be tested. We encourage people to drift in and out of the session all day long--as they move, for example, from one talk to another. Each user test will last 20 minutes or so (with time for audience comments and questions). Therefore, it will be very easy for individuals to observe and even participate in this session without having to sacrifice a large amount of time.
Mike Twidale and Paul Marty will administer the user tests. Sites to be tested would not be evaluated in advance and volunteer users would be selected at random.
Anyone can signup for a time to have their site to be tested. Volunteer user testers will be selected at random. The volunteer user will temporarily leave the room while the owner of the site describes what they consider a typical scenario of use--something the average visitor to the site would be trying to do. These scenarios will then converted into a task, which together with some randomly selected standard tasks, will be given to the user to perform during the test.
The site will be projected on a big screen for the audience to follow the user's experience. The user is then brought back into the room and we conduct a simple, low-cost, high-speed user test. Twidale and Marty will demonstrate a variety of testing techniques throughout the day--but will emphasize the thinking aloud method so that the audience can easily follow the test subject's thoughts.
After the conclusion of each test, the user, site owner, test administrators and audience will discuss briefly what was learned.