In the fall of 2006, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and Walker Art Center embarked on a large-scale redesign of their highly acclaimed Web site, ArtsConnectEd. Since its launch in 1998, ArtsConnectEd had become a core resource for K-12 educators and their students, serving well over a million users per year.
Despite its accomplishments, museum educators eventually wanted better tools for adding new content, creating links between assets, and managing their relationships with ArtsConnectEd’s audiences. Coupled with new opportunities provided by Web 2.0 technologies, the redesign project aimed to redefine how on-line educational resources are developed and managed. The new site, internally referred to as ArtsConnectEd2, is an open source, highly flexible environment with audience-specific toolsets for building, sharing, and managing internal and external user-generated content.
This paper will provide an overview of the research, design, and development strategies employed in the creation of ArtsConnectEd2, particularly focusing on the roles and products of the internal, cross-institutional, and external collaborative teams. Extensive project research generated a unique set of requirements which illuminate new expectations for museums, staff roles, and technology, all applicable to any museum interested in developing a similar resource.
Keywords: K-12 education, collaboration, user generated content, standards, redesign, usability