Building Advocacy into Website Redesign

Laura Hoffman, USA

As the Digital Media Specialist at the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA), I played a significant role in the development of the museum’s website redesign, which launched in April 2012. The redesign was a complete transformation—the old site was built from an outdated proprietary platform while the redesigned open-source Drupal site is interactive and user-friendly.

I now work with a very small web team to coordinate both short and long-term web strategy, integrate e-commerce, multi-channel fundraising, and social media in the past year. As we near the first anniversary of the website’s launch, the site has already won two awards, the Web Marketing Association’s 2012 Best Arts Website and a Silver Davey Award for cultural institutions.

Last spring, I was accepted into the Smithsonian Institution’s Education Innovators Program, in which I developed the “Advocate” section of the website—a new mission-based initiative for the redesign. I created and evaluated a page of facts about the gender inequalities in the arts, online challenges that test users’ knowledge of women artists, resources for artists nationally and internationally, and ways for users to get involved.

I will share my experience with the website redesign and launch, including best practices and applications for other institutions. I look forward to discussing my user-centered viewpoint with the museum web community, as well as how to gain institutional buy-in and establish website and social media strategy with a focus in advocacy.