As we know, smartphones and other mobile devices are becoming a routine part of our visitors’ lives. But did you know that more people search for travel information on their mobile devices than on their desktops? It allows them to make immediate decisions while they’re on the go, including when they’re on vacation and at your site (if visitors are looking at their smartphones while walking in the door, they may be checking your admission fees and hours, not their email). Mobile users want information fast and they’re not discriminating: they’ll look for the information about your historic site from whomever gets it to them the fastest, even if it’s not your website. That’s the latest research from Think with Google on “Travel Planning and Purchasing has Evolved on Mobile.” For historic sites and house museums, this means that you should: Continue reading
You may have spent lots of time and money refreshing your website, but how well does it actually perform on people’s desktops and mobile devices? If it’s too slow, people will give up and go elsewhere, so loading speed is important to monitor. Thanks to Google, you can test the speed of your website plus receive suggestions for improvement for free. Go to PageSpeed Insights and enter your website address. In a few seconds, you’ll receive a detailed report. EngagingPlaces.net scored 70/100 for desktop performance and if you think that’s low, I checked a couple of my client’s websites and they fared much worse. If you’d like to learn more, watch the Dotto Tech video “Episode #47: Importance of Site Speed” that explains how he redesigned his WordPress website to perform better.
If you haven’t been to Ford’s Theatre in Washington, DC in the last ten years, you’ve missed a major makeover. Not only are the chairs in the theater more comfortable, but it has dramatically updated its interpretation. An extensive interactive exhibit on Lincoln and the Civil War (including Booth’s gun!) now fills the basement. Across the street, the Petersen House (“the house where Lincoln died” and the federal government’s first historic house museum) has been joined with the adjacent office building to provide several floors of exhibits and programs. Now it’s in the midst of creating Remembering Lincoln, a new website that will commemorate the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination by collecting, digitizing, and sharing local responses from the 13 months following his death. It won’t launch until 2015, but in the meantime they are sharing their progress and most importantly, their process on a blog.
It’s essential that you know the purpose and goals with any project, but even more so when there are more than a dozen institutional partners. You’ve got to be clear about what you’re trying to achieve to keep you focused—you don’t want people pulling in different directions. To keep their eyes on the road, Ford’s Theatre developed a “product definition document” for the Remembering Lincoln website which: Continue reading