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Tate Modern Case Study. The purpose of this research is to analyze the use of museum websites by the visitors and how important is the presence on the Web to offer the audience a satisfying experience.

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Introduction

´╗┐ABSTRACT This study seeks to provide an understanding of the use of the Internet technology in museums. In the last few decades museum have placed renewed emphasis on education and access, with the goal to make their institution more relevant, inclusive and valuable to society; places for debates and learning resources for communities. In this context the Internet have a vital role to play, it has a great potential to serve the challenges faced by art institutions in relation to access and audience development. In 2001, Bellido (2001: 231- 232) listed the advantages of museums' appearing on the Internet, as the ability to offer information at anytime and place in the world, or the capacity for a museum to update its own contents without depending on graphic design companies (brochures, posters, etc.), along with the advantages of including multiple multimedia resources (text, image and sound) which can be offered to users around the world. The Tate website acts as case study, providing an excellent example of museum Web Site. Members of the public and professionals have been questioned about their relationship with museums and the value and use of the online interface. PROJECT DEFINITION AND RESEARCH OBJECTIVES This study presents results from a research designed to explore the relevance of the presence of art institutions in the World Wide Web. The Tate website is considered one of the best site in the field, with over a million views a year. But why people visit the Tate website? How does it excel compare to other museum website and what?s the impact on the audience development plan of the institution? In this research the aims are to: Look at the reason why people visit the website. Look at how often museum goers visit museum website. Investigate the characteristics of online museum visitors. Find out what are the online visitors looking for on the website. Explore the benefit from the use of the website. ...read more.

Middle

Aesthetics should also be included in the design of museum websites because museums are supposed to be beautiful places, so, by transference, visitors will also expect their websites to be beautiful. Forbes (1941) asserts that museums should provide aesthetic experiences to the public in order to enhance learning. He also argues that art museums are the most concerned with aesthetic issues; their chief role is to display beauty to visitors. ?To be effective the museum must bring beauty to buildings, their exteriors, their interiors and contents? (Forbes 1941, p. 6). Supporting this view, Lin and Gregor (2006) interviewed five museum experts who consider appearance (colors, text, images) to be one of the most important criteria to enhance enjoyment of learning on museum websites. Indeed, museum websites tend to be very colorful: hot colors such as orange, yellow or red are commonly used. 3.METHODOLOGY The purpose of this research is to analyze the use of museum websites by the visitors and how important is the presence on the Web to offer the audience a satisfying experience. A case study had to be chosen to limit the research, the Tate Modern, with its award-winning website seemed to be an appropriate case. The methods used in this research were in depth interviews with museum professionals and semi-structured interviews with the public. These methodologies enabled me to collect quantitative data as well as qualitative at the same time. At Tate Modern fifty semi-structured interviews were conducted to members of the audience during the first week of May (Tuesday 8th 2010, Wednesday 9th 2010, Thursday 10th 2010 and Friday 11th 2010) during the afternoon hours, between 14.00pm and 16.00pm). The respondent were obviously restricted to people who already were interested in arts in general, (being visitors of the gallery) and to those who have decided to answer the questions. At that time the museum hosted, as well as the permanent collection, the exhibit ?Exposed Voyeurism, Surveillance and the Camera?. ...read more.

Conclusion

the site might be interesting to explore, the 14% responded they were looking for special events and exhibits and only the 11% responded they were looking for a particular artwork. These data are strongly in contrast with the survey result of the study of Kate Goldman on different American museum, where in the majority of the cases ?planning a trip? was the main reason for visiting museum websites. The interviews? results showed that users normally find what they are looking for on the Tate Web Site, usability is considered very important and, as explained by Pavlou and Fygenson, it is essential characteristic to enable users to acquire information. Of the people interviewed only seven have ever made a contribution to the Web Site. When interviewed twenty-eight out of fifty stated that they would not feel comfortable in making a piece or sharing their ideas on the online interface. Another important finding is that although most of the people would describe a museum website as ?electronic brochures?, a ?marketing tool? or a ?series of beautiful pictures?, the majority of the respondents said they learned something new when accessing it, an important result if seen alongside the previous accusations. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION In summary, in this study I tried to explore some factors and behaviour related to the Tate online museum visit. The Web Site is part of the audience Development plan of the museum network and it seems to reflect perfectly the aims of the museum. The respondents of the interviews produced data to achieve the objectives stated, however the lack of relevant previous research on the specific subject did not permit a proper analysis of the findings. The Tate Web Site is well used by a great number of people with different needs, although its unquestioned quality issues around interactivity and communication with the public aroused. Certainly, this study suffered from limitations such as the low response rate. It would be desirable to replicate this study or do a study under slightly different conditions. ...read more.

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