Characterising online museum users: a study of the National Museums Liverpool museum website

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Abstract

Museums are increasing access to their collections and providing richer user experiences via web-based interfaces. However, they are seeing high numbers of users looking at only one or two pages within 10 s and then leaving. To reduce this rate, a better understanding of the type of user who visits a museum website is required. Existing models for museum website users tend to focus on groups that are readily accessible for study or provide little detail in their definitions of the groups. This paper presents the results of a large-scale user survey for the National Museums Liverpool museum website in which data on a wide range of user characteristics were collected regarding their current visit to provide a better understanding of their motivations, tasks, engagement and domain knowledge. Results show that the frequently understudied general public and non-professional users make up the majority (approximately 77%) of the respondents.

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Walsh, D., Hall, M. M., Clough, P., & Foster, J. (2020). Characterising online museum users: a study of the National Museums Liverpool museum website. International Journal on Digital Libraries, 21(1), 75–87. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00799-018-0248-8

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