User Experience & Accessibility
The Library strives to support equitable access to all Library-managed resources, including exhibitions, and is committed to delivering user-centred designs. The goal is to create positive learning experiences and engaging exhibitions that are accessible, usable, discoverable, and searchable.
Before initiating an exhibition, it is important to consider the online content strategy. This strategy assists in organizing content and mapping the visitors’ online journey to ensure a positive user experience.
Developing a content strategy assists in planning exhibition content prior to publishing it online. It helps plan a narrative that considers the following:
- Target audience: who is this resource meant for? How can the content and digital objects connect with the target audience?
- Narrative: What story is the collection and research trying to convey? What is the purpose and objective of the exhibition? The narrative message can be identified more easily, if appropriate HTML structures, such as titles, headings, subheading, etc. are used.
- Pedagogical value: What is the educational value of the exhibition? How does it connect to other academic works and resources?
- Engagement: What designed elements of engagement (i.e. maps, visualizations, forms, surveys, etc.), if any, will be included in the exhibition?
- Navigation: what navigational menu items will help lead your site visitors along the exhibition’s narrative journey, establish credibility, and offer room for further exploration?
- As a bare minimum you should consider having menu options similar to the ones below:
- Academic resources
- More menu and sub-menu options can be included according to need.
- Mapping Connections: Prior to staging the exhibition, map connections or links between content, digital objects, themes and resources. These connections will assist in organizing the exhibition and ensuring it is more discoverable and searchable by visitors. There are several mind mapping tools that can help with this process, e.g., GitMind (a free mindmapping and brainstorming tool available for PC and Mac).
Exhibitions should not disadvantage disabled visitors to the site. Knowledge of how to design to not disadvantage continues to evolve. Some techniques, include:
- Exhibition images are accompanied by short and long descriptions. Short descriptions are used as alt-text; whereas, long descriptions offer further details. To maintain a coherent flow of information, long descriptions are normally placed on separate webpage and are accessed at the user’s discretion. See Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
- Exhibitions with videos that have audio are accompanied with captioning or written transcriptions. For more information about captioning, please see the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines for pre-recorded captions
- For audio accessibility please review the W3C Web Accessibility resources for considerations when preparing audio content
- When including PDFs in exhibitions, ensure they go through a process of optical character recognition (OCR) and tagging first. Documents in other formats such as Word, are preferred.