Museums and the Web 1999

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Published: March 1999.


Design Patterns for Museum Web Sites

Franca Garzotto , Politecnico di Milano, Italy
Angela Discenza , Politecnico di Milano, Italy

Session: Evaluation

The paper will present a design-oriented comparative analysis of a significant sample of museum web sites (half of which got the nomination for the "Best on the Web" Award at the "Museum and Web'97" conference). The most innovative aspect of our work is that we define design patterns [Gam95, Scw97] to represent design problems and design solutions, and compare the various sites in terms of the frequency and use of the various patterns. We distinguish among different categories of Web design patterns: structural, interaction, and lay-out patterns, and we use a design model - HDM (Hypermedia Design Model) [Gar93], to formulate design patterns in a clear and non ambiguous way. Finally, we suggest how to inspect the sites in a systematic way, using a list of abstract tasks which describe precisely what to do on the various constituents of a site [Gar98a, Gar98b] in order to discover the occurrence of the different patterns.


[Gam95] Gamma E., Helm R., Johnson R., Vlissedes J. "Design Patterns - Elements of Reusable Object Oriented Software", Addison Wesley, 1995.

[Gar93] Garzotto F., Paolini P., Schwabe D. "HDM - A Model Based Approach to Hypermedia Application Design". ACM Trans. Inf. Syst., 11 (1), January 1993.

[Gar98a] Garzotto F., Matera M., Paolini P. "To Use or not to Use? Evaluating the Usability of Museum Web Sites". Proc. of Museum and Web'98 Conference, Toronto, Canada, April 1998.

[Gar98b] Garzotto F., Matera M. "A Systematic Method for Hypermedia Usability Inspection". New Review of Hypermedia and Multimedia. In print.

[Scw97] Rossi G., Schwabe D., Garrido A. "Design Reuse in Hypermedia Application Development". Proc. of Hypertext '97, Southampton, UK, April 1997.