Paper Session 1: Engaging Audiences: Increasing Access and Improving Experiences

Tuesday, April 4th: 9:30am - 11:00am

Location: Auditorium

Beyond Reach: Reassessing ‘best practice’ for digital audience engagement


For many small and medium sized cultural heritage organisations, following the lead of larger institutions within the sector has been the only way to keep apace with burgeoning trends in digital audience engagement. These larger organisations tend to have the resources to ‘buy in’ appropriate technical and strategic expertise for all things digital, and so it makes sense that the case studies formed from such projects are packaged and promoted as ‘best practice’ for the sector.

Or does it?

Digital audience engagement has become markedly more important to cultural heritage organisations – and this was suddenly pushed to fore during the Coronavirus pandemic. The highlighted internally, the different levels of maturity in digital strateg

Excavating complexity to engineer delight: Qualitative research strategies and outcomes at The Met


This paper will explore a number of qualitative practices that The Metropolitan Museum of Art\’s digital product design team employs to better understand its audiences, gauge the potential impact of its products, and iterate on its existing ones. Through multiple examples of research projects, it will present our learnings around the most effective methodologies to use per audience, product type, and project lifecycle stage. The paper will also discuss the practical application of these research projects: how our learnings gave rise to digital products and guided our process of ideation, design, and iteration.


To better understand the complex range of audiences that museums typically attract, The Met recently embarked on a seri

Striving for Universal Access: Image Descriptions at the National Gallery of Art


Since the summer of 2020, more than 1,000 fully accessible textual descriptions of works of art in the National Gallery of Art’s collection have gone live, and they cover 60% of traffic to museum’s collection pages. Learn how we leveraged a large-scale, interdepartmental project to make this a reality, from documenting the process through publishing description guidelines, and focusing on all users through an inclusive design approach that supports the National Gallery’s mission for universal access.

Description is the cornerstone of scholarly interpretation, but in that context, description will be selective, and will always be in service to that interpretation. By developing a specific approach to composing descriptions for the sake of

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