“The British Museum Website” Design Critique

— Improvement of floor guide map and galleries categorization—

A design critique of information design on “Library Model” — concepts based on “Inventing The Medium- Principle of Interaction Design as a Cultural Practice” by Dr. Janet H. Murray

The British Museum is one of the biggest museum in the world. Besides the complicated management of exhibition, they also manage online libraries of collections and information to engage audiences from distance.

To mark the locations of different galleries, the site adapts multiple conventions to better guide the way for visitors, including visual map, lists of galleries, and links to individual introductory pages (Fig 1a). Interactors can click on rooms on map to get gallery‘s information, or click on gallery name to find its place on the map, forming a two-way search method to access the information.

However, since there are different types and eras of collections, they can further be marked with different colors or icons to clarify their attributes at quick glance. “Chimei Museum” in Taiwan has included various icons and colors to label different types of galleries (Fig 1b), creating visually attractive and easier access to information.

Furthermore, when exploring individual gallery pages, other galleries’ links are presented on the top with plain texts (Fig 2a), which are not easy to guide through. “The Metropolitan Museum of Arts” categorizes galleries by types and provides dropdown menu to easily skip to different categories (Fig 2b).

Overall, the guiding procedure on British Museum website is clear and smooth, but the visual and interactive design can be improved for better user experiences.