For smaller institutions that are budget conscious, there are numerous free or low cost resources available to assist museums in projects related to digital presence. For resources about social media, see our Social Media and Public Relations page.
Taking Good Photographs
Incorporating images in your digital presence as an institution can help visitors before and after they visit. If we consider the studies by John H. Falk and Lynn D. Dierking, authors of the Museum Experience Revisited (2012), museum visitors may come to your website or social media accounts prior to visiting in order to get an early glimpse at what you have to offer them. Images can help orient visitors to the space, and they can serve as reminders for why the visit was pleasant, long after they have returned home.
If you want to start taking photographs of your institution, events, or people, National Geographic gathered great tips for composition, equipment, and how to move images from the camera to the computer. They offer a reminder that taking compelling images don’t have to be taken on expensive equipment. Likewise, there are 10 tips from iPhone Photography School that offer basic instructions for composition, use of symmetry, and alignment in photography.
There are a handful of great photo editing websites available. One of them is Pixlr , a platform similar to Adobe Photoshop. Likewise, Google Photos offers a simple site for users to adjust brightness, contrast, and the size of an image. If you have never used Pixlr or Photoshop previously, there are many free tutorials available to enhance your photographs. PhotoShop offers a guide for beginners here. PixlrTutorial Blog also offers a collection of tutorials, available here.
If you don’t have experience with graphic design, it doesn’t mean that using attractive icons and images is out of your reach. Consider using a resource like Canva, available as a website and as an app. Much of the program is free, though there are certain features that cost $1. Adobe offers free trials for a variety of its products, including Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.
Intelligent color choices can help influence visitors when they view your website or visit your institution. CoSchedule Blog has an in-depth guide to colors that includes color theory, and how to effectively use colors in marketing. If we break down the endless spectrum of color that is available digitally, we have a few main points to remember. For colors that are bold and stimulating, consider red, orange, and yellow. They tend to evoke strong emotional responses of love, playfulness, and even hunger. Alternatively, green, blue, and purple can stimulate feelings of natural settings, calmness, and luxuriousness.
If you aren’t sure how to utilize font styles effectively, consider this helpful guide from Branded Solopreneur. Using fonts doesn’t have to be a daunting task, and incorporating styles that match your brand as well the aesthetic of your website and printed materials can help to polish how people perceive your institution.
There are numerous website platforms that allow users to design and build their own websites. Basic use is often free, with more options available for a paid subscription. These can be used to develop your digital presence through blogs, institutional webpages, and ePortfolios.
The Sustaining Places website, as well as the University of Delaware, Museum Studies Program website are maintained through WordPress. This platform allows the web masters to have flexibility in personalizing content. If you are unfamiliar with WordPress, Pamela Wilson created a great guide to get you started.
According to WebsiteBuilderExpert both Weebly and Wix are great places to host your website. It should be noted that Weebly is perceived as more user-friendly, though it comes with fewer capabilities to modify codes. Similarly, Wix is more customizable, but changes to the template on your site will require content to be re-added after changes are made.
Another internet resource to consider is Google Open Gallery. It is a free service that helps museums manage images, videos, and audio files to create online exhibitions to reach a broader audience.
Lastly, using Tumblr is an easy way to showcase items from your collection. Tumblr has options to upload videos, text, and images in a user friendly way, while incorporating a social media platform into its blogging system. If you are involved with a special collections department, consider joining others, such as the University of Delaware, the University of Missouri, and Colgate University in uploading content.