Planning Kit for a Quality Site for Small and Medium Sized Museums

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This project grew from the working group WP5 Italia “Identification of user needs and quality criteria for common access” in the Minerva Project. It was realised by the study Commission for the creation of a prototype for public cultural web sites. This prototype is to be used as a reference model by small and medium sized museums intending to create a Web site.

The technical realisation of this model follows the guidelines contained in the Handbook for Quality in Cultural Web Sites and the European principles for quality in a cultural Web site, both of which were defined by the European MINERVA project.

There are 22 requisites for accessibility as defined in the Study on the guidelines for technical requirements and the various levels of accessibility and the technical methods for verifying accessibility. This is considered the technical base for the decree issued on 8 August 2005, according to italian law n. 4 of 9th January 2004; Instructions to favour disabled access to digital tools (c.d. Legge Stanca). The site is in XHTML 1.0 with templates.

In full respect of the rules of accessibility, the structure of the site allows for browsing of contents independently of the type of technology used. It can be navigated via assistive technologies and the characters can be enlarged. The graphics of this prototype were set using tones of grey and are deliberately “neutral”. Users can thus adapt the prototype to the specific graphic requirements of their on-line museum. The explanatory text in the prototype is didactic in nature and intended as a guide to practical application of the prototype.

Museum and Web is organised into four parts:

  • “Structure and Contents of the Prototype”:
    This contains indications for organisation of the contents and services, in addition to numerous examples of both Italian and foreign sites (the examples are listed by virtue of content, whether or not the site respects the norms of accessibility). Some aspects of the prototype are linked to specific problems that emerged during the experimental phase of the Handbook for Quality in Cultural Web Sites. In particular, it addresses the exploitation of data bases through Web sites and the possibility of publishing multimedia contents (such as Flash animations) in html, evaluating to what extent the rules of accessibility are respected in these cases;
  • "Tutorial":
    This offers suggestions for construction of Web pages according to the rules of accessibility and usability and gives practical information on architecture, management, inter-operability, copyright, multilinguism etc;
  • "Quality Control":
    This gives practical tools for evaluating the applicability to the specific web site to be created;
  • " Models":
    There are three downloadable models: a home page, two other pages of a site and the templates.

© Minerva Project 2005-02, last revision 2005-10-07, edited by WP5, Committee for the development of a prototype of public cultural websites.
URL: www.minervaeurope/structure/workinggroups/userneeds/prototipo/museoweb_e.html