Museum websites look more professional, than they did a decade ago. Now most are well designed and aesthetically pleasing, but recently I’ve started to think that museum websites are starting to look rather bland.
Is it possible for a museum website to look too polished? Shouldn’t we have more fun with the way we present ourselves online? Those questions were inspired by a brilliant presentation by Ling Valentine, the ‘boss of Ling’s Cars’.
The Ling’s Cars website is unique, incredibly memorable and pretty ugly, but it works brilliantly for the business. Because while their competitors look bland, her website screams personality.
Ling doesn’t try to appeal to everyone, knowing that some visitors to her website will be turned off by the design. But ‘they’re boring, and I’m not interested in talking to boring people.’ Ling says. She is happy to be memorable rather than instantly forgettable like her competition.
Ling says that websites are competing with entertainment websites such as YouTube and we must give people fun ‘so that they will stay on your website and tell other people about it’.
So should museum websites be ugly? No, but they could learn a lot about personality from Ling. Most museums are full of interesting stories, inspiring collections and exciting exhibitions. That needs to be communicated through their websites.
To achieve that they need to think a lot more about personality, and a lot less about what other museums are doing online.
What do you think the museum sector can learn from Ling’s Cars?