Announcing Live Website Evaluations

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One of our goals at SuperHelpful is to help museums make more informed and evidence-based decisions when developing their digital products.

Today, many museums seem to be making design decisions based on opinion, personal preferences, and habit. There is no user experience framework guiding their decisions; They aren’t testing their design decisions or measuring the behavioral outcomes of their choices.

This hope-for-the-best approach to design has consequences. It makes it more difficult for their visitors to complete vital tasks on their websites, like making a donation or comparing membership benefits.

In other digital environments where transactions are taking place, companies have adopted frameworks for making design decisions. They’re able to test and experiment to determine what design decisions best serve the needs of their customers and which ones best help those customers complete revenue-generating tasks on their website.

I want to demonstrate to museum decision-makers that there is a better, evidence-based way to prioritize design decisions, which is why I created Live Website Evaluations.

A Live Website Evaluation offers museums a chance to test a hypothesis, see how real first-time visitors to their museum website interact with their content, and then spend a half an hour reviewing the findings in a heuristic evaluation with me.

Let’s unpack that a bit.

Have you sat in that meeting where someone says, “When I worked at Museum X, we had a big flashing “DONATE NOW” button hovering in the middle of every page of the website. Some people donated through the website during the ten years I worked there. Let’s do that on our website.”

Yes, I’m exaggerating for effect, but this is often where design ideas come from. Someone says, “This is how we did it elsewhere” or “This is what so-and-so is doing”, and whether that suggestion gets implemented or not often depends on how influential that person is within the organization.

It would be better if museums treated design ideas as hypotheses to be tested, but, as data-driven as many museums are, they don’t seem to treat design ideas as fodder for testing all that often.

Here are some examples of design hypotheses that a Live Evaluation can help answer:

  • Website visitors can’t easily find how to register for event x
  • It’s easy to compare membership benefits
  • The donation process is pretty intuitive
  • The carousel on the homepage lets us show people more information
  • Registering for summer camp is easy
  • Social media icons help us get more followers

The first step in a Live Evaluation is to complete a short questionnaire. One of the goals here is to uncover one core hypothesis (assumption) that museums decision-makers have about their website. Another is to find out what online activities generate the most revenue for the organization.

I then use that information to test the client’s website with real people and evaluate the website.

Once the testing and review are complete, I create a report, which I publish along with the unedited recordings of the user tests to a private webpage. Clients receive a private login to review the report and videos, which are available for at least 60 days.

Next, we meet over a half-hour video call to review the findings in detail and discuss which design changes on the website will have the most positive impact on user experience and revenue.

The client receives a list of actionable recommendations that they should be able to complete in a relatively short amount of time, using the resources they have today. And they should have a measurable impact on visitors’ ability to complete critical tasks on the website.

I’m offering complimentary Live Website Evaluations for museums and cultural organizations through June 30th. After that this will be a paid service.

Request an evaluation

Questions about Live Website Evaluations? Feedback on what you’ve read here? Don’t hesitate to reply to this email.

Thanks for reading,


PS. One other service I’m exploring right now is an Analytics Rescue. You can learn more about Analytics Rescues and join the waiting list here.