09 June 2009

New Australian Museum website

Australian Museum home page
Have you seen the new Australian Museum website?


(New URL, too; www.austmus.gov.au and www.amonline.net.au now redirect to it.)

It has an interesting What's on functionality: Tabs for different audience types: "General", "Kids", "Under 5s", "Teachers", "Members", "Tourists", with exhibitions, (permanent) displays, events and tours listed together.

All 'end-pages' (that is, pages with content, as opposed to links to content) have 2 buttons: "Add comment" and "Add tags" right after the page heading (you have to be registered with "My museum" to use them) and many of them have the name of the person who wrote them (eg: http://australianmuseum.net.au/Australian-Museum-Palaeontology-Collection), linked to a brief staff profile and a form to contact that person.

That last URL reveals an interesting fact about the site: despite the fact that I got to the page by clicking 'Minerals & fossils' > 'More about Fossils' (reveal) > 'Fossils' > 'More about Fossils in the Australian Museum Collections' (reveal) > 'Australian Museum Palaeontology Collection' (yes, 5 clicks!), the URL shows no hierarchy. The CMS apparently serves every page as though it is in the root directory. The advantage is that URLs are shorter than they otherwise would be but still very readable (a boon for search engines), but a disadvantage is that it obscures the context of the page.

But I have a problem with the "expandable links". Eg: About us:
Try to find out "More about Our Organisation"... It's not a link! You have to click the tiny red plus button, to reveal the sub-topics.

Still, overall, it's a very engaging site, full of opportunities to explore, contribute and be involved.