Preview our new web site! [new.hmns.org]

I am incredibly excited to announce that after many months of development, our new web site is finally ready for preview!

Preview the new HMNS web site!
Preview our new web site!

This is the first site redesign in 6 years. Web standards have changed drastically since our current site was launched in 2004 and we’ve done our best to take advantage of new capabilities to make the site much more easy to use.

Here are some of the key changes:

It’s smart. As more people use the site, it adjusts presentation to match user behavior.

Clearer Navigation. We’ve reorganized the categories and clarified the presentation to make it easier to find what you’re looking for.

Multiplatform compatibility. Whether you’re using a desktop, a smartphone or an iPad, you’ll see the same site.

Improved Calendar. You can search by date and filter by type of event – as well as easily access event-specific calendars, like “all upcoming lectures” from the central calendar function.

Real Time Information. The site automatically updates information in real time. New blog post? It’s on the front page right away. Interested in what’s playing in IMAX? The site shows what’s available for the rest of today, and lets you select any future date you might be interested in. It’s built to be current.

Faster Performance. Key items are cached on the server side to allow for quicker retrieval of dynamic information.

More Space! With the wider format, we have much more room to share images and information that reflect what’s going on at the Museum, and hopefully, give you a better idea of what you’re interested in checking out.

Multimedia features. Photos and videos that are related to our events and exhibitions are much easier to access and view within the new site.

Accessibility. The entire site complies with web content accessibility guidelines.

This is just the beginning – we have many more ideas for functionality on the site that we’ll be rolling out over the next year. These include (but certainly aren’t limited to):

Social integration. In the current preview, our social communities on Facebook and Twitter as well as our blog are much more easily accessible. We’re working with APIs from these, plus Flickr, YouTube and FourSquare to bring more social interactivity into the site itself, while also making it easy for you to navigate out into your favorite social networks.

Online Museum Store. Our museum store has some really unique items – from handmade, fair trade art to astronaut ice cream – and we’ll be making those available online.

What else? Check out the site and let us know how what you think it needs!

We know we haven’t thought of everything! Help us make the new site an even better experience for you: visit http://new.hmns.org to check it out.

We’re planning to replace our existing site with this new design at the end of October. In the meantime, we would love to hear your thoughts about the new design, and what we can do to make it better. You can leave a comment here or send feedback to blogadmin@hmns.org

And, just for fun – here’s what the Museum’s first web site looked like – on Dec. 12, 1997:

HMNS.org - circa 1997
Thanks for the memories, Wayback Machine.

Brandon, the Museum’s programmer – who will also be blogging more specifics on the new site soon – contributed to this post. We’re both looking forward to your feedback!

One thought on “Preview our new web site! [new.hmns.org]

  1. Looks good – one thing I might suggest, if on the calendar you have the option of saving individual events as a .ICS or .VCS file.

    One more thought: any plans on linking to the “media” server for future appearances by “Lois” (or any other celebrity flora?)

    ~EdT.

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