The External Uses and Benefits for a Mobile Museum CMS

Rachael Cristine Woody

Rachael Cristine Woody

October 14, 2020

In last week’s post “The Future is Here: Why Your Museum CMS Must be Mobile” we covered mobile site functionality, the three ways a mobile museum Collections Management System (CMS) can be offered, and statistics that demonstrate our continual progress toward a mobile-only future. This week we’re focusing on the external use cases of a mobile site and the benefits of offering the museum CMS on a site optimized for mobile display.

External Uses for a Mobile Museum CMS

Mobile use and mobile-only internet use have steadily increased over the last decade. But what does that look like for museums specifically? Museum patrons are using mobile devices to visit the collections, plan a visit, make purchases, and donate. A mobile CMS experience can provide education, enrichment, and enjoyment opportunities for the museum online visitor—just as in-person visitation does.

Activities Performed on a Museum Mobile Website

  • Plan a trip (check location, hours, and current exhibits)
  • Buy entry tickets, membership, special event tickets
  • Make a donation

According to Nonprofit Source data from 2018: 1 in 4 donors used a mobile device to discover nonprofits they were previously unaware of, and 25% of donors completed their donations on mobile devices. Having a good museum mobile website experience is critical in both attracting new visitors and capturing donations.

For more on how museum income streams are dependent on the museum website and CMS please see my previous post on Lucidea’s Think Clearly blog: Museum Online Presence: Critical to Income Stream.

Activities Performed on a Mobile Museum CMS Site

  • Supplement or inform their in-person visit by viewing digital collection content
  • Visit virtually in place of an in-person visit
  • Browse collections
  • Research collections

Currently, there’s limited data specific to museum CMS mobile access. However, a review of general mobile use statistics from sources like Pew Research, paired with your museum’s CMS statistics, will demonstrate an increase in people using their mobile devices. When we think about CMS usability, we need to make sure mobile-usability receives equal time and consideration.

External Benefits from a Mobile Museum CMS

At-a-glance, these are the benefits of a mobile museum CMS for an external audience:

  • Delivers a more enriching experience
  • Supports on-demand culture consumption
  • Encourages virtual visits and collection use
  • Facilitates easy information delivery
  • Lowers barriers to donate, buy, and connect

Understand and Meet Digital Visitor Expectations

At the end of the day, digital visitors expect the museum website and CMS to deliver the same user experience they’re used to from social media channels and e-commerce sites. Navigation needs to be intuitive, content presented seamlessly, and information easy to find. If you’re struggling to intuit what the digital visitor wants or how they may engage with the museum site, consider your own digital visitor expectations.

For more on museum site usability and the digital visitor experience please see my previous posts on Lucidea’s Think Clearly blog: Museum Digital Collections User Types & Expectations, The Top 4 Things a Museum Needs to Know About the Digital Visitor, and 5 Methods to Improve the Museum Digital Experience.


With education, cultural enrichment, connectedness, and money all dependent on the quality of the museum’s digital presence, it’s of critical importance that we deliver a user experience that encourages use. If the museum website and CMS isn’t delivered in a way that’s optimized for mobile use, countless digital visitors, potential consumers of content, potential buyers, and potential donors will be turned away—dissuaded from engaging by cumbersome formats. 

For more on how to maximize the value of your CMS, please get your free e-copy of my book: How to Select, Buy, and Use a Museum CMS, courtesy of Lucidea. 

Rachael Cristine Woody

Rachael Cristine Woody

Expert Rachael Cristine Woody advises on museum strategies, collections management, and grant writing for a wide variety of clients. Register here for the next webinar in Rachael’s series on Collections Management System Essentials for Impact on 10/21/20, where she’ll expand on topics related to a mobile-enabled CMS. And learn about Lucidea’s Argus solution for museum collections management.

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