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Connecting with the past by transforming the digital present

with Imperial War Museum

Imperial War Museums Hero Image

Transforming the museum experience with a groundbreaking digital strategy and website.

Challenge

Imperial War Museums (IWM) is a family of five museums and historic sites across the UK which show how conflict has shaped the world we live in. They needed help to evaluate how effective their digital presence was, and how it could better support their strategic goals of expanding, and deepening, user engagement with their collections.

Imperial War Museums Inpage Multi Device
Imperial War Museums Inpage Multi Device

Solution

We began by undertaking an in-depth strategic and technical audit of the existing IWM digital estate. This involved meeting key stakeholders, investigating the way the existing website had been built, analysing its accessibility, and assessing its impact on the museum's brand and commercial viability.

Evidence showed IWM’s key enablers for their organisational strategy, as well as their digital capabilities and assets. However it also showed where support was needed. Gaps were identified between what IWM wanted to achieve through digital, and what their existing technology was delivering. The existing website and content management system was poorly communicating IWM’s vision, with much rich content remaining hidden from the user. Moreover, these gaps were hindering IWM’s capable internal team from achieving their goals.

Following the audit, IWM asked us to design and rebuild their website, with the vision of creating it as a groundbreaking new "sixth site", sitting alongside the museum's five physical locations. 

Imperial War Museums Inpage Hero
Imperial War Museums Inpage Hero

Impact 

Creating a deeper, broader and effortless user experience was at the heart of this project. Armed with our own expertise, and the knowledge gained from the audit, we worked with the team at IWM to design and build a new visually arresting site. Powered by Drupal 8, this easy-to-maintain platform brings to life IWM's unique collection, historic sites, and the variety of their public programme of events and exhibitions. It provides audiences with rapid access to key information, painless event discovery, and compelling stories about lives engulfed by war and the conflicts that have shaped our world.

For internal IWM users, the site enables them to surface formerly buried, compelling stories and content; it provides editors with freedom to easily create a wide range of content and place the IWM's extensive collections at the core of it. 

The bold design uses archive and original photography to convey the organisation’s distinctive visual identity.

manifesto weren't just a delivery agency in this process, but valued partners who helped shape the strategy of the site, the user experience, how we connected with audiences, and the technical delivery under the hood. This range of expertise and their ability to integrate our small team into their wider set of skills has made this project the success it has been.

Charles Bodsworth

Assistant Director, Digital Transformation, Imperial War Museums