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Imperial War Museums

Showcasing stories of conflict.

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Transforming views of conflict through powerful digital experiences.

The brief.

Deeson helped Imperial War Museums understand their route to digital excellence before designing and delivering a visually compelling and easy-to-maintain website that showcases and deepens engagement with the museums' unique collection.

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The challenge.

Imperial War Museums (IWM) is a family of five museums and historic sites which show how conflict has shaped the world we live in. They needed help evaluating the effectiveness of their existing digital presence and determining how digital could better support their strategic goals.

After engaging Deeson to perform a strategic and technical audit of their digital estate, IWM tasked us with rebuilding their website as a groundbreaking new "sixth site" sitting alongside the museum's five physical locations. The aim was to combine design and technology to expand and deepen engagement with IWM's rich collection.

The results.

Following an in-depth audit of IWM's digital capabilities and assets which revealed key enablers of the organisation's strategy, Deeson worked as an extension of the internal team to design and build a new website powered by Drupal 8.

A confident projection of the Imperial War Museums brand, the visually arresting site brings to life IWM's unique collection, historic sites, and the variety of their public programme of events and exhibitions. The easy-to-maintain platform enables them to surface the fascinating content and compelling stories formerly buried deep within thei

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Identifying new opportunities in digital.

Deeson kicked off the project with an in-depth audit of IWM's existing web estate. The goal of the audit was to identify the gap between the museum's current digital offer and where it needed to be to support and enable their strategic objectives.

During the audit we met with key stakeholders, performed analysis on the accessibility of the current website, thoroughly investigated the way it had been built, and assessed the impact it was having on the museum's brand and commercial viability.

The evidence revealed that the gaps between what IWM wanted to achieve through digital and what their existing technology could deliver were hindering the organisation's capable internal team from achieving their goals. The existing website and content management system poorly communicated IWM's vision and ensured that much of the museums' rich content remained hidden away.

Laying the foundations for digital excellence.

Next we set out to identify how to best serve the needs of the museums' digital audiences by testing existing assumptions about user behaviour and developing a deeper understanding of the technologies that would need to integrate with the new site.

Day-long workshops run by a UX designer and in-depth technological surveys helped us build a prioritised list of requirements for the new site, following which we were able to produce wireframes of key page types, provide design direction, and put forward a detailed delivery schedule. Working closely with IWM's internal designer and developer, using Agile methodologies to enable collaboration and maintain a high velocity of work, we delivered the new site as a single Drupal 8 release.

Enabling effortless user experiences and compelling content.

The high-performance website accelerates Imperial War Museums' digital journey through bold design. Making optimal use of archive and original photography, and exacting, minimalist composition, it authentically conveys the organisation's distinctive visual identity.

The site provides editors with the freedom to easily construct a wide variety of content, helping them place the IWM's extensive collections at the core of the experience. It continues to delight 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.

Deeson 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 at Imperial War Museums

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