Transforming people's understanding of the world they live in through the lens of conflict.

Imperial War Museums
Strategy, User Research, Design, UX, Drupal 8
Designing and building a powerful digital platform to harness Imperial War Museums' collection and drive deeper engagement with their events.

The brief.

Deeson were asked to support Imperial War Museums (IWM) in evaluating the effectiveness of their existing digital presence in helping them meet their strategic goals. After a strategic and technical audit IWM elected to rebuild their website.

They tasked us with launching their new website as a groundbreaking "sixth site" to sit alongside the museum's five physical branches. The site needed to showcase the museum's rich content in compelling new ways.

The results.

We created a bold new website powered by Drupal 8 that is a confident declaration of what Imperial War Museums represents, and reflects the urgency and importance of the subject matter.

The visually arresting design brings to life IWM's collection, branches, and the rich variety of their public programme of events and exhibitions, enabling them to tell the fascinating stories formerly buried deep within their collection.

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Imperial War Museums website screenshot

Auditing the estate.

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 where the museum's digital offer currently was and where it needed to be to meet its strategic objectives.

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

The evidence revealed that the existing site and content management system required development. The gaps between what IWM wanted to achieve and what the technology could deliver were hindering the museum's capable internal team from achieving their goals.

Foundations phase.

The goal of the Foundations phase was to identify the best way to roll out the museum's new website. We carried out a series of activities including design days run by a UX designer to test assumptions about user behaviour, and technology workshops to develop a deeper understanding of the museum's integration requirements.

Within weeks we had a prioritised requirements list and were able to produce wireframes of key page types, provide design direction, and put forward a detailed delivery schedule.

Build approach.

Following an in-depth analysis of IWM's existing infrastructure and technical requirements, we created an inventory of technologies in use and formulated a plan for which ones we would integrate in the first phase of development.

We adopted the DSDM approach to production for this project, delivering a workable solution after each increment to be used by the client for internal testing, demonstration purposes, and content entry as appropriate. Deeson's team collaborated closely with IWM's internal designer and developer to deliver the new site.

The project was delivered as a single Drupal 8 release, replacing the existing site.

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