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The challenge

Our challenge was to create a new digital collection that provided people with the access and information they needed. We worked with the Museum to reimagine how the collection could become a central component of their digital change. Our solution was an engaging experience with serendipitous discovery at its heart.

Integrated collection systems

We built Collection Explorer as an engagement layer that integrates with the Museum’s collection and asset management systems. This means the public face of the collection is free to evolve separately from the underlying enterprise systems. No change is needed to robust internal systems where the original data is stored. We integrated an enterprise grade search engine platform (Apache Solr) to enable powerful search across the entire collection.

Stories to engage and educate

The Museum’s vision was to increase digital access by making historical Australian objects and their stories engaging and serendipitous to explore. The Museum competes with other forms of entertainment in both the physical and online spaces. The digital experience needed to be immersive - just like visiting the museum in person.

Project highlights

We delivered a rich, dynamic interface for desktop, mobile and tablet - integrating with existing enterprise systems.

  • Worked closely with the Museum through workshops to evolve their vision beyond expectations.
  • Used a mobile-first approach to deliver on public expectations for exploring collections on the go.
  • Created a world-class digital experience to discover the collection though both searching and browsing.

The collection in your pocket

The Museum’s vision is to make its collection of historical objects and digital assets accessible to the public. To enable this vision, we took a mobile-first approach from the outset to create a valuable and relevant experience. This delivered on audience expectation to access Collection Explorer anywhere, anytime, on any device.

Platform for future growth

The Museum's vision is for use of the digital collection to increase in the future, building on top of the platform to launch new products. This includes physical installations at locations such as the touch screen display at the Canberra Airport. The digital collection is designed to scale as the Museum’s digital collection grows.

Serendipitous discovery to enhance engagement

We created a ‘generous interface’ which purposefully breaks away from traditional search. You see items in the collection before you start searching and filtering, which creates opportunities for serendipitous discovery. Our approach was informed by research into online collection usage, and validated through protoyping and informal usability testing.

An immersive digital museum experience

The digital collection raises the profile of the National Museum of Australia as a major source of historical records. Through a delightful digital experience, people gain easy access to more items than are physically on display. This increases the relevance and impact of the Museum, ensuring its continued success into the future.

Love your work!

- Lisa Obrien

Manager - DAMS and Collection Search Project (NMA)

See where we have helped our clients

Desktop: Collection Explorer
Mobile: Collection Explorer

National Museum of Australia

Collection Explorer

A delightful online research environment aligned with audience expectations for exploring the museum's burgeoning digital collection.

Desktop: The Mint
Mobile: The Mint

Royal Australian Mint

Corporate website design

A new online experience that enhances the Royal Australian Mint's visibility as a major tourist destination.

Desktop: MasterDocs

MasterDocs

Collaborative authoring

A web-based collaborative authoring tool designed to simplify co-authoring, editing and reviewing documents in real time.

Desktop: Treasure explorer

National Library of Australia

Treasure Explorer

Evolving how we learn and engage with Australian history by curating socially contributed content from students and teachers alike.

Desktop: Lentils field guide app
Mobile: Lentils field guide app

Grains Research and Development Corporation

Lentils ute guide mobile app

A mobile resource that connects growers with the latest advice from the GRDC for a healthier industry.

Desktop: What works for kids
Mobile: What works for kids

Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth

Nest: What works for kids

Promoting evidence based practices for child and youth wellbeing, through an online community of practice connecting researchers, policymakers and practitioners.

Desktop: RiAus TV
Mobile: RiAus TV

Hostworks

RiAus TV, Australia's Science Channel

Giving Australians access to the wonders of science through engaging science-based video content on mobile and desktop.

Desktop: Alumni
Mobile: Alumni

University of Canberra

Alumni website

A visual exploration of the quality and history of UC, encouraging contributions from Alumni.

Desktop: Diaspora
Mobile: Diaspora

ACT Government

Canberra Diaspora

An immersive cultural project that crowdsources user contributed videos of stories about Canberra.

Desktop: Aus Newspapers

National Library of Australia

Australian Newspapers

User research, prototyping and usability analysis of the Library's pioneering digital exploration of historical Australian newspapers.

Desktop: Trove

National Library of Australia

Trove

Prototyping and usability analysis of the first version of the Library's federated search interface.

What we do

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