Our challenge was to create an engaging website for students to interact with historical objects. At the intersection between learning and play, meeting educational objectives was just as important an immersive experience. We achieved this using interactive and social elements, and encouraging children to create their own personalised online space.
As educators and cultural institutions know, making history interesting for young students isn’t easy. We worked with National Library of Australia to create a fun, educational digital experience for students to explore remarkable items from the Treasures Gallery.
A rich, engaging experience that brings history to life
Using Treasure Explorer, students and teachers contribute socially and engage with Australian history. The website encourages children and the wider public to engage with remarkable items from the Library's collection—extending the reach of the physical collection into a digital space. The visual design was targeted at children and proven through usability testing.
We created a rich educational experience for students to engage with Australian history.
- With a focus on education, we created a fun way for students to interact with history along with support for teachers’ needs.
- The digital experience extended and reinforced the physical experience of the Treasures Gallery, with interactivity, games and social features.
- The design was validated through usability testing with children, which shaped how it was used in classroom activities.
Engagement through interactivity
The interactive elements of Treasure Explorer bring objects and their significance to life. We achieved this through features such as polls and quizzes, and the ability to see items in detail through a large-scale image zoomer. A uniquely digital experience, the zoomer allows visitors to see microscopic details within photos, digitised maps and illustrations from the Library’s collection.
Capitalising on trends in the social web at the time, we created the ability for children to create their own individual online space. From uploading their own images and stories, to selecting favourite treasures. Kids can create a space they’re proud of to share with their friends. An engaging and fun experience reinforced the educational elements.
A focus on education
A challenge for this project was creating a product for students, which also met the needs of teachers. We solved this by focusing on the student experience, and creating a separate teacher section. We were competing for scarce teacher attention, so the site had to be easy for teachers to quickly and easily access the lesson plans and resources to use in classroom activities.
A digital connection to stories from our past
The website was extremely well received and launched at the public opening of the Treasures Gallery at the National Library of Australia. We were national finalists in the innovation category for the Australian Web Awards in 2012, highly commended in the prestigious MAPDA 2012
What you have done is amazing
Education manager - National Library of Australia