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British Museum

Unlocking a digital journey through history: a transformative website redesign for the world's first public national museum.

The British Museum has an extensive collection of over eight million artefacts, spanning two million years of human history and civilisation. As the world's first public national museum, it welcomes an incredible six million visitors each year. In the digital sphere, the museum's reach is extraordinary, attracting millions of online visitors from more than 260 countries.

Challenge

The British Museum needed a new website to enhance the user experience, creating an engaging digital platform that resonated with their offline identity, and presenting their vast collection in an organised, accessible, and intriguing way. The previous website failed to handle the influx of online visitors, resulting in reduced engagement and potential losses in online donations and patronage. This is a challenge we have addressed for various other clients, including the Science Museum Group, drawing upon our extensive experience in digital transformation projects for museums and cultural institutions.

Exhibition

Approach

We embarked on this project with a technical overhaul that included the introduction of our in-house Drupal Install Profile. This system enabled us to work efficiently and cost-effectively, delivering an exemplary website at about a third of the cost of other competitive tenders. We also focused on design and branding, striving to extend the museum's distinct brand identity into the digital realm. This involved a thorough design prototyping process that led to the creation of a flexible, component-based solution, successfully balancing imagery and information.

In collaboration with the British Museum, we conducted rigorous testing and validation to ensure the new website was user-friendly, engaging, and aligned with the museum’s aspirations.

Collections

Results

The launch of the new website, especially the museum's online collections platform, coincided with the global pandemic. This timely launch led to an unprecedented surge in user engagement, reaching millions of people worldwide who were eager for enriching educational content they could access remotely. Following the launch of the new website, we have seen some impressive results:

  • International traffic has increased by 27% demonstrating the ability for the new website to attract users from around the world.
  • New users visiting the site via Google search has increased by 13% demonstrating the efficacy of the search engine optimisation we put in place.

Visit the British Museum's website

"We selected Numiko to design and build our new website from a very competitive field, based on their excellent track record and value for money. They lived up to this and more, and working with them has been as much a partnership as a client supplier relationship. At each stage of the project Jaron, Dan and the team have worked closely with our design, product and content teams. They were proactive in suggesting solutions to tricky problems and in handling our internal stakeholders successfully. The resulting website, launched on time and to budget, definitely meets our key words of “Welcoming, elegant, dynamic and authoritative”, and has been extremely well received by visitors, stakeholders and the wider museum staff and our peers."

Michael Tame, Website Programme Manager, British Museum
Gallery slice

"Collection Online is a fantastic achievement! I love using it and get a lot of positive feedback from many different people. It’s such an exciting and encouraging step forward that we can now share the collection with our digital visitors and friends. So once again congratulations, and a huge thank you to everybody who has made this possible."

Hartwig Fischer, Director, British Museum