We were approached by The State Library of Queensland (SLQ) to develop an interactive online experience to commemorate the First World War as part of the Anzac Centenary initiative. The library holds a catalogue of over 10,000 assets relating to the first world war, from photographs and newspaper scans to personal diaries and letters. SLQ wanted to expose all of these assets to the public in an engaging and interesting way – to solve this problem, we were invited to submit proposed ideas as part of a competitive pitch.
An innovative and fresh approach was developed to showcase thousands of images from the library’s archive with the added ability to navigate back and forth through an interactive timeline, moving through different dates, categories, and related imagery. Managing thousands of images and delivering a performant experience required the JSA development team to create a completely new code workflow to dynamically generate image thumbnails in large numbers and serve them quickly. Users were also able to create a profile and curate their own collection of images to view and share with others.
We also helped SLQ craft a number of personal stories from the diaries and letters of real Queenslanders that experienced the war. These memoirs were brought to life through a series of audio reads by professional voice talent. Thousands of pages from these memoirs were also made available from transcripts and images of pages from the original source material. Users were also invited to browse through a full library of soldier portraits with the capability to search on a family name to find a relative that went to war.
The experience was fully re-engineered to deliver a touch screen experience on-site at SLQ. Two portrait 84″ touch screens allowed users to explore seven Featured Queenslanders while a large, nine screen video wall enabled browsing of the full library image archive.
The experience launched to critical acclaim, winning a number of global web industry awards. Site statistics have been hugely impressive; average visitation time currently sits at over 3 mins and the site racked up an impressive 45,000 sessions in its first two months. The site is expected to become an accompanying part of the school curriculum, enabling children to create profiles and curate image collections around specific themes. The on-site activation has seen high levels of engagement with over 5000 interactions registered since launch.