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The National Archives case study

The brief

The National Archives is guardian of a large collection of rare heritage designs, which form part of over 11 million historical government and public records. For a long time it hasn’t been possible to access these designs online and The National Archives wanted to open up the collection to today’s designers to inspire new and exciting works.

Bright Interactive was asked to develop a solution to showcase the designs and allow people to subscribe for access to over 1,000 heritage pieces. We were happy to help, and together formed a joint development team—The National Archives looking after front end design and build, with Bright Interactive building the technical application and a subscription-management service to power the site.

The approach

Using Agile sprints, the team set about incrementally designing, building and testing the different elements of the site. The budget for the project was fixed, but the scope of items to be built was flexible and the team could adjust and adapt to build the features that were most needed. Using this approach of constantly learning, rapid feedback and re-prioritisation, we developed an efficient and expert solution that delivered all the key features that The National Archives and their users would really need.

“The open and Agile partnership with Bright Interactive allowed us to get maximum value from our budget and to really prioritise the features that our users needed.”Emma Allen, Project Lead at The National Archives

The Design Collection

TNA Screenshots 

This partnership approach with continuous communication made the most of our teams’ collective expertise. Bright Interactive brought extensive experience with image management, multi-tenancy SaaS applications, and eCommerce to create a robust and easy-to-use system. This powerful application is supported by a high impact design and simple user journey—created by The National Archives—making the site engaging and easy to use.  

The impact

The result of this collaborative project is a beautiful and impactful site where users can easy browse, search and filter the designs. A “Lookbook” showcases key pieces and case studies to help spark more inspiration, and users can buy a paid subscription for full access to high quality images. The National Archives can also easily manage the the system so it is quick and simple to keep both collection and content up to date.

“The National Archives is delighted with the quality of the product, which was launched at an event at the Hospital Club as part of London Collections Men 2015.” Emma Allen

View The Design Collection site, or get in touch to see how we can help with your next project.