Inklab 8 NMA Momentous

  • Pou Auaha / Creative Director
    Tim Lynch
  • Ngā Kaimahi / Team Member
    Tatiana Vassilieva

The National Museum of Australia brings to life for the Australian public the rich and diverse stories of the nation through compelling objects, ideas and events. With the ambitious goal of connecting Australians at a time when global and environmental crises ran rife, NMA’s Momentous website was created to provide a safe space for Australians to exchange stories across various text, image, audio and video mediums. The stories shared capture a gripping snapshot of human experiences, attitudes and feelings towards the profound changes to ‘everyday’ life that Australians faced throughout the 2019/2020 bushfires and amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic. The project validates and elevates the varied emotional responses from individuals whilst celebrating the resilience and adaptability of the Australian population as a whole. The website promotes digital engagement to counter NMA’s low physical visitation numbers during the COVID-19 pandemic, creating value for users through the curation of an interactive online experience.

We created a website design which applies interesting technologies and code languages to present content in engaging ways. Attention to detail ensures a user experience which maximises accessibility from every device. Presenting the visual content with impact was important to evoke a visceral reaction. Pairing powerful immersive imagery with distorted page transitions lends a sense of unease, whilst the off-kilter presentation of the user-generated content conveys a sense of instability and unexpectedness. Continuous scroll prompts users to explore and get lost in the content, whilst being invited to contribute to the conversation. The design of the user interface is intuitive and simple in its functionality, with the iconography and tagging of submissions informing the user of the content categories and the emotions each post elicits. Feelings such as of hope, sadness, community, adaptation, and anger, resilience, worry and change are reinforced by colours within the interface. Usefully, the audience is able to filter content via these attributes, as well as by location, contributor type and story medium. The hierarchy of information as presented in the information architecture is logical and allows the user to understand and use the site with minimal learning. The design is purposely clean and minimal to allow the user generated content to be the hero of the user experience.

From an administrator perspective by the National Museum of Australia, we built a robust and efficient platform for the maintenance of the website. This website became a tool for the client to handle content with minimal friction and simple automated processes. The site guides the user through the submission request process with a user-friendly online form. Once completed, forms are vetted by the client for appropriateness, either published upon approval where they are cleverly collated or rejected with notification emails to the contributors. A key section of the website is devoted to displaying the statistical data of the user generated content on the data visualisation page. This approach facilitates human connection and the documentation of experiences, allowing NMA to gain empathy from their users through a less utilised channel.