It touches on many topics that are still relevant today, such as prejudice, discrimination and antisemitism. We are capable of learning from the past, if we have the opportunity of getting to know the past.
Describe your Lovie Finalist project. What’s the elevator pitch?

The Anne Frank House has a worldwide audience and reaches out to them with travelling exhibitions, educational programs, publications and a website.
The website offers the opportunity for a meaningful experience with the life story and writing of Anne Frank. The website attracts 4.5 million users a year.
During the redevelopment of the Anne Frank House website, it was hugely important to
develop a platform that is easily accessible on all types of devices anywhere in the world.
Robust technical infrastructure, engaging design, excellent user interaction and clear creative vision were key for this. The average time visitors spend on the new website is 30 minutes!

What inspired this particular cause as the subject of your work?

The story that can be told according to the personal lives of the Frank family is so penetrating that there is no question about whether it is important to preserve. It touches on many topics that are still relevant today, such as prejudice, discrimination and antisemitism. We are capable of learning from the past, if we have the opportunity of getting to know the past. We believe in immersive storytelling as the way to keep these important stories alive. We used immersive storytelling on this platform to layer this complex history and give visitors a deeper understanding of the dangers of prejudice, discrimination and antisemitism.

What real-world impact were you hoping to make with this project?

The mission of the Anne Frank House is to increase global awareness of Anne Frank’s life story and to encourage people to reflect on the dangers of antisemitism, racism and discrimination, and the importance of freedom, equal rights and democracy. We felt it was important to communicate this mission: the issues that we need our audience to reflect on. We created a new section on the website called “Topics”, which strives to present these in an accessible contemporary way, using texts and videos. This section has an average visit duration of 18 minutes.

Did your team have a specific “breakthrough” moment when conceiving or executing this project that you can share?

The platform is divided into two parts: a practical part which is aimed at buying tickets, telling more about the mission and to give information on the educational programmes of the Anne Frank House. The other part is what we dubbed the Storytelling environment. This part consists of the story of Anne Frank, the Second World War in general, the diary, the house, but also of the contemporary topics. To find a good way to guide visitors through the stories and topics was a complex puzzle. We introduced another menu for the historic storytelling environment. The moment we got this second menu figured out, which took a lot of user testing and tweaking, was a real breakthrough.

Was the tech/medium you chose essential to conveying your message? If so, why?

The story of Anne Frank is a story that has a world wide target audience, and therefore our goal was to make the entire website accessible on all kinds of devices, for all kinds of audiences, on all kinds of internet speeds.
Besides creating a responsive website with clear navigation, we made the load time as low as possible with CDN-technology. We use an accessible color scheme and offer text in B1 level language where possible, which is the comprehension level of 80% of our visitors. This has led to a different text style and shorter texts. The videos have subtitles in four languages (Dutch, English, German and Spanish), which has often been asked for by American schools especially.

What was the greatest challenge that arose during your work on this? What about the most rewarding moment?

The greatest challenge was to get the relation between the practical part and the storytelling environment of the platform right. Another challenge was to treat the historical material with respect, whilst still creating in design and in writing a voice of its own for the platform.
The most rewarding is to see now that the platform has an average of 30 minutes visitor time, and the storytelling environment even has an average of 45 minutes.

What did you learn in the process of creating this work that you didn't know/expect going in?

We learned that it was not only important to do right to the historical story and material, but also to pay attention to creating broad support for renewing the platform within the organisation. Early on in the process we learned it was vital to include all the departments of the Anne Frank House in the process. It was important that they would feel the ownership of the platform and the content. The departments are responsible for keeping the content up to date and therefore had to have a sense of ownership of their part of the platform. At the start of the project we defined the subject of every sprint and included the departments according to the focus of the sprint.

About the Cultural Institutions category

Sites for museums, parks, zoos, gardens, aquariums, theatres, arenas and any other institutions of cultural significance.

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