Creating a definitive information source on the Holocaust

  • Design and User Research
  • UX and Information Architecture
  • Content Design and Strategy
  • Visual Design
  • Wordpress Build

The IHRA’s rich library of content makes it a go-to information source on subjects relating to the Holocaust. Its reimagined website is easy to navigate and simple to manage, and builds trust in the organisation.

The IHRA is an intergovernmental organisation dedicated to protecting the memory of the Holocaust. Its legacy website had become dated, bloated and difficult to navigate. The IHRA asked us to design and build a site they can more easily maintain, one that tells a compelling story and showcases all the resources they offer their users.

For us, that meant doing a deep-dive into the IHRA’s diverse audiences and their needs, auditing the legacy content and exploring the IHRA’s recent brand refresh. Our deliverables included a more logical site structure, page templates designed around user needs, a complete design system and modular content management system, and of course a fully-functioning Wordpress website.

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Challenge #1

Reigning in the content sprawl

As an intergovernmental organisation, the IHRA deals with challenging and sensitive subjects, with a number of internal stakeholders to take into account. The IHRA website offers a huge library of content to its audiences – a volume that could be overwhelming to navigate or manage.

By speaking to users and understanding their needs we were able to re-organise the content in ways that make more sense to them. Instead of giving them an overwhelming information dump, we created clearly signposted content funnels that help users to understand the scope of the site and quickly find the content they need.

We also created content governance guidelines for internal stakeholders to help them understand what belongs on the website and what doesn’t, to help eliminate content bloat in the future.

Challenge #2

Visual design for a complex subject

Due to the sensitive nature of the subject matter, the visual style for the site needed to be both serious and visually engaging – a delicate balance. Finding appropriate imagery to use has always been a challenge for the IHRA, and so our aim was to create a solution that doesn’t rely on photography.

Colour & graphic motifs

Our design system leans heavily on the subtle use of colours, graphics and patterns. The IHRA brand’s colour palette can feel jarring if used incorrectly, so we intentionally created a system that provides harmonious colour combinations.

For pages where photography was not appropriate, we created a system of graphic motifs that would add an element of visual interest.

Typography

The IHRA brand uses the Grotesk typeface, providing an obvious opportunity to explore a modern and minimalist aesthetic. This worked well with the content-heavy nature of the site and allowed us to use type itself as a design element.

Challenge #3

A strategy for the future

To enable the IHRA’s time-poor marketing team to publish content more quickly, we built a bespoke content management system in WordPress. A library of flexible components gave them the right balance of guidance and flexibility, freeing up their time to produce great content and resources without spending a lot of time managing the back end. The technical toolkit included multi-language resource support and a library of page templates to play with.

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