National Museum of Australia – Momentous

  • 2021

  • Digital
    Web Design and Development

Commissioned By:

National Museum of Australia

Designed In:


The National Museum of Australia Momentous website is an online platform to share human experiences of the 2019/2020 bushfires and COVID-19 global pandemic. The project shows how Australians respond and adapt to crisis and profound change, encouraging people to submit their unique stories.

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  • Momentous was created to provide a compelling and safe space to share Australians' stories using text, images, audio and video. The stories shared were to develop a snapshot of Australia's stories, attitudes and feelings towards profound change that individuals experienced during 2019/2020 Bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic, especially the impact on 'everyday' life. The framing of requests for users to submit content was essential to the quality of the post. We were to make this process as simple as possible to allow for maximum uptake. The website was to be inclusive and appropriate for use by the general public.

  • We created a website design which features powerful immersive imagery with distorted transitions to give a sense of unease. Presenting the visual content with impact was important to evoke a visceral reaction. Each story is personal and unique to the contributor. The off-kilter presentation of the user generated content conveys a sense of instability and unexpectedness. The landing page allows users to get lost exploring the stories and encourages users at every stage to share their own. The site caters to various formats of content types and guides the user through the submission process via the user-friendly online form.

  • This website had an ambitious goal of connecting Australians at a time when global and environmental crises were prevalent in our lives. The commercial implications of the pandemic and the bushfires had drastically affected typical visitation numbers at the NMA. The website provided a way for the museum to pivot during this period and share content online. The social impact of these issues on our lives has many connected emotions which became a key focus for this project. Adaptation, Hope, Sadness, Community, Anger, Resilience, Worry, Change are represented through the story content and reinforced by the colour within the interface.

  • From a user perspective, exploring and getting lost in the content, while encouraging users to share their story is the goal of the project and this website provides an accessible way for people to connect and document this period in our lives. The homepage presents the varied content types with interactions that are engaging and interesting. Users can continuously scroll the content which shows image, video, text and audio previews and decide what to click on. The user gets an understanding of the content types and the connected human emotion through the use of iconography and tagging of posts. From an administrator perspective by the National Museum of Australia, we built a robust and efficient platform for the maintenance of the website. We designed a submission process which encouraged user form completions which were vetted by the client for appropriateness and published upon approval, or rejected with notification emails to the users. This website became a digital tool for the client to handle the content with minimal friction and simple processes that were automated.