Budapest City Archives (BCA)
website redesign case study
Our client on this project was the Budapest City Archives (BCA), with whom we had already worked before on smaller projects. After being entrusted with the work, we were excited to start the website’s planning. We will go through the design and planning process in the following presentation.
BCA is an essential part of the Hungarian national archives network, but it is an independent establishment.
Public institutions typically - and sadly - rarely have time and resources for comprehensive IT development, especially for a process that aims to renew not only internal systems, but make the institution and its services’ platform more accessible to the general public.
Our task was a complete redesign of the website, to make it well-organized and to fit the latest technical standards. The site provides easy access to the content and navigation on mobile devices, follows the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) standards for the disabled and integrates social media.
During the research and discovery phase, we realized that we needed to think through a lot more features than we had originally expected. The complete sitemap was built with three different navigations, so not only could an inexperienced user get lost in the content easily, we did too. We received a lot of help from the BCA employees. As some of them are researchers as well, they could help us better understand how the website should work. Still, there were a couple of functions that we had to decipher together, like a puzzle.
The research databases are the most important services for the users, and these are also accessible from the Archives site’s main page. These databases are on separate servers and can be reached from different URLS, so it was quite a challenge to follow and understand the user paths and their behavior on the site.
We were unable to find a clear relation between the userflow and the user habits. Therefore, we decided to spend a whole day in the Archives office to help us figure out how to re-think the website based on the goals we needed to achieve. This visit helped us a lot in understanding the processes of the institution, and helped prioritize their different services. This is how we developed the information architecture, so that every user can quickly find the most important information and can easily navigate the site, as well as help to make them understand the process of the administration and explain what papers and documents are required for these processes.
Strategy & UX
Rethinking sitemap & navigation
Designing new information architecture
According to the Archives staff there are three typical services, and related typical users on the website. The visitors arrive to the page for either official business, for research, or out of simple curiosity.
Each different set of information stored on the site is relevant to only one of these groups, there is not much overlap in the subjects, so we needed to pay attention to these divergences in both displaying the content and the navigation.
Our aim was to make the navigation on the website easy and simple by separating the website content by the target audiences. As a solution, we created two different interfaces for the two most important types of users (customers and researchers). These two interfaces are accessible from the main page, which contains important and useful information for the general visitors.
The website for researchers offers easy access to the databases and collects the information of research rooms and documents in one single place. For those visiting for some kind of administrational business, we highlighted the necessary documents, and focused on helping their navigation in the archives platform.
With every project, we feel it’s important to create the design with original content. This was the same with the BCA project, and it helped us a lot to work with specific original texts, because content displayed on the site is quite diverse in both length and type.
We dedicated time to understanding how the visitors use the website from mobile devices and we optimized the content of the website to match these habits.
- Location information
- Telephone customer service
- Information about opening hours
The website wasn’t responsive before, so we didn’t know anything about the user habits from mobile devices. However, we plan to do back-testing and analysis of the user behaviour on the new website to optimize the content design for the current needs.
The brand elements, such as the logo and the colors already existed prior the project. As the BCA organizationally belongs to the Municipality of Budapest, we needed to adjust the design to match their visual identity.
hex ( #002546 )
hex ( #FFCD00 )
- Playfair Display ALL CAPS -
Article Heading - Playfair Display -
Paragraph - Raleway regular and semibold
One morning, when Gregor Samsa woke from troubled dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin. He lay on his armour-like back, and if he lifted his head a little he could see his brown belly, slightly domed and divided by arches into stiff sections. The bedding was hardly able to cover it and seemed ready to slide off any moment.
His many legs, pitifully thin compared with the size of the rest of him, waved about helplessly as he looked. "What's happened to me?" he thought. It wasn't a dream. His room, a proper human room although a little too small, lay peacefully between its four familiar walls.
A collection of textile samples lay spread out on the table - Samsa was a travelling salesman - and above it there hung a picture that he had recently cut out of an illustrated magazine and housed in a nice, gilded frame. It showed a lady fitted out with a fur hat and fur boa who sat upright, raising a heavy fur muff that covered the whole of her lower arm towards the viewer. Gregor then turned to look out the window at the dull weather.
Mobile - table
Desktop & Tablet - table
‘Archives of the year 2012’ Award
There was a special request to display this award on the website somehow, as the office is very proud of it. We created a clean geometric shape icon and placed it in the footer. We are also very proud!