Commonwealth War Graves Commission

To The Four Corners.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) honours the 1.7 million men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died in the First and Second World Wars, and ensures they will never be forgotten. As part of their new campaign ‘To The Four Corners’ they wanted to create a digital experience for users to see their continued hard and sometimes dangerous work of remembrance, and just how far across the globe that can take them. CWGC invited us to pitch for the project at their London headquarters, and we were delighted to have won the project. We then ran a discovery workshop with the campaign managers to learn as much as we could about CWGC, to get a handle on To The Four Corners’ purpose, as well as establish user groups / user goals and key pages of the site.

Design

To The Four Corners came to us with a comprehensive set of guidelines, including colours and typography. The team at CWGC were eager for the site to feel playful and dynamic, for users to feel immersed within the content immediately and jump from story to story. For us, this was a bit of a challenge – how do you keep readers immersed and engaged with the stories, without having a focal point? The only content on the site are the stories, and no one story is of higher importance/relevance than another.

The solution was to display the stories first, in an interactive grid, and then further down the page, scatter them in a news-page like layout, with illustrations and quizzes to break the eye. Within an individual story page, readers are immediately shown images and quick-facts about the area, to give them a flavour for what they are about to read, instead of just being greeted by a wall of text. They are led down the page with interactive share options, more images and story spheres before being shown similar stories for them to move on to.

Development

Timescales were tight on this project, with the CWGC team looking for a swift turnaround. In addition to this, there was the added complication of distance, as we are based in Edinburgh and CWGC in Maidenhead, just outside London. This meant that we had to be organised and able to develop quickly to meet the deadline. WordPress was deployed along with the latest version of the editor, Gutenberg. We felt making use of the block-editor on this project was the natural option for us, as it led to a much easier editing experience for the CWGC team. The visually similar back-end and front-end meant that going forward, when they add more stories to the site, they will be able to easily see on the back-end how things will look for the end user on the front-end.

Results

To The Four Corners is a six month digital campaign that will be running from October – March 2020, with the goal of showcasing their fantastic staff and ongoing hard work across the globe to the general public. To raise awareness about CWGC in general, and to encourage the public to donate and keep up to date with them. Since the campaign launched CWGC have had fantastic feedback on social media from their followers, with Chris Anderson from CWGC saying “just wanted to say we’re really pleased with the final product. We’ve had some great feedback from staff so far and some lovely comments from the press and the public on social media too. Appreciate everything that you have done for us on this. Despite the short(ish) timescale you jumped on board quickly and made it really easy to get things off the ground.”