Site Visit: ss Great Britain Trust

The heritage charity that cares for Isambard Kingdom Brunel's ship overhauled its website to better communicate the story

Museum ship: new online experience
Museum ship: new online experience

Organisation: ss Great Britain Trust
Agency: Sift Digital
Spend: Undisclosed

The ss Great Britain Trust is a heritage charity that cares for Isambard Kingdom Brunel's famous ship and the maritime museum the Brunel Institute in Bristol. The trust has overhauled its website in the first phase of a new digital strategy that seeks to reflect visitors' experiences of the ship and its history, and to use digital media to communicate the story of the ship. It was the world's largest when it was launched in 1843, and the first iron steamer to cross the Atlantic. The new site went live in May.

Design and content

The design aims to promote the ship and the institute, and to integrate the charity's social media channels. The previous website did not allow dynamic content or design and was built on an old content-management system: the new site is on the open-source Drupal framework, allowing it to evolve over time. The online media agency Sift Digital undertook research with online and offline supporters to influence the website development. The new site is packed with images - historical and current - of the visitor experience. It allows an online exploration of the boat and hopes to inspire people to visit the attraction.

Special features

Key social media have been integrated with the site, and reviews from the travel site TripAdvisor are prominently displayed on the home page. Links to Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are also well displayed. People can donate and purchase souvenirs through the site.

SS Great Britain Trust says:

"The new website will be more flexible, enabling the charity not only to build a closer relationship with our visitors, but also to help bring the ship and museum to life through digital innovation."


Navigation 4
Accessibility 4
Innovation 3
Content 5

TOTAL: 16 out of 20

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