Vibrant design used to make historical content accessible
Launched on Remembrance Sunday, RememberTheWar.com uses arresting photography and design to create a user experience totally unlike the usual encyclopedia-style sites that document historical topics online. The result is a site that's instantly captivating and easy to dive into.
Harry told us the story of how and why he put Remember the War together:
"When looking for anything historical on the web, I found every site I visited to be a bad experience, nothing inspired me to read more deeply into a whole history of a war, a battle or historical event. With this in mind I contacted a friend, Phil Ricketts, with my idea and he instantly said yes.
"I would like to bring history on the web into the 21st Century by making historical events such as World War II into an experience and not only a list of historical dates and figures.
"I wanted the design of this website to be something anybody would be able to scroll through with ease – be it a 10 year old researching homework for school or my untechnical 80 year old Nan. I decided the best way about doing this was why by using photography, as nothing gets a message across better than a photo or a video. The only problem with this was I had to find good World War II photography to now use throughout the site.
"I approached the Imperial War museum but their online archives lacked in depth and quality. So I got in contact with a professional image buyers site and they cut me a deal. However both being sole traders me and Phil could not afford to take the time out of our working month and fund this project ourselves. So I approached all the lovely web people on Twitter with my idea and sure enough they all started dipping into their pockets and donating so that we could purchase the photography we needed.
"The build of the site happened over the last week with some very long working days. What was supposed to be a simple fixed-width layout became an adaptive layout with intelligent background scaling. The main challenge of the project has been the short timeframe to get everything together! Something as simple as putting a play/pause button on a website can set you back hours and hours, when you have to look into cross-browser HTML5 audio support.
"What has been an interesting part of the process, has been the user experience. We've learnt loads just by watching people use the interface, and learning more about what expectancies they have when presented with a website.
"Making this site has been quite emotional – I have been digging through hours of online video and content and most of what I read is so upsetting. Reading about the vast amount of innocent lives taken and seeing it in video format at times made me quite upset. I only hope my site will help keep the memory of World War II alive for the future generations and let them know the terrible and great things man is capable of."