Case Study: Science History Institute

SHI expanded the reach of oral histories by creating a digital exhibit app.

When the Science History Institute set out to create a digital exhibit to support their existing oral history research, they looked for a local partner that could take their vision and bring it to fruition. Their goals were to use modern, digital tools to support the gathering of shared oral histories within the biotech sphere and to then add depth that better allowed for the amplification of underrepresented voices.

By combining their expertise in history and storytelling with Promptworks leadership in design and development, SHI looked to present an innovative way to capture and present oral histories and shorten the time needed to bring their vision to life.

Here was our challenge:

Because the Science History Institute team brought with them a depth of experience in oral histories and the retelling of stories, they turned to Promptworks for leadership when it came to the discovery, design, and build phases of this project.

A robust discovery phase, including in-depth user interviews, uncovered product complexities that hadn’t been considered in the original brief. The Promptworks team worked to showcase both social and technical factors that would impact the real-life use of the application and presented the Institute with data-driven options for moving forward.

Additionally, the Institute needed to work within a specific time and budget framework that was dictated by the receipt of a grant and a live dinner event, during which the final product would be launched and shared. Promptworks worked with the Institute in order to manage a research, design, and build calendar that took these needs into consideration.

Here's how we solved it:

Lead with Discovery Early on, our user interviews uncovered specific needs and functionality that promised to enhance the final product and drive engagement. Utilizing the data gathered from these user interviews allowed us to better target the Institute's desired audience and offer options for product development that were driven by research. Incorporating a comprehensive discovery phase helped us to avoid challenges at launch that would have inhibited adoption by the Science History Institute's audience.

Built for Simplicity Keeping both the internal team and the audience in mind, the Promptworks development team chose engineering tools that streamlined the project and allowed us to build for simplicity of use once the application was launched. Our team utilized Strapi for the CMS, which helped us to bypass a significant need for custom development work that would have weighed down the application and overwhelmed the non-technical team at the Science History Institute. We selected the Javascript library React and the Gatsby application framework for front end development for code stability as well as to add a more universally accessible codebase for future changes. Throughout the build, our team kept an eye on how we could make technological choices that would serve to set the Institute up for success down the line.

Interested in more examples of our work?

See how we helped J.W. Pepper expand their digital library by stabilizing a legacy platform

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