Chris Kaminski


Barclays Group Archives Website

Photographs from the Barclays Group Archives

Barclays Group Archives is a collection of records, artefacts, and memorabilia from the bank’s 325-year history. It provides institutional memory, preserves Barclays’ corporate culture, and is a valuable reference for scholars, amateur historians, and the media. I was asked to design a website that would ease the archivists’ workload by allowing users to find oft-requested materials on their own, provide a platform for communications initiatives, and demonstrate Barclays’ commitment to their values of service and stewardship.

The ‘Search for branch photos’ user journey
User journey

During the 11 week project I worked with diverse Barclays stakeholders, consultants from financial technology firm Capco, digitisation experts UK Archiving, and visual designers and developers from Tobias & Tobias. I began with a competitive analysis of existing archive websites to frame the problem. Joint research with the developer identified the open source Omeka system as our technology platform. Remote user interviews and contextual enquiry with the archivists yielded personas and user journeys which informed the content model and concept design. I then built and user-tested a clickable prototype, after which development and visual design ran in parallel with detailed interaction design in a scrum-based agile process. I also wrote and maintained the product backlog and UAT scripts, and tested the site on a variety of devices, browsers, and operating systems.

User distributions diagram
User distributions

The research showed user roles varied by their need for context around archive items: Browsers want to know how an item connects to Barclays and the world to understand its significance, while Researchers use context to find specific artefacts, but want to evaluate an item’s historical significance for themselves.

Topic map concept model diagram
Concept model

The final design was based on a topic map linking artefacts, their digital representations, descriptions, and each other through shared metadata. The design enabled us to create galleries of frequently-requested items so researchers can find them quickly. The system also creates links between items with shared metadata values to provide context and additional items of interest to browsers. As new items are added, the system creates new links based on the items’ metadata, reducing the workload for the archivists. A set of key metrics will measure the success of the site and guide future development.

Home page of the Barclays Group Archives website prototype

‘What a brilliant site you have! I have been having a quick browse and really like the immediacy of it, the design and the ease of use.’

— Melanie Aspey, Director, The Rothschild Archive

‘Just had a look at the new Barclays archive online resource, it’s brilliant — really easy to use, interesting and visually beautiful. There’s obviously some serious planning and research behind it, so many congratulations to all involved, I hope it’s a roaring success.’

— Kelda Roe, Collections Access Officer (Rugby League) at University of Huddersfield

‘This looks brilliant! It’s great to see such a useful online resource and I hope it will help to reduce the pressure on your team.’

‘I will certainly be able to make good use of the information now online whilst continuing to research the Barclays Constituent Banks’

— Barclays colleagues

Wireframe of the branch photo page of the Barclays Group Archives website