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Theban Mapping Project

Creating an Immersive Digital Experience

The Theban Mapping Project’s (TMP) website was a groundbreaking educational resource when it launched in 2002. But almost 20 years later, the original technology was obsolete and the site was no longer usable. TMP needed a new website that would give the Egyptology fans and scholars alike the opportunity to explore the historic tombs and artifacts of the Theban Necropolis in Egypt.

Together, Teal and the team at TMP rebuilt the experience from the ground up, revitalizing the most popular features, introducing new ones, and creating a dynamic system that can scale over time as more archaeological remains are discovered.

The project has received a 2022 Communication Arts Award of Excellence and a 2021 W3 Silver Award.

Modernizing a groundbreaking legacy

Before we could improve the original experience, we needed to understand the key features and content. We reviewed the archived Flash website, dug through thousands of assets to see what we could repurpose, and explored better ways to utilize the existing data and taxonomy. Our goal was to repurpose TMP’s existing assets to create an experience that was delightful, intuitive, and highly informative to new users, while still retaining familiarity for loyal users.

We approached the redesign by:

  • Creating a simple and intuitive browsing experience that encourages exploration
  • Developing a robust site taxonomy to make it easier for website visitors to search for, filter, and browse key content
  • Crafting a modern and fresh visual design while still paying homage to the previous website
  • Designing for the modern browser, ensuring accessibility on large screens and mobile devices
  • Creating a user-friendly content management system, including plot-able maps and axonometric drawings
  • Future-proofing the website for additional archaeological discoveries
Sample tomb page

Digging deep into tombs

The premiere feature of the TMP website is the ability to explore specific tombs, and sections within tombs, in the Valley of the Kings. Teal designed custom page templates that let the TMP team create an interactive experience for website visitors. Each individual tomb page includes detailed information about the art and materials found within each tomb, along with detailed images associated with each tomb. Each tomb page is interactive, well-organized, and easy-to-scan for people looking to quickly glean basic information.

  • On each tomb page, visitors are welcomed by a large cinematic image of the tomb, with anchor links to quickly jump to a section of the page
  • Each tomb page includes zoomable axonometric drawings of the tomb, with the ability to focus on specific plotted areas within the tomb. Users can learn more about each area and view images of the immediate surroundings.
  • Each tomb page also contains detailed information about the tomb, including its history, specific location, measurements, ownership details, links to additional related resources, and hieroglyphs of the ruler’s name.
  • Tomb pages also include a gallery of images taken within the tomb and its surrounding areas, to give visitors an immersive sense of what the tomb looked like when it was excavated.
Collage of mobile screens

On the new TMP website, users have the option to view the full list of tombs in the sidebar, and see their relative locations on the adjacent map. Visitors can zoom in and out of the map view, and explore the rest of the valley.

The site search offers suggestions to guide users and surface key terms that give people a sense of the type of content that is featured on the website.

The site search also offers users the ability to filter by multiple categories, narrowing in on the specific detail that's right for them. Results are pulled in via the website's rich taxonomy.

If a user hovers over highlighted words and phrases, the site automatically displays a tooltip that includes an image and additional details to help put the highlighted phrase into context.

Tomb pages feature a gallery of images of a tomb or an individual area in each tomb. The gallery feature allows for the TMP team to feature a variety of dimensions and image orientations, to help them best showcase the rich photographic content the site has to offer.

Collage of desktop screens

Additional pages that add context and background include the Egyptian Timeline, articles, glossary, and image detail pages.

Sample of hieroglypics

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