Aerial view of a tomb entrance

Creating an Immersive Digital Experience

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  • Website Design & Development
Anna Hovland
Bex Orris
Jason Yovanoff
Jessica Teal
Ryan Co

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.

Our Solution

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.

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

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.

Hero image of a tomb page
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
Zoomable axonometric drawing of a tomb
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.
Details section of the page
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.
Gallery of the tomb
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.
Mobile versions of the tomb page

The site we created is responsive and accessible across mobile devices.

A comprehensive historical view

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Zoomable map of the valley
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.
Search overlay
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.
Search results page
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.
Text link on hover that displays a tooltip with image and additional details
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.
Gallery of images
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.
Menu overlay
The website also offers additional content about the Valley of the Kings and Egyptian history in general, to offer context to and help orient visitors who might be looking for high-level, introductory information.
Collage of other pages

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

Collage of hieroglyphs from the Valley of Kings

Teal Media is a woman-owned full-service creative agency based in Washington, DC. We offer UX research, website design & development, brand strategy, and creative support to mission-driven and nonprofit partners. We believe purposeful design can transform organizations, inspire action, and enable progress.


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