New technologies bring 1000 years of history to life in re-launched Westminster Abbey website

Imogen Levy, Westminster Abbey, UK

Westminster Abbey is steeped in more than a thousand years of History. Benedictine monks came to the current site in the middle of the tenth century establishing a tradition of daily worship which continues to this day.

The Abbey has also been the coronation church since 1066 and is the final resting place of seventeen monarchs.

Its position as a world heritage site, one of London’s major tourist attractions and a living working church is a continuous challenge to the life of the Abbey.

To date, sixteen Royal Weddings have been held at Westminster Abbey and over 3300 people, including kings, queens, statesmen, soldiers, poets, priests, heroes and villains are buried there or memorialised there.

Perhaps surprisingly for an institution dating back to the 10th century, Westminster Abbey has been at the forefront of using cutting-edge technology to engage with its visitors and worshippers.

Developments in a new website include;
• The introduction of GeoIP software to implement location based content. This automatically displays essential visitor information in the language of users visiting the site from twelve of the Abbey’s key markets around the world.
• The introduction of the Funnelback search engine, to power specific sections of the site. In the History section, for example, a People and Royals finder help users to explore many of the 3300 people buried in the Abbey.
• A ‘mobile-first’ design approach for a rapidly increasing mobile audience.