Smithsonian Saves the World with the Ocean Portal
Everyone loves the ocean, and when the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) charged Funny Garbage with creating THE online destination for ocean enthusiasts, we willingly jumped head first into the deep blue sea.
The Ocean Portal is the first Smithsonian Institution site developed using open source technology, and Funny Garbage was given the honor to lead the institution in it’s first ever implementation of Drupal. FG also created a timeline application for the institution to continually populate with new data in order to publish new conttent in the future.
This digital destination, known as The Ocean Portal, strives to foster connections and communication between renowned scientific institutions, scientists, individual people and our oceans. With an emphasis on stewardship, the Portal tells compelling stories about ocean life and the many ways that human behavior impacts, and is impacted by, the health of the world’s oceans.
Created as an online counterpart to The Sant Ocean Hall, a prominent feature of the museum and the centerpiece to the Institution’s “ocean initiative” partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the site is designed to feature the content of many different organizations, working together to make the Portal the premier online destination for Ocean information. To allow for ongoing content development and breaking scientific research, FG created a modular, systematic approach to the content layout and design that accommodates the rich variety of ocean information as well as intuitive tools that allow for non-technical people to easily update the site. FG also designed the site’s interactive components, such as narrative-driven stories and dynamic timelines, as reusable tools that can be adapted for future additions.
The Ocean Portal has become a showpiece for the Institution and recently was recognized with a 2010 “People’s Voice” Webby Award for “Best Cultural Institution Website” among many other accolades.