Discovering Antarctica website redesign


A major overhaul of the Royal Geographical Society's popular educational website, now featuring HTML Canvas based activities.

View of Discovering Antarctica on various screens

Keeping up with a fast changing environment

We first designed and built the popular educational website “Discovering Antarctica” way back in 2006. Almost ten years later the Royal Geographical Society, with their project partners British Antarctic Survey, asked us to create a fresh version to meet the needs of the much changed online environment.

The original Discovering Antarctica site was a great success, receiving many thousands of hits each day from all over the world as well as numerous awards and nominations. However, the web is a fast changing place, and by 2015 the site needed bringing up to date.

In particular, the original site had over 30 activities using the increasingly obsolete Flash format. We needed to recreate these in a new format that would work across all modern devices. We also took the opportunity to enhance the site in many other ways, with bigger images, new icons and updated charts and diagrams.

Behind the scenes, the new site benefits from a WordPress cms, including a custom-built resource library amongst many other features.

View of Discovering Antarctica website on laptop and ipad
view of an ipad
View of an ipad
View of an ipad

HTML Canvas – updating the interactives

Discovering Antarctica is an educational site, developed with classroom learning and curriculum relevance very much in mind. It needs to work well in a variety of situations, engaging, educating and entertaining students on classroom whiteboards, tablet devices and everything in between.

The original site relied heavily on Flash for its wide range of interactive learning materials. We needed to recreate these interactive elements using new methods. We have replaced Flash with the HTML canvas element, using Createjs and the GreenSock animation platform (amongst other things). Everything on the site needs to work just as well on touch devices as on traditional desktop computers; this added some extra spice to the challenge!

View of an ipad and an iphone

We have been working with wave since 2006, producing our most successful and interactive online education resources. Together we have been awarded national and international recognition for our websites and interactives including nominations from the BAFTA and Webby awards.

Steve Brace ,  Head of Education - Royal Geographical Society (IBG)