From abacus to IBM, this online exhibition chronicles the first 2,000 years of innovation in the world of computing. The site was created to support and supplement “Revolution: The First 2000 Years of Computing” a new permanent exhibition at the Computer History Museum. Drawing from one of the world’s largest collections of its kind, the exhibit features over 1,100 objects spread out over 25,000-square-feet of new gallery space, revealing the interlaced narrative of computers, the technology that drives them and the people who made it happen.

This site showcases every artifact on display as well as additional material that is not able to be displayed within the exhibit. It extends the exhibit with behind-the-scenes information, facilitates surprising connections and presents stories without boundaries.

Although the site is about the growing realm of digital, the interface was inspired by an analog source—library bookshelves. Like books, topics are arranged in rows and the volume of content is represented by bars, like pages in a book. On any given topic, the nav allows visitors to jump ahead to sub-pages, making it very easy to quickly navigate to an area of interest. This tangible system suggests intuitive content relationships based on categories (which volumes are shelved together) and simple visual devices that indicate the depth of a story (such as the thickness of a book).

• Fifteen people worked on the site for about eighteen months.

• The site was designed with tablets and mobile devices in mind, so it’s accessible beyond a traditional Web interface.

• The frontend is HTML5, CSS and JavaScript and the backend is PHP.

• For researchers, a user-friendly search engine filters results between stories, images, videos, documents and topics; for browsers, a horizontal timeline elegantly covers a vast number of topics over hundreds of years.

Communication Arts

// From our friends at Communication Arts

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