Wilson Fletcher

Who do you think you are?

Helping ordinary people bring their extraordinary family stories to life

DC Thomson operates a suite of digital services dedicated to family history research, but they were keen to reach out to a new audience: people who may have a passing interest in family history but have yet to discover genealogy. The perfect opportunity arrived when they formed a partnership with the BBC television programme Who Do You Think You Are. They came to us with a great idea to create a new online experience that could bring family history to life in a simple, compelling way. Our job was to help them conceive, design and build the experience.

  • London
10 weeks

The fastest way to explore your family history

Genealogy can seem daunting: this service needed to entice people to explore and share their family history in a delightful way. And it had to be something that anyone could enjoy in an evening.

The idea was to create a companion to the TV series that would let users tell their recent family history story, using narrative techniques that would be familiar to show viewers. We were tasked with creating the concept, designing the experience and developing the live service.

Great stories need great content

Previous user research for DC Thomson had generated rich personas of our target audience: now we needed the content to enrich their personal stories. We worked with the DC Thomson team to develop a content strategy for the historical facts that bring colour to each story.

An experience shaped with its users

We designed and developed rapid prototypes and brought in some fans of the TV show to see how they reacted to our concepts. We could tell quickly what were the strongest ideas and worked alongside target users to evolve a final concept that they would love.

A fluid, fully responsive experience

The brief called for a dynamic experience that would be immersive and enjoyable across smartphones, tablets and desktops.

A rich front-end JavaScript application built on BackboneJS delivers a slideshow-like experience with high-end transitions.

Making it real

The detailed design and development process took just eight weeks, using a highly integrated agile methodology. Our designers, front- and back-end developers worked closely together to create a custom CMS to upload content, a dynamic story-building back end application and a fully responsive web front-end.

The end result

The final service is a beautiful historical timeline-builder that captures the spirit of the TV show. Users can build a rich family story with their own family details in no time and share an animated version with friends and family alike… all set to the distinctive Who Do You Think You Are theme tune.