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Visitors steer ss Great Britain's new website

Creators of the new website for Brunel’s ss Great Britain have used the digital industry’s best practice to ensure online visitors enjoy the same engaging and memorable experience as those coming for a real-life visit.    

By involving website visitors from the early drawing board stage they have developed a site that is both attractive and easy to use.     

Information on the history of the ship and the Brunel Institute was considered a vital element to feature prominently on the site. And, unsurprisingly, practical information, such as ticket prices and directions, featured highly in the users’ wish lists. 

Using stunning new photographs the new site captures the experience of visitors to Brunel’s iconic ship, from luxury travel in the decadent saloons to life in steerage. It tells the ship’s story, from her launch in 1843 to her rescue and return to Bristol in 1970. 

Brunel’s ss Great Britain is fast becoming a popular venue for special events, conferences and social occasions from weddings to birthdays. As recommended by the focus group the new site, with photographs and sample menus, gives a flavour of what’s possible on that special day.  

The site also makes social networking easy for visitors. Twitter, Facebook, Trip Advisor and You Tube are all on the home page so more people can now digitally share their Victorian experience.

Sally Cordwell, the ss Great Britain Trust’s Director of Marketing, Communications and Development said:

“By involving website visitors in the design process we can be confident that we are offering something people want to see.

"This process of ‘user lead’ design, is truly innovative and makes perfect sense for us.

"We want our digital presence to inspire people to come to visit us and enjoy all we have to offer as a world-class museum, library and research centre.

"We believe our new site has an innovative and inspiring approach that captures the Brunel spirit. If only Isambard Kingdom Brunel were here today to Tweet about us!”

The new site has been developed and designed by the Bristol-based digital agency SiftGroups with the ss Great Britain Trust. 

The research involved 149 Brunel’s ss Great Britain web site visitors who had volunteered to take part. The age range and demographic spread of the respondents was large and broadly representative of the visitors who come to Brunel’s ss Great Britain and use the website.

Other key finding from the ss Great Britain Trust’s focus groups:

  • Educational activities and resources were considered to be an important part of the site. 
  • The site needs to make it easy to donate to, or support, Brunel’s ss Great Britain.
  • Information on planning a visit, including special events, should be easy to find. 

People are being encouraged to share their thoughts on the new website,, by posting comments on or