Creating a memorable website experience for an organisation collecting, preserving and celebrating material from the lives and experiences of LGBTIQ+ Australians.

Learn more about this project


Established in 1978, The Australian Queer Archives (AQuA) collects, preserves and celebrates material from the lives and experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse, intersex, queer, Brotherboy and Sistergirl (LGBTIQ+) Australians.

They hold the world’s largest and most significant archive of historical Australian LGBTIQ+ material. 

Without significant investment in over a decade, AQuA’s website struggled to meet the ever-increasing demand for intuitive and engaging digital experiences, and much of the content had become outdated and inaccurate.

In 2019, a welcome decision from the Department of Premier and Cabinet, Equality Branch saw AQuA secure funding for their Digital Capability project. In 2020 — during Victoria’s first lockdown — Ellis Jones and Bone Digital were engaged to guide the volunteer-run organisation through their website redesign and development process.


The project began with a deep listening process, to understand and interpret the journey, work-to-date and strategic vision of the organisation. Key drivers of the engagement included:

  • A misalignment of UX (user experience), UI (user interface) and organisational objectives.
  • An appetite to share key artefacts of the collection with visitors.
  • A limited ’back end’ UX that had become an impediment to the website’s efficacy as a communication tool.
  • A soon-to-be-obsolete web host.

A collaborative scope of work was defined that acknowledged (and judiciously employed) the available resources. Augmenting a comprehensive brief from the AQuA project team, Ellis Jones’ UX and UI leads provided:

  • A set of overarching UX principles to assess revisions to IA, base functionality and UI design.
  • A revised visual language that facilitates the presentation of key collection pieces.
  • A prototype to work through page templates, content modules and interactivity.
  • A functionality scope (and development brief) to assist Bone Digital with the website build.


Launched in 2020, AQuA’s revised website is the digital expression of the organisation’s mission –  to collect, preserve and celebrate Australia’s very queer Histories. The archive’s cultural and visual diversity permeates through every interaction.

The strategic site architecture encourages visitors to explore key artefacts from the archives, facilitates the acquisition of new material, prioritises fundraising and donation, and supports the organisation’s broader communications strategy.

A memorable front-end experience on the homepage sees image, colour, typographic scale and user interaction combine to bring the organisation’s value proposition to life.

AQuA’s website was highly commended at the AMaGA Victoria 2021 Victorian Museums and Galleries Awards.