Non–commerical image download

The British Museum has allowed people to use official high quality pictures of objects for non commercial reasons for some time.  However this was a heavily manual process which involve staff time across all Museum departments.

The web team was commissioned to allow users to find objects on the website and to download f ull quality versions of the image through a web form.  To help and prevent potential copyright fraud, users would have to register with the British Museum website before downloading and would have a set download quota a month.

Font end

A user-driven design approach was used to ensure forms were as usable as possible.  Examples of a changes we made to increase usability are:

  • If a user had just registered, the next step to confirm your address details was skipped.
  • When re-logging into the system, a user would have to confirm their address details.  We ensured these details were automatically re-entered so the user only had to confirm they were correct.

Back end

The registration process was seen as the first in a number of features that would need a user to register with the website.  Consequently, a user framework system was created allowing future website enhancements to reuse the registration process.


The service launched in December just before Christmas and handled 1000 orders.  The service now takes approximately over 8000 orders each month and has significantly reduced staff time across the museum.

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