Case Study

Architect of the Capitol

Client

Architect of the Capitol (AOC)

Expertise

Design Strategy

Digital Publication Design & Development

Mobile App Design

Mobile App Development

Recognition

Adobe Creativity in the Public Sector

Challenge

Serving Congress and the Supreme Court, the Architect of the Capitol (AOC) is the builder and steward of the landmark buildings and grounds of Capitol Hill. The AOC is responsible for the operations and care of more than 18.4 million square feet of facilities, 570 acres of grounds, and thousands of works of art. The Capitol campus is home to 30,000 daily occupants and hosts more than 3 million visitors annually.

With a diverse and highly engaged audience interested in the U.S. Capitol, the Architect of the Capitol needed interactive mobile apps that would supplement touring the grounds in person. These tools would serve to enrich their touring experience when the Capitol is closed during events, restoration periods, and after-hours.

Beyond Definition worked with the Architect of the Capitol to enhance the visitor experience of the U.S. Capitol Rotunda and its grounds. The app also had to replace tours while the Rotunda was closed for restorations between 2013-2016 and continue to complement visitors’ experiences once it reopened in 2017.

Outcome

Beyond Definition designed and developed an immersive app experience that transports users to one of the nation’s most historic landscapes that is home to approximately 200 memorial trees, architectural features, fountains, gardens, and more. To do so, Beyond Definition designed and developed two apps—The U.S. Capitol Grounds app and The U.S. Capitol Rotunda app—for the Architect of the Capitol using Adobe’s digital publishing platform. Both apps support the Capitol Visitor Center to connect with visitors in person or virtually.

“Bringing the stories of the Capitol Grounds and the Rotunda to life in digital form was an incredible honor for our team. The guided tours we received during the planning phase led by Tom Fontana were deeply inspiring and informational, providing the insights we needed to design apps that captured the history of the grounds.”

— DEBBIE BATES-SCHROTT, FOUNDER & CEO, BEYOND DEFINITION

Phase 1Diagnostics & Discovery

Recognizing the push for government services to be merged into mobile experiences, our team knew the significance of engaging an audience with such an iconic location. The Capitol Grounds has been the stage to hundreds of inaugurations, commemorations, protests, concerts, and more. While the Capitol has been enlarged to accommodate the growing House and Senate over history, the center of the original Capitol beneath the Dome, the Rotunda, withstands time as it still serves as a ceremonial space and showroom of art and statuary. Our team emphasized the ideal user journey, leveraging research of the grounds to dictate app functionality and mapping.

Phase 2Mobile App Design & Development

U.S. Capitol Grounds: The app is designed with a phone-first approach to mirror how a user would explore the Grounds while using the app as a digital tour guide. To evoke that experience, Beyond Definition developed the app with Adobe Experience Manager Mobile using custom Cordova plug-ins. Beyond Definition was then able to integrate the app with Google Maps’ geolocation tools to pin users’ exact location in relation to the defined map area and the Ground’s treasures contained within. With the tap of an icon, the map enlarges a deeper description of each feature with photography, video and audio clips, and brief captions to act as a personal tour guide during off-hours.

U.S. Capitol Rotunda: Beyond Definition brought the history and features of the Rotunda to life with the mobile app platform, Adobe Experience Manager Mobile, classically referred to as Adobe Digital Publishing Suite. The app is built in a horizontal orientation for tablets and in a vertical orientation for smartphones to optimally display the architecture and artwork found within the Rotunda.

Phase 3Mobile App Launch

Through interactive videos, infographics, photography, 360-degree panorama images, and historic illustrations, users are virtually transported to the Capitol following the same tour programming that is delivered in-person. Visitors to the Capitol may explore and learn more about the Rotunda’s storied history, paintings, statuary, and architecture.