Over the last few months we’ve been working on getting our booking journey just right – making it perform better on mobile, updating the look and feel and adding improved functionality for customers. Having done that, we’re now moving onto the next stage of the project: tackling the main website. This will comprise of two main areas of work:
1) Building a new content management system (CMS)
Our current CMS is over 10 years old and while it still does the job, it lacks a lot of the functions that web editors have come to expect from their back end of the website. We’ll be working with a technology partner to help us build a new CMS with a new data architecture and workflow. But this isn’t just about how we work, it’s equally about how we can improve the online experience for our audiences so we’ll be looking at how we can best make recommendations that feel more tailored and personal.
2) Implementing a new front end design
As well as improving the system behind the website, we’ll be designing a new look and feel, bringing the brand up to date,using bigger, bolder imagery and improving the overall user experience.
Updating our current website while we work
These two workflows will be happening in tandem, with our ambitions for the CMS impacting design choices and the front end user experience defining how we structure the back end.
We imagine this next stage will take at least a year to complete so in the interim we’ll also be making some changes to the existing website – what we’re calling ‘quick wins’. We have two main criteria for quick wins: firstly, that they are changes that can be implemented easily on our existing platforms without substantial amounts of technical work; and secondly, that they will be a notable improvement for a significant portion of our users, whether audiences or staff.
There’ll be a range of technical changes that will be largely invisible to users but that will improve the overall experience. There will also be some much more visible changes to branding and images. We want to be really clear with our audiences that these changes don’t constitute a new website, but rather, are the first small steps in the direction we want our digital platforms to go; so, switching to our house font Futura, updating the logo and header navigation, adding in a breadcrumb trail, and moving towards larger image formats. We’ll be making the design changes incrementally: changing an aspect of the site’s design, letting it bed in for a couple of weeks, and then moving on to the next element – we’ve already made the change to the fonts (which you may or may not have noticed)!
We hope that for you as our audience, these interim changes will mean you’ll enjoy a better experience but that it will be clear that this isn’t a new website yet. Instead, this is just the first step in an exciting move towards fulfilling our ambitions for the Barbican online.