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Building an exciting, unified online experience

by manifesto

3-minute read

Royal Museums Greenwich Homepage
Royal Museums Greenwich Homepage

Transforming the online experience for Royal Museums Greenwich.

Consisting of the Royal Observatory, the Cutty Sark, National Maritime Museum and the Queen’s House, Royal Museums Greenwich (RMG) boasts some of the UK's most iconic tourist attractions.

Devoted to enriching people’s understanding of the sea, the exploration of space, and Britain's role in world history, RMG attracts millions of domestic and international visitors each year.

Our new website offers us flexibility that we simply did not have before.

Dan Coleman

Product Manager Website and Digital, Royal Museums Greenwich

Royal Museums Greenwich Hero Image
Royal Museums Greenwich Hero Image

Challenge

Royal Museums Greenwich had multiple interconnected sites on their CMS platform, which was preventing them from maintaining their website efficiently, and providing an unintuitive experience for their users.

As the Drupal 7 end-of-life approached in November 2022, this was the perfect opportunity for RMG to both update their CMS and reimagine their digital offer.

They needed to connect a vast selection of isolated content pieces as well as integrate collections, libraries and archives into a single cohesive website that would:

  • Inspire people to visit
  • Get visitors to explore and engage with collections, stories and topics
  • Grow income generation
  • Be flexible and sustainable

Solution

As Drupal specialists with over 14 years of experience and proven success with bringing large museum groups and vast collections online, manifesto was commissioned to undertake the RMG site development project.

We carried out a series of discovery workshops, user surveys and interviews to define the following 4 design objectives:

  1. Clear offer, site structure and information
  2. Reflect the epic adventures, and spark curiosity
  3. Integrate stories, visitors and objects
  4. Create editorial flexibility and visible diversity

From this we created the overall proposition "Excite and Inspire" for RMG, with a design direction which would be bold yet friendly, dynamic yet clear.

Royal Museums Greenwich In Page Mobile Views
Royal Museums Greenwich In Page Mobile Views

The new design brings the website back in line with RMG's brand. Where the old site used a safe but unexciting white background, our design team adopted the "dark battleship" theme used by RMG offline as the backdrop for stunning visual imagery. In reference to the Prime Meridian of the World, the home of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, we also used a vertical line to bind together the different elements on the page.

In the second release, RMG launched their new online collection. Previously separate collection, archive and library sites were integrated into the main site with a simplified filtering, search and browsing experience, giving researchers and members of the general public access to the museum's extensive resources.

Royal Museums Greenwich Explore The Collection
Royal Museums Greenwich Explore The Collection

Impact 

  • Newsletter sign ups increased by 100% in the first 2 weeks
  • Bounce rates, session duration, and pages/session all improved between 3% – 5%

Just as importantly, the improved CMS now enables editorial teams to create and edit pages with ease. This has allowed RMG to move to a multi-user approach with pages being produced and published without the need to run through a centralised team.

testimonials

Consolidating multiple databases into a single federated search had been a long term of ambition of RMG and the release of the new Collections Online is a landmark achievement. The door is now open to tell the fascinating stories of our Collection in new innovative ways.Dan Coleman, Product Manager Website and Digital, Royal Museums Greenwich

The flexible CMS has already come into its own. Being able to slot in content quickly without any redesign scramble has been so helpful.James Gill, Content Manager, Royal Museums Greenwich