How do you design a website for the most popular museum in Canada?

Start by meeting with various groups within the organization, researching the museum mandate and history, identifying business needs, and asking a lot of questions. In the end however, it would be impossible to overlook the beautiful architecture which feels like a living organism in itself, and which really speaks to people on an instinctive level.

Modular elements that work together

All of the features in this website were carefully crafted to work separately, or when combined with any other element. Designing a website for a national museum is more complicated than your average small business. The website needed to be updated on a ongoing basis by many different authors. Sometimes content required an editorial review before going live – other times this step wasn’t needed.

Event Management System

The heart of the museum website is built on managing events. On any given day, the museum has multiple events running for different audiences, in various locations around the building. There were also two distinct user groups or personas for this feature:

  1. Staff in multiple departments at the museum needed to create and publish their own events.
  2. Visitors to the site need to easily see what’s on, both today or during a future visit.

For this purpose an event management system was designed for these two personas. The resulting system presents a daily, weekly, and monthly calendar view to visitors, with a purpose-built event entry system on the back end for staff to create, edit, and remove events.

Event Manager

Custom WordPress Theme

Before this project, the museum website was being run on a proprietary CMS system. This system was costly to maintain, required specialized knowledge to edit, and relied on a busy vendor for updates. The vision of the museum was to move to an open-source platform that has $0 licensing, is built on a common programming language (PHP), and is continually updated by a community of volunteer developers. I was pleased to help the museum realize this vision by helping to design and code the frontend of a custom WordPress theme.