Royal Museums Greenwich

Excite and inspire an online audience

Rmg main

Our new website offers us flexibility that we simply did not have before. - Dan Coleman, RMG


Culture & attractions

What we did

  • Research
  • UX & design
  • Build
  • Drupal
  • CMS
  • Covid-19
  • Agile delivery
  • Culture & Business

Consisting of the Royal Observatory, the Cutty Sark, National Maritime Museum and the Queen’s House, Royal Museums Greenwich boasts some of the UKs 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.

Royal museums greenwich view

The challenge

Faced with the impending November 2022 Drupal 7 end-of-life, RMG realised that not only was their CMS platform outdated, but that their multiple interconnected sites were hindering their ability to maintain the site efficiently and offering an un-intuitive experience for their users.

RMG 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 & engage with collections, stories and topics
  • Grow income generation
  • Be flexible and sustainable

The solution

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

With the client brief as the foundation, Deeson executed a series of discovery workshops, user surveys and interviews to define the following 4 design objectives:

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

Which led to the online proposition Excite & Inspire. Simply. and a design direction which would be bold yet friendly; dynamic yet clear.

The new design brings the website inline with RMG's brand again. Where the old site used a safe but unexciting white background, our design team adopted the 'dark battleship' theme used offline as the backdrop upon which to feature stunning visual imagery and highlight contrasting calls-to-action designed to inspire user engagement. We also integrated the vertical line to bind together the page elements - a subtle nod to the Prime Meridian of the World, the home of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) at the Royal Observatory Greenwich.

Modular design together with underlying Drupal 8 CMS would allow editors to easily create and edit pages with speed.

To satisfy both professional researchers and private individuals a second release saw the much anticipated launch of the new online collection. Previously separate collection, archive and library sites were integrated into the main site with a simplified filtering, search and browsing experience. 

Dan Coleman, Product Manager Website and Digital at RMG, said:

“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.”
Collections desktop

The approach

To accommodate for the fact RMG is a large organisation with many stakeholders Deeson adopted a step-by-step project approach. Workshops and user research were executed to determine key objectives and challenges before presenting a solution and getting design direction approval before starting the build.

After the first physical workshops, Covid stay at home directives saw project management move to become entirely virtual. Happily solid remote working tools and agile processes allowed us to adapt easily and Deeson continued to work closely with the product owner at RMG to keep key stakeholders informed as the project progressed.


The results

The new Royal Museums Greenwich website was positively received internally and externally following its launch, and also the numbers were looking positive:

  • Newsletter sign ups saw a 100% increase in the first 2 weeks.
  • Bounce rates, session duration, and pages/session have all improved between 3% – 5%.
  • The eCommerce conversion rate from the main website (tickets/donate/shop/prints) increased by more than 20% since launch.

Maybe just as important, the improved CMS meant editorial teams could create and edit pages with ease and efficiency. It 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 for other reasons than a quality check. James Gill, Content Manager at RMG: “The flexi-CMS has already come into its own. Being able to slot in content quickly without any redesign scramble has been so helpful”.

As museums and attractions are seeing more and more visitors after the end of lockdown restrictions, RMG has been able to ensure their audiences can easily access the information to help plan visits, as well as pre-purchase tickets for upcoming events.