High traffic official website for one of the world's biggest popstars.

Client:
ie:music
Services:
Digital Strategy, Design, UX, Drupal 7
We designed, built, populated, and launched Robbie Williams' updated website in time for the announcement of his new album and global tour.

The brief.

Artist management company ie:music tasked Deeson with redesigning Robbie Williams website as a bold and dynamic experience, and as the sole place for the press and fans to get more information, book tickets, and gain access to pre-order details.

The site launch was timed for November 2016 to coincide with the release of his new album, The Heavy Entertainment Show, and would be the first glimpse of Robbie's exciting new brand.

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Robbie Williams website screenshot

Project achievements.

Increased user engagement.

The site delivered an immediate but sustained 58% increase in user engagement.

More flexible editing experience.

We now offer more content types for editors, making the site visually richer while remaining fully accessible.

Lightning fast load times.

Analytics show a 60% decrease in page load times despite the site having more rich content than previous sites.

Our approach.

Up to this point a new site had been built for each album and tour. This had led to lost content, lower pagerank, and decreasing social engagement with each iteration. We needed a solution that would avoid repeating this, whilst allowing for a unique look and feel for each new album.

We decided to break the content management system and the face of the site apart. This meant changes to the parts the public can see would have no negative impact on the hidden workings. We'd also save the client the costs of a rebuild every two years for each new album or tour.

Design.

The design system had to be flexible enough to adopt the brand and aesthetic of each new album as it was released. We hung the entire aesthetic from a fluid and dynamic grid system that adapts to the needs of the content. The result is a site that acts as a live experience, with a single page rearranging itself as you move through the content. It captures Robbie's personality combined with a digital first and contemporary look, and gives Robbie's web team a framework for publishing that takes care of the visuals, letting them worry about the message.

Built upon a series of fully responsive page elements that are fed content by Drupal, new page and content types can be created by the web team without needing more developer resource. The typography, colour system, and layout are all controllable by the editors so that when a new album is released, the site can adapt for the first few weeks before reassuming its classic look.

Technology.

We chose Drupal 7 for the CMS, as it's a proven platform that we knew offered the functionality we'd need. We coupled it via a custom REST interface to Redux and ReactJS. We used a CDN to allow for rapid delivery of assets worldwide, and built a hosting architecture that would auto scale in real time when the load increased. For SEO and accessibility a node.js server intercepts the request and serves a semantically rich version of the site in plain HTML.

Looking to the future.

The architecture and design system were built with ie:music's long term strategies in mind. The systems that underpin the technology, and the way we coupled them to a fluid design library, allow the integration of third party technologies that have not yet been chosen and the use of content governance processes that have not yet been adopted. Whatever new ways the editors choose to publish, or new channels on which they wish to engage with customers, the new Robbie Williams website is already capable and ready.