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A history among the richest of any British city

Once one of the world’s greatest ports, the history of Liverpool is among the richest of any British city. It’s no surprise then, that the city is home to many of the country’s leading museums and galleries.

Several of these venues, including the Walker Art Gallery, the International Slavery Museum, and the Merseyside Maritime Museum, make up the National Museums Liverpool group (NML). Together they house everything from Impressionist paintings and rare beetles to a lifejacket from the Titanic. The charity is the only national museums group based entirely outside of London and had 2.7 million visitors in 2014.

One of NML’s aims is to engage the public with their collections. They also support educational and academic activities. Their website plays an important part in communicating their work to a wider audience.

Easing the burden

Before choosing a CMS, staff managed the NML website using web editing tools on their desktops. The limited number of staff who could make changes to the site increased the burden on the central team. NML were keen to allow more staff to edit their content.

NML carried out extensive online research before short-listing systems that might meet their needs. Contensis proved to be the best combination of enduser features, development potential and, importantly, value for money. Once NML decided on Contensis, we advised them how their existing infrastructure could be used, and provided help to install it.

The staff at NML were already skilled in core web development technologies. They were happy in a .NET environment, and easily settled in to developing with Contensis. After we provided them with initial user and technical training, they quickly got the hang of creating templates for their new in-house design. Our experienced professional services team were on hand to provide support and advice whenever a question came up.

A clear vision

From the beginning of the project, NML had a clear idea of what they wanted from their online presence. The result is a structured set of sites for each of the museums and galleries, within an overarching corporate site. These sites share a common set of page templates that give them their main structure. Special purpose mini-templates are also available to editors as required – a process which Contensis supports as standard. Each microsite also has its own colour scheme, applied using style sheets which are editable via the user interface.

We created Contensis with device awareness and mobile device compatibility built in. Responsive design and functionality are easy to put in place, making it easy to create websites that work on any device. NML took full advantage of this responsive wizardry to create a stunning and dynamic website – providing a great user experience to all their visitors, wherever they are and whatever device they use.

The NML web team have become recognised authorities in the use of Contensis. They deliver further extensions to their web estate on a regular basis. They are also active members of the Contensis community, attending Zengenti user groups and the annual Rocket conference.

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