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Whitechapel Gallery

Services delivered

  • WordPress development
  • Shopify integration
  • Training and ongoing support
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Desktop image of Whitechapel Gallery Wordpress project Mobile image of Whitechapel Gallery Wordpress project

Whitechapel Gallery

Services delivered

  • WordPress development
  • Shopify integration
  • Training and ongoing support
Visit website

The Whitechapel Gallery were in need of a complete shakeup with their digital strategy. Their previous site was hard to manage with a complicated administration system. There also no way to cross promote projects, exhibitions or items in their online store. Working in partnership with JOYLAB, we were able to deliver a brand new, digital strategy.

Whitechapel gallery event

Discovery and user research

JOYLAB performed a number of in depth discovery workshops to prepare for decisions about what technologies should be used as a foundation for the new site. A highly detailed prototype was also produced to help map the flow of the highly diverse rich content that fills the site.

A key finding from these workshops was the importance of organising content. The previous website evolved into a labyrinth of pages and buried links. Working with the Whitechapel team, JOYLAB was able to carve out distinct content areas to improve organisation. There is also a huge collection of imagery captured from different exhibitions and events, these images had to take precedence on the new site.

Development and integration

WordPress is made to be simple when it comes to creating content – this is perfect for the Whitechapel Gallery who have a large communications team. So unlike their previous site where only one or two members knew how to edit and add content, almost the whole team now has control. Being a WordPress development studio we have built a number of tools and foundations for starting projects. One concept which is essential to the way we develop sites is to think of a webpage to be constructed from a series of blocks which are completely sortable and reusable.

Whitechapel Wordpress editor

Now that written content is broken up into blocks, it makes handling these elements responsively a lot more organised and tailorable:

Yet there were other aspects of the Gallery that wouldn’t be ideal for WordPress.

  • Event bookings with Point of Sales integration, this is handled by a third party
  • Art and general gift shop sales

Other software was needed to bridge these gaps:

Wordpress integration

Information and user journeys have to flow back and forth between systems. Using the Shopify API we can pull lists of products and specific details around each product. This then allows the Whitechapel Gallery staff to add products as related content. The concept of of shared content was also a key part of the new site. It was incredibly important for the Whitechapel Gallery team to be able to add content on the site and be able to advertise similar events, products, blog posts, press releases and even artist information easily.

Ongoing development

Using tools like Addthis and Google Analytics, we have a really clear picture of what works and doesn’t since the site has launched. Also having a maintenance contract allows us tweak and evolve the site as it grows, reacting to users requirements in small chucks rather than allowing the site to become outdated quickly.

David and the team at Atomic Smash have great technical expertise and knowledge as well as a fantastic can do attitude. They worked incredibly hard on the Whitechapel Gallery’s new website to deliver on time and on budget, and we’re looking forward to continuing to develop our site with them in the coming months. Rachel Mapplebeck Ex Head of communications at the Whitechapel Gallery

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