Rochester Museum and Science Center (RMSC) features over 200 hands-on exhibits, spectacular shows, and authentic collections, engaging over 350,000 visitors annually. RMSC's previous website was hardcoded and not built on a CMS platform. Over the years, the site had grown to well over 300 pages and was not user-friendly for staff to make simple updates. The design was also outdated, not mobile-friendly, and did not take advantage of the true assets and experience that RMSC has to offer.
New Website Objectives
Primary objectives for site redesign included:
- Website needed to be intuitive and easily navigated by a variety of users with varying interests (i.e. teachers, parents, donors, etc.)
- Strong brand representation for the RMSC
- Presentation of the RMSC in its entirety (no silos or sub-brands) communicating the entire experience which includes the Museum, Strasenburgh Planetarium and Cumming Nature Center
- Responsive design for mobile optimization
- Multiple levels of security, completely contained within the Website infrastructure
- Content Management System (CMS) that is managed and edited, as needed, by RMSC staff (open source)
- Flexibility within portions of the site assigned to departments or functions allows designated staff to add, remove and update content using tools and templates that do not require extensive knowledge of Web development languages or technical structure
- Specific Web analytics easily available
- Easily integrated with Blackbaud™, Altru data system
- Capability for easily searching the Website for keywords or phrases
- Strong SEO optimization
- Creation and maintenance of a blog
- Interface with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.
- Ability of Website to allow visitors to sign up for email newsletters, using opt-in and opt out functionality
New Website was launched in August of 2015. In the discovery phase we had researched several museum websites as benchmarks. We also analyzed the site’s analytics to determine traffic patterns. It was clear that we needed to come up with an eclectic design while streamlining the User Interface (UI). The old site had much content competing for the visitors’ attention. It was also clear that the museum, planetarium and nature center needed to be highlighted for each of their audiences along, with each of their unique navigational requirements. Color coding each area, along with several rounds of wireframes, resulted in a clean, functional, and engaging experience.
Unfortunately, the pre-revamp analytics code was broken during different periods so we have limited historical data. That being said, when we looked at the September/October 2014/2015 time period, unique visitors were up 19% with the newly designed Website, average visitor time spent on the site was up 11%, and search engine traffic to the site was up a whopping 79%!