“Inspiring Conservation of Our Marine Environment.”
Since 1977, educating, invoking awe, and inspiring visitors to take action in the protection of the world’s ocean has been the singular goal of the Seattle Aquarium. The Seattle Aquarium situated along the downtown waterfront of Elliott Bay is one of the ten most-visited aquariums in the United States and offers visitors a glimpse of Puget Sound wildlife in several major exhibits.
The Seattle Aquarium team found that most visits — and prospective visits — to the aquarium began with a visit to the Seattle Aquarium website. Although website content was updated frequently, the underlying technical build of the website hadn’t been updated in years and the Seattle Aquarium team found it difficult to manage.
The Seattle Aquarium team narrowed down their project’s goals to three priorities:
They wanted a website that would be easy to manage and update, now and years in the future.
They wanted a website that would be more accessible to visitors, across all screens and all devices.
They wanted a website with a modern design, and a fantastic user experience.
For the website's UX and design, we partnered with one of our preferred design partners, Fell Swoop. Over the course of a few days, Fell Swoop worked together with the Seattle Aquarium team to correctly nail down their vision for the website, their content strategy, and their needs for the website. After gaining insights from typical users in Seattle Aquarium’s audience, Fell Swoop worked outwards, creating their designs based on the expectations of the end user.
Fell Swoop worked closely with the Aquarium team to rearrange and improve the information architecture of the website to ensure that the core components, ticket sales, information about the aquarium, and donation portals, were always just one click away.
Constructing the Website
During the RFP process, we recommended that the best way to move forward would be to build over a new technology foundation to support both the designs from Fell Swoop, and the Aquarium plans for future content. The first step would be to build an entirely new website on a new Content Management System, Drupal 8.
Drupal 8 is equipped with a full suite of administrative tools which allows website admin to perform complex content management tasks, such as creating new page layouts, managing menus, uploading and placing media, building webforms, and managing search.
In addition, Drupal 8 also comes equipped with tools that enable accessibility and make browsing easier for visitors browsing with assistive technology.
After first constructing the website and then implementing the designs from Fell Swoop, we then assisted Seattle Aquarium with the migration of their content, moving all valuable content from their old website to their new website.
Previously, the Seattle Aquarium blog had been managed separately from a different domain. When building their new website, we created a section specifically for the blog. Our content integrator then hand-migrated all blog posts to the new website, in addition to formatting them.
80% of Seattle Aquarium’s visitors browsed their website using mobile devices. To accommodate smaller screens, we created mobile layouts that adjusted menus, page layouts, and any media featured on the page. Once the screen shrinks down to a certain breakpoint, the website displays the mobile layout.
A Successful Launch
We were pleased to see the Seattle Aquarium website launch right on time, August 2018. Bear Group is based in Seattle and many on our team grew up going to the Aquarium or take their families now. We were excited to be a part of this project, and help support the efforts of the Seattle Aquarium.