With Historic Houses being a much larger organisation than many people realise, with more properties open to the public than the National Trust or English Heritage, they needed to be put on the map. They also have two very different audiences; the house-owners, who have joined the association for support and help with their property, and the 50,000 public members, who enjoy free access to over 300 properties.
“When we embarked on the project we knew it was key that the project was delivered on time as the new tourism season was starting in the Spring which gave us 6 months to deliver the project from conception to go live.” Neil Rosewarn, Pixl8
Historic Houses needed to increase the number of sign-ups from the general public, focus on the benefits for public users, and raise awareness of the hundreds of houses that could be visited across the UK. At the same time Historic Houses needed to retain the membership benefits for house-owners and introduce a much more contemporary website and branding was key.
Another challenge was to integrate Microsoft Dynamics CRM at the time of the website build. With system integration being one of our specialties we were confident that we would achieve the outcome needed.
User Experience & User Testing
Through research, Pixl8 established users’ feedback on the current site. It was important that the site requirements were understood from a user’s perspective. A simple survey poll asking ‘did you find everything you need?’ on the site collected qualitative feedback and gave real user data which meant informed design decisions could be made as the wireframes were completed. This was a great exercise as we learned that users were highly engaged and passionate about Historic Houses.
Testing the site with real users from the UK and internationally was key to the project. Pixl8 ensured that all feedback and comments on the users’ experiences of the early designs were taken on board. With the users help we were able to refine information architecture as they clicked around an interactive site map.
- Interactive map - users can now search for a house, castle or garden by clicking on a certain area, giving details of each
- Geolocation to show personalised content - finding the nearest house, castle or garden.
- Separate house pages - each house now has a mini website showing;
- Opening Times
- Corporate Hire
- Self Service - house owners are now able to update details about their house, edit images and copy to encourage people to visit
- Event listing - a list of events occurring at Historic Houses is now shown
- Join online - users can now join online and send someone a membership as a gift
- Complex CRM Integration with a Smart Impact Microsoft Dynamics solution
- Two membership models - Individual public members and organisational house owners
- Online property search feeding directly from CRM data
- Subscription and renewal management
- Including gift membership and complex pricing
- Personalisation when logging in as a public user or house owner to find relevant information
- Event management
- Supplier directory feeding directly from CRM data
- Email newsletter management utilising CRM mailing lists and website content