The Common Room website

Creating a contemporary website for this historic building

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Objective

To deliver a contemporary, mobile-first website for The Common Room of Great North. This brochure site will act as a showcase for the Common Room’s key offers, such as venue hire, outreach activities and archive collections. It will enable the Common Room to update the public on the refurbishment of the building and promote the opening.

The Common Room require the site to be intuitive for both users and staff and enable team members to regularly update both page layouts and content.

The Common Room is situated in the heart of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and houses the historic archives of the North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers. With an impressive lecture hall and public rooms, theĀ grade 2 listed Common Room aims to be a driving force for STEM learning in the region and provide a unique location for weddings, meetings and cultural events.

Solution

We built a WordPress site and developed a number of page templates that meet the Common Room’s different needs. Within these are a range of modular blocks that enable the team to flexibly add different types of content to suit their needs.

This fully editable site means that the Common Room are in total control of their own site and don’t need to contact us every time they want to update content.

As the site has a strong emphasis on images, we built a photo cropping tool to ensure that each image type can be cropped to suit a range of mobile and desktop devices. This means that the Common Room’s images always display at the highest quality.

The site’s design fully aligns with the Common Room’s branding, which we refined to fit the needs of a mobile-first site.

Alongside the site’s development, we worked closely with the Common Room team to help them produce and source content. This support ranged from writing and editing copy to choosing and uploading images.

Throughout the project we guided the team to ensure that the site was fully optimised for search engines. Our support included a range of on-page SEO such as keyword rich content, title tags, metadescriptions and optimised images.

Results

The Common Room site went live in October 2019 and is fulfilling all of the needs set out by the team. They are actively promoting the building’s progress and their activities, with an exciting emphasis on the countdown to opening.

We are particularly thrilled with the quality of images that the Common Room had captured for their marketing and communications activities. These have really enabled the design to shine.

We are already busy working with the team on Phase 2 of the site. This will see us integrate our own bespoke collections management system Nymbol, enabling users to search and explore the their incredible archive collections.

In addition, Nymbol will become Common Room’s streamlined backend tool for managing their ongoing digitisation and metadata generation.