Digital & IT

Published: July 24, 2020 | Updated: July 24, 2020

Tanks a lot: Museum rolls out the big guns for new website with end result hitting the mark

Nik Wyness, Head of Marketing and Engagement, The Tank Museum (left) with (l-r) Jamie Derrick, JD, and Angela Barnard, Account Manager, and George Beverley, Insights Director, Insightful UX. Picture: Dorset Biz News.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

It houses the largest collection of tanks in the world with more than 1m visits to its website in 2019, generating 20 per cent of all ticket sales.

So when top Dorset tourist attraction The Tank Museum was looking to launch a brand new mobile-friendly website it decided to roll out the big guns.

They came in the form of Poole-based Insightful UX, led by tank enthusiast Lee Hill, and Jamie Derrick of JD (J.Derrick Ltd), who built the site.

The end result has delighted the museum.

Nik Wyness, Head of Marketing and Engagement, said: “It was the smoothest and most successful web project I’ve been involved with.”

It’s now hoped the website – tankmuseum.org – will further grow online ticket sales which accounted for more than £1m of revenue last year.

Insightful UX – the UX stands for user experience – had already worked with The Tank Museum on a video to engage day tripper and family audiences.

For the website project, the Insightful UK (IUX) team, led by Angela Barnard, Digital Marketing Strategist and Account Manager:

  • Reviewed the old website to help understand requirements such as system integrations, user journeys, flow and functionality.
  • Reviewed competitor attraction websites to help identify journey and functionality features to enhance the user experience.
  • Performed qualitative research with real individuals from three key audience segments to validate thinking and help prioritise key components of the website based on actual user needs.
  • Mapped out the user journeys into an information architecture and a clear set of mobile wireframes.
  • Worked alongside The Tank Museum and IUX partner, Jamie Derrick, to build and populate the site.

IUX project managed from start to finish.

For his part, Jamie, who has collaborated with IUX on several projects, together with Dan Morris, JD’s Digital Project Manager:

  • Built the site so it would be easier for non-technical staff to maintain and update than the previous site. Staff have full control over the layout of every page but without compromising the consistency of the site’s design.
  • Ensured the site would load quickly, especially as most visitors visit on a mobile phone.
  • Worked with hosting company Scholar Web Services, based by Bournemouth Airport, to establish a resilient platform able to cope with the high volume of visitors accessing the site.
  • Built the site to be accessible for everyone.

Jamie said: “It’s a big site and the challenge was to make sure it appealed as much to a family of four from Coventry as a tank enthusiast from Germany.

“The site contains videos and interactive elements to really bring the museum to life.

“The extensive tank collection section contains a wealth of information to keep even the most dedicated tank enthusiast’s needs fulfilled.

“The site integrates with The Tank Museum’s ticket system, automatically pulling in up to date ticket prices.

“We will shortly be improving this integration to make purchasing tickets easier.

“Insightful UX and JD have collaborated on several projects now.

“It’s a great partnership as our skill sets complement each other fantastically.

“I’m a great believer that it’s impossible to be brilliant at everything

“We just concentrate on being the best we can at one thing, and work with the best in the business for all the other disciplines a project needs.

“The ease of finding information and navigating around the site was one of the most important requirements.

“This is the part that Insightful UX absolutely nailed.

“Unfortunately the launch date we had originally planned fell a matter of weeks after lockdown which meant we had to postpone the launch.

“All involved in the project were able to be flexible enough to work around the unforeseen situation.

“It was a really good project to be involved in but I’m especially grateful to Dan (JD’s Digital Project Manager) who came onboard with JD in February.

“He immediately picked up the project and did an absolutely amazing job.”

The new website was a particular labour of love for Lee Hill, Managing Director of Insightful UX, pictured left, who wanted to drive tanks up to the age of 15.

Appropriately, as a tank and military history enthusiast, he had his first marketing job at The Tank Museum from 2003 to 2005.

Lee said: “As a former employee of the museum it’s great to be back helping the team again.

“I’m very proud of our work.

“It’s a great example of a true co-working, between ourselves, The Tank Museum and our partners.”

Nik Wyness, of The Tank Museum, said work started on the website in September.

Paying tribute to Lucy McCalister, Digital Marketing Executive, who was a key member of The Tank Museum team on the project, he added: “We have a large digital footprint with the website right at the centre of everything.

“We’re really pleased with the end result and how smoothly everything went.

“It’s delivered everything we wanted and more.”