Our Work

Delivering your vision

The Barbican

CMS redevelopment of a world-class arts and learning organisation.

The Barbican provides events covering performing arts, film, music, theatre, dance and education. They inspire more people to discover and love the art and create an ambitious international programme. This also involves growing and developing deeper relationships with their audiences and communities reflecting the diversity of London as a nation and international creative centre. We worked with them in building a user friendly interface CMS to make users aware of events by providing detailed information such as opening times, the creators, venue, ticket prices, date and time and more.

The Challenge

The Barbican used a 10 year old CMS built with .Net technologies and wanted to move their system to open source technologies. They wanted to improve their customer experience and empower artists, participants and audiences to be ambitious and creative. Cameron and Wilding were approached for this task where Drupal was used to provide flexibility, maintenance, security and an easy-to-use user interface while following the best practices within the industrial areas such as design and functionality.

This also involves integrating an existing CRM ticketing system used for booking events while retaining functionality and adding improvements. As the current system gets lots of traffic, responsiveness, speed and caching was also a top requirement.

Alongside moving their technology, Cameron and Wilding was to provide training to the Barbican staff (individually or by group) on the new system which covered an overview of Drupal 8 CMS with practical exercises, deep dive advanced technical training and development and project management workflows.

The Solution

We worked collaboratively with the Barbican in-house team on a daily basis to build the new system with new features while retaining existing functionality from their old system with improvements where it is scalable, adaptable and intuitive. This involves using Drupal 8 to enhance the editorial experience for creating events, assigning them to multiple art forms, grouping them into season and providing different template options for events of different size or importance.

Search functionality was also created as their old system had very basic search options. These search features includes past events, future events, non-event content (such as blog articles, press releases). This makes it easier for their customers to search specifically for events.

They hosted all their rich media content on third party platforms (such as Youtube, Vimeo, Soundcloud, Flickr and instagram) and wanted creative solutions for handling this within their website. We created a media (and image) management feature to easily embed/upload these across the website including varies based on different events.

Although their ticketing system exists and works well, this needed to be integrated with some further improvements (such as “sold out” buttons and performance times). API functionality was used for integration with a high level of control over future development.

With over 1.1 million people attending events annually, there is a lot of traffic on the website. We worked towards the responsiveness and speed of the site by not only applying Drupal’s best practices of caching (For example; page, view, search caching and more) but also adding other applications such as memcache and frontend caching components to get the possible best results.

As the modern world uses mobile devices, we had to ensure that users get the same great services provided when using their mobile phones or tablets as to when using their desktop. We focused on making the site responsive and adaptive to devices following various frontend methodology such as BEM (Block, Element, Modifier - http://getbem.com) and Pattenlab (https://patternlab.io) while having a clean code structure using Sass (Syntactically awesome style sheets - https://sass-lang.com/)

Cameron and Wilding also provided automated test via behat and selenium. This helps with regression testing to ensure that previous features still work. Automated tests were written for both backend and frontend functionality which saves time rather than testing manually.

As it is a new system, training had to be provided to the Barbican team which also has diverse groups. This covered marketers, project managers, designers and technical developers. Training was provided separately as Technical and Non-technical. The technical team (who did not have prior knowledge of Drupal and development workflows for larger team had a basic and deep dive technical course) while the non-technical team had training on how content (such as menus, nodes, blocks and taxonomies) are handled in Drupal with the use of the views and paragraphs modules for display. They were also practical parts to the training where the participants were given tasks to solve. simplytest.me website was given to everyone to use as an instance of Drupal so that time is not used on setting up.

URL: https://www.barbican.org.uk


Nicholas Triantafyllou, Head of Business Systems and Data

"The tailored technical 3 day training was exactly what we needed to establish a good understanding of Drupal 8 from a technical perspective. It was really useful to have Cameron and Wilding developers train our technical team on the more detailed and complex aspects and set-up our dev environment. At the end of the session we felt confident that the right building blocks had been put in place to start developing in Drupal 8 and understand the Acquia hosting environment."

The Key Benefits

We rebuilt the 10 year old Barbican site using Drupal technology with lots of new features, improvements and easy to use UI. This also includes a mobile first responsive design.

  • Improved usability and user interface for editors to create, manage and publish content quickly.

  • Easy connection between the Drupal platform and the CRM ticketing system.

  • Clear navigation and faster process for customers to book tickets for events.

  • Collaborative project teams delivering above expectations.

  • Self management and easy to add or extend features due to training provided.