E-Commerce Website Up And Taking Orders In 10 Weeks

The Trust had to go to tender, appoint a company and have the website up and running in just ten weeks. In addition to the time and budgetary constraints, the Trustees wanted to find a company that could assure them with regard to on-going support and provide transparent accounting – hidden costs were not to be contemplated.

A member of the ss Great Britain’s staff team had come into contact with Quiet Storm in a previous role where she had to create a website in a short lead time. Quiet Storm successfully met the need, and so she was happy to recommend them as a potential supplier for her new employer.
The ss Great Britain Trust website needed to provide information to a wide range of audiences from people thinking of visiting the attraction and children doing school projects on Brunel to academic researchers and funding bodies. In her working life, the ship circumnavigated the globe and today she attracts international interest and the website needed to reflect that.

However, the site also needed to generate money, by increasing the number of visitors to the ship, collecting on-line donations and by selling merchandise online.

Brunel’s ss Great Britain has undergone a major £11.3 million conservation and restoration programme, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Grade II* listed dry dock where the ship was built and now rests has been sealed by a glass ‘sea’.

To enhance the visitor experience the glass plate is flooded and as the curved flanks of the ship’s iron hull rise up through the ‘sea’, giving the appearance of the ship floating in her dock. Aside from the stunning visual effect, the glass acts as the roof of a major de-humidification chamber that pumps dry air around the ship’s hull and interior, preventing further corrosion that threatened the ship’s 160 year old hull.

Ingenious access solutions such as a lift hidden inside the ship’s funnel means the ship and her dry dock are accessible to everyone, including people with visual and hearing impairments and wheelchair users. Providing good access is a key goal for the Trust and this goal had be reflected in a fully accessible website that complied with the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA).

Quiet Storm was awarded the contract as they demonstrated they had the relevant experience and their approach was very structured, making it clear who was responsible for what by when. In addition, their content management system appeared very easy to use.

The lack of time did not compromise the finished result in any way. In fact, the site includes an e-commerce gift shop to allow online purchasing of merchandise that the Trust had thought would be beyond its reach in time and money. Other features of the site, www.ssgreatbritain.org , include a virtual tour and press room, allowing journalists to sign up and receive notification of any news stories.

The Trust recognised that to keep visitors returning to a site its content needs updating on a regular basis and Quiet Storm has provided them with a website that can be fully edited and maintained by the internal communications department, keeping running costs to a minimum.
Commenting on the site and Quiet Storm’s delivery of the project, Nancy Chambers, Director of Development at the Trust said: ”We are delighted with the site. Not only does it meet our business objectives in terms of promoting visits and generating income, it is so easy to update that even I can update it! Quiet Storm made the task of creating the new website very easy for us. We certainly benefited from their expertise.”

- 2006 U.K. Museum of the Year.

- Winner of the prestigious 2006 Gulbenkian Prize for Museums and Galleries, the biggest arts prize in the U.K.

- Winner of 2006 Museum and Heritage Award for the Permanent Exhibition

- Winner of 2006 Museum and Heritage Award for Conservation and Restoraton


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