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A flexible solution to empower the Arts Council and arts organisations across England

Quick Results

About the Client

Arts Council supports cultural activities across England in arts organisations, museums and libraries. Their website serves as an authority on arts and culture and provides a space for job listings and community blogs.

Between 2015 and 2018, the Arts Council have invested £1.1 billion of public money from the government, and an estimated £700 million from the National Lottery, to help create art and culture experiences for everyone, everywhere. Their website acts as a secure hub for groups to apply for this funding and helps groups around the country to realise their potential.

Business Challenge

Arts Council’s website and CMS capability didn’t afford the control and flexibility they needed. The rigid website content management system meant that editors were unable to tailor the structure and content on web pages in order to communicate their messages effectively.

Therefore, over the 3-month project, we focused on delivering two main areas of improvement:

1. Increasing control, for Arts Council to edit their website

To do this we needed to:

  • Augment the existing CMS, enabling greater flexibility
  • Empower content managers, with more freedom to edit text and video

2. Improving user experience, when visiting the site

To do this we needed to:

  • Update the menu navigation
  • Organise content to be best available for users’ needs

Flexible Content Management System

Through Continual Development, we implemented a new flexible, modular component-based CMS. This provides more control for the content managers at Arts Council.

Drupal’s modular content management system utilises paragraphs that allow editors to create text, input images, embed videos and more. The component-based design removes barriers to entry for contributing to the website. It also removes the need for coding knowledge when editing content on web pages, and reduces dependency upon developers, allowing clients to keep publishing in-house.

With Drupal’s native support for capturing content in a structured manner through Content Types, we incorporated fields tailored to suit specific needs. We created Content Types for the new Landing Page and Homepage, with the later addition of a Blog Landing Page.

These provided the skeleton for a basic page, including elements like: title, introduction and URL. Beyond that, we provided the ability to assemble pages from a set of available component styles. With these templates, content editors can ‘build’ compelling and interesting pages, whilst maintaining consistent brand integrity.

MockUp 2 Blue

The components we created were:

  • Home Page Gallery
  • Showcase
  • Double spotlight
  • Featured content
  • Full Text
  • Header
  • Navigation Spotlights
  • Navigation Spotlights List
  • Quick links
  • Slides
  • Spotlight element

Each component type can be added to a page any number of times, in any order. Additional components can be developed in the future as the organisation's content requirements adapt and change. These guides help content editors to publish in-house, while complying with accessibility and usability standards almost subconsciously.

Application Optimisation - Eligibility Self Assessment Test

The application process for funding on the Arts Council website previously experienced a high abandonment rate. The existing form was unclear about what was needed from applicants before they started. As a result, the primary method of grant application received thousands of incomplete submissions each year.

To improve the process, we designed an eligibility gateway that encourages users to confirm whether they have all of the information they need before starting the process. Ultimately these pre-application details make the experience more efficient and enjoyable for users. 

Each funding type is now separated and provides four key areas of information:

  1. Key information - the status, dates, and type of grant

  2. About the fund - more information about why the fund exists and who it’s from

  3. How to apply - eligibility information and FAQs

  4. Successful applicants - previous examples of how the grant has benefited projects around the country


HubSpot Video

The Arts Council Eligibility Quiz

Scalable Support During High Traffic

Mid-year, Arts Council release the successful funding grants for the next period causing a potential influx of traffic. We implemented a scalable, cloud-based hosting solution to provide Arts Council with extra support during these times of peak traffic. The solution will scale up virtual instances during peak trading periods and scale them down again automatically, with zero downtime.

Quality Assurance (QA) Testing

All of our projects undergo rigorous testing, throughout the software development process. In order to deliver the utmost quality for clients and their respective users, our in-house QA team ensure that all end products perform accurately and reliably under normal and abnormal conditions. Testing is followed by continual monitoring of software performance, to prevent reoccurrence of any issues and to ensure efficient ongoing operation.

As such, we were able to confidently deliver a well-designed, scalable and technically stable result.


The successful interface changes to the applications funnel have achieved a total abandonment decrease of -75.13%, from 90.3% to just 22.46%.

Whilst maintaining a consistent level of traffic YOY, goal completions have risen by a massive 167% with a conversion rate increase of 153.33% from 12.32% to 31.21%.

We provide both Critical and Reactive Support to the organisation, becoming the extension of their digital team. This ensures maximum availability when they need support. They also benefit from an ongoing allowance for developing and implementing a roadmap of digital initiatives, via our continual improvement service.


(Results 1st Jan - 5th July 2017 Vs same period for 2018)