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Stablising the Digital Platform for the World's Largest Aquarium Brand

About the Client

Part of the Merlin Entertainments group, SEA LIFE is the world’s largest aquarium brand, welcoming more than 20 million guests each year, with over 50 aquariums and sanctuaries across the globe.

Their mission is “to celebrate the sea and all its inhabitants”, through inspiring, entertaining and educating their visitors, as well as working to preserve ocean life for future generations.

Business Challenge

Whilst we inherited the website, with its pre-existing Umbraco code base, SEA LIFE tasked us with solidifying a robust platform from which to base each website for the many individual locations, whilst maintaining a cohesive and continuous brand identity.

We undertook vital health checks, leading to a host of small improvements and refinements throughout their sites. Once all of this structural work was complete, we were able to start designing and introducing new features, to be rolled out across all regional sites.

 

Troubleshooting Upload Process

A major achievement regarding our work on the SEA LIFE site happened behind the scenes. Our health check reports showed that SEA LIFE staff were facing delays when uploading new content; at times this could slow them down as much as 48 hours.

Our developers solved this issue, by integrating Azure CDN API into Umbraco; this purges the cache whenever a page is edited. This ultimately provided SEA LIFE with a stable platform from which to deliver fresh content and up-to-date information to any prospective customers.

Updated Tickets Page

Following Merlin’s extensive research, they opted to install standardised ticket pages throughout the group websites, in order to maintain best practice standards. We created new modules to present a great deal of information in a digestible and visual format, making comparisons easier and demonstrating the additional value of combined offers.

SEALIFE Tickets pages

Key Sales Feature

We designed and installed a Key Sales Point Bar, to sit beneath the navigation on each page of the website. This feature lists the core benefits of booking online and links directly to the purchase page, encouraging direct action from a user. A similar format had been tested on other Merlin sites and proved to be a successful sales tactic.

 SEALIFE Website, with Key Sales Feature

Image Optimisation

 Aimed at entertaining families with young children and celebrating the magical underwater world, the SEA LIFE site is heavily reliant on impactful imagery. We updated every template on the site, to specify maximum image dimensions; this ensures that sensibly-sized images are displayed, regardless of the size uploaded through Umbraco.

To further aid SEA LIFE admins, we provided help text within the CMS, to include directions and tips for image uploads. Ultimately, these background updates result in a visually engaging and professional appearance for the end user visiting the site.

 

 

Results

Our work with SEA LIFE has instilled great confidence in the client, leading to further ad hoc work following our 4-sprint contract. Going forward we will be developing and releasing a newly designed homepage, a new pop-up welcome message and also the launch of a site for the latest SEA LIFE attraction opening in Malaysia.

 

“CTI have been instrumental in helping us stabilise our site and giving us a strong platform, to build on for our campaigns and to inform visitors of key information across our range of attractions.”

SEA LIFE