Cuberis has been working with the Nasher Museum since 2013. In 2017, we began a ground-up redesign process to enable the Nasher to integrate their special exhibition sites using our WordPress component architecture augmented with a robust exhibition page toolset. Additionally, we integrated their TMS Collections Management System utilizing the eMuseum API. Collection data can now be featured inline with other content and also in image galleries throughout the site.
url: nasher.duke.edu | completed: February 2018
User Focused Navigation
Museum websites contain significantly broad sets of information for expansive audiences. Too often website navigation reflects internal or departmental priorities rather than providing simple wayfinding clues for users. Cuberis helped the team at Nasher to reorganize content so visitors can easily locate the information they need. Such efforts seem simple, and they result in simple systems, but the processes of getting to simplicity can demand a lot of time and attention to detail.
Custom Branded Exhibitions
Exhibition content is always a priority for museum websites. Exhibition pages are critical for promoting upcoming and current shows, as well as for documenting all of the related content from past exhibitions. Cuberis developed a flexible and expansive toolset for the Nasher to use in curating their exhibition pages. These pages are also components-enabled so that they can feature full-width images and video, quotes, galleries, related events, featured artwork examples and other related content. Cuberis worked with the Nasher team to find the balance between consistency of look in its design and display, yet with enough flexibility for unique branding elements to be used in the curating of future exhibition pages.
eMuseum to WordPress API Integration
Utilizing data from a museum’s Collection Management System is a key feature that just about every museum website needs. Unfortunately, many Museum Collection Management Systems, or their implementation in a museum, can create technical or logistical barriers to integration. Fortunately, the Nasher uses TMS from Gallery Systems and they have opted into their web-facing system, eMuseum. eMuseum offers an API (Application Program Interface) that allowed us to integrate their collection data in WordPress. The Nasher can now reference, feature, and use collection items throughout the entire website and augment this data with other site-related content such as events, educational resources, or blog posts.
One of the challenging aspects of developing museum websites is how museum collections and content is relevant to so many different constituencies—and in so many distinct contexts. One visitor may just want to know the dates an exhibition. Others may want to deepen their knowledge of a particular artist or work of art. Journalists may need background information for their stories. And still, others may be looking to participate in events and related programs. Therefore museum websites need to be able to facet their information based on various sets of categories in order to relate multiple content types to one another in dynamic and fluid ways. Cuberis built custom content fields and related work components so that the Nasher could facilitate these rich associations.
Faceted Post Search
Museums are essentially large, curated collections of objects and artifacts. But in addition to the main collections themselves, Museums also create large quantities of content used to promote their collections, resources, and programs. When website users are confronted with such large sets of content they need search features to find what they are looking for. But raw text search is often inadequate, and frequently too targeted a mechanism resulting in missed opportunities to discover relevant or tangentially interesting information. Using topical and category facets makes search more effective, and more useful. It also allows for greater exploration and discovery.
Drag and Drop Components
When it comes down to page-by-page content creation, the default WordPress toolset leaves much to be desired. That’s why Cuberis builds custom components like full-width media, pull quotes, galleries, featured and related content, and others that transform basic pages into robust canvases with better options for more engaging and effective storytelling.
“Cuberis inspired us to think bigger than ever with our new website, and we are thrilled with the result! Our dynamic new site brings exciting features onto every page–videos, stories, art, audio postcards, photo galleries, pull quotes—showcasing our special content and replacing the old-fashioned separate pages for stories and images. It’s easier than ever to join and donate to our museum. We have robust new search functions for our calendar and news sections. Cuberis understands our unique needs as an art museum.”
Wendy Hower, Director of Engagement and Marketing
Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University