The 1896 Gallery team asked about adding artists, artworks and exhibitions online for people to view. We found the best course of action would be to redesign the site with this in mind.
I worked with web and UX designer Natassia Woodger to design the site. We hoped to not only exhibit the artwork, but also produce a great experience to visitors.
The 1896 Gallery team wanted to be able to add or remove content themselves, so I chose WordPress with ACF as the CMS. This allowed us to get it live quickly, and it's popularity made it easy for editors to get used to.
The site had no need for a database so this was a great opportunity to use a static site generator (SSG). The first build was with Gridsome and Vue but with little interactivity, the Vue runtime was unnecessary. I switched the project to Eleventy, a SSG focused on HTML output. Using a component-based methodology made the switch easy.
As a greenfield project, performance and accessibility was vital right from the beginning. I wrote all CSS and most JS by hand to reduce the number of dependencies, using SCSS and a Gulp build chain. As an artwork site, images were important so it was an obvious choice to integrate with an image CDN for resizing and optimisation. I chose CloudImage due to it's easy implementation, competitive pricing and great support.
The fact the project started from almost scratch, and the flexibility of the client made the process a bit smoother than most. Although the Gallery team had an idea of what they wanted, they trusted Natassia and I to design and build with our discretion.
There were still some difficulties as with all projects; it was a tricky design to build and the switch from Vue to Eleventy took work. I also needed a bit of experimentation to get used to new methods and to find the best solution.
The website has been successful in prompting more enquiries, and particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic has allowed the business to still operate and sell their works.