Website and inductee explorer
About the project
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum (BHoF) is an American institution. For over 75 years, they have housed the archive of the nation’s favourite game, welcoming new inductees each year and connecting generations with their huge love and knowledge of the sport.
Despite having a large and dedicated audience, the BHoF's location in Central New York State limits the number of physical visits to the Museum; not everybody can make the pilgrimage to Cooperstown. Those who make the journey witness the Museum's unique collection of objects and their expertise in telling powerful stories behind the greatness.
The BHoF needed to reach a wider audience and unlock the full potential of their online visitors. They needed a way to better organise their extensive archive of rich content, and surface it through an online storytelling platform to an audience on modern devices.
Our ambition was to collaborate with the BHoF's digital team to implement a platform to showcase the artefacts in the collection and create connections. This would enable the BHoF to bring objects to life for online visitors and tell the stories they tell so well inside the Museum in a digital format.
We undertook a discovery phase to research user engagement; understanding the kinds of content that users find interesting and the key value propositions of the website to its visitors.
We also undertook multiple stakeholder interviews with senior staff.
Our analytics review focused on the factors affecting the huge increase in traffic around the inductee announcement in January and Hall of Fame Weekend in July, and confirmed our aim to increase online engagement throughout the year.
Our audience survey enabled us to profile the wide geographical distribution of the BHoF's online visitors and helped clarify that the aim for the project, in essence, was to 'bring Cooperstown to the world'.
The website needed to satisfy both the casual visitor and those who engage fully in the rich content, as well as encouraging and engaging repeat visitors.
We worked closely with BHoF to produce a site that feels honest, friendly, energetic and timeless.
We developed a new online brand for baseballhall.org before embarking on the design and build of the website itself. This involved extensive research and exploration, and close collaboration with the BHoF.
Our designers considered baseball teams' colours and selected a palette that ensures the BHoF's online presence remains neutral. The new design is contemporary while reflecting the long traditions of the game.
An Agile approach using the Scrum framework allowed us to focus on efficiently delivering the BHoF's priorities as the project developed.
Our technical solution
We delivered tools for the BHoF that seamlessly connected:
- their Archive via a Digital Asset Management System (DAMS)
- the Hall of Fame members
- their Membership and Donations section
- their eCommerce offerings
- their storytelling capabilities
…in a beautifully-designed experience, fully-responsive across mobile, tablet and desktop.
We implemented a Drupal 7 website on top of the Islandora DAMS platform - an open-source software framework that helps organisations and their audiences collaboratively discover and manage digital assets. It acts as a bridge between the Fedora Commons architecture layer and Drupal.
The Drupal Layer itself is structured around a very small number of templated sections. We designed a unique template and explorer tool for the Hall of Famers, the homepage is a unique template, and the rest of the site consists of Stories.
Stories are made from a super-flexible page template built around the Paragraphs system in Drupal. This allows content creators to construct an almost infinite combination of page elements in order to tell the stories they wish.
Page elements include:
- Text - with video and image options
- Sharing - each page can be shared on social media
- DAMS asset - an image from the archive used to full advantage
- Section links - dynamically created from the page content
- Shareable image - DAMS images and CMS images can be zoomed and shared on social media
- YouTube videos - shareable videos with customisable poster image
- Carousel of DAMS assets - images to really show off the collection
- Related Hall of Famers - to maximise the onward journey
- Related stories - highlighting further reading for visitors
- Promos - flexible tools to promote membership and ecommerce on the site
- An innovative new platform allows the BHoF to open up their archives and collections and use flexible narrative tools to tell richly illustrated stories.
- A media library implemented as a Digital Asset Management System (DAMS) stores content from the archives and collections and makes it available to website editors.
- The BHoF now has the platform to create meaningful connections between objects and stories, to encourage deeper journeys through the site. This has enabled the team at the BHoF to increase user engagement:
- Visits in the five months following launch saw a 20% increase compared with the previous year.
- Visits on inductee announcement day saw a 100% increase compared with the previous yea.
"We are more than pleased with the results and have already seen an uptick in traffic and engagement. We look forward to partnering with Cogapp in the future to further enhance our digital offerings."
Donny Lowe, Director of Digital Strategy, National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
"...the re-designed site offers in-depth looks at the 306 Hall of Famers and access to never-before-available online collections while connecting supporters around the globe to baseball’s glorious history."
News: Hall Of Fame re-launches website at baseballhall.org
Explore the site
Find out more
To find out more about our work with Halls of Fame and Museums, and how Cogapp might benefit your organisation, please get in touch.