The Piece Hall is one of Yorkshire’s most significant historic buildings. Originally built in the 1770s as a marketplace for the textile industry, it is the only remaining traditional Northern cloth hall in the area. Today, the Piece Hall is a centrepoint of local business, as well as providing the community with common space to shop, eat, drink, and learn more about the history of the building and the area, as well as providing one of Yorkshire’s most striking backdrops for a variety of professional and cultural events throughout the year. With a focus on community, business, arts and history, the Piece Hall came to us as they needed a brand new bespoke website design and build.
We were tasked with focusing on three specific areas of the work that the Piece Hall is involved with:
Culture – including events and private hire.
Heritage – including tours and the history of the local area, as well as the history of the Piece Hall itself.
Marketplace – including the wide range of shopping and restaurants who the Piece Hall partners with.
When it came to the initial goals of the project, the team at the Piece Hall wanted to prioritise the user experience for both customers and internal team members.
The goals for the project included ease of functionality in their back-end CMS, as they were unable to edit their old website, and instead had to liaise with their old web development agency to make even the smallest of changes, which obviously came with a slowed process and additional costs to the business. They also wanted to ensure that the user experience was completely seamless, and that it would be easy for the customer to navigate and understand what they can do at the Piece Hall. As a multifaceted business, it was important to the team at the Piece Hall that users be able to quickly and easily understand how to reach the products/services they want. Users can purchase Piece Hall merchandise but also look at the shops/restaurants they have onsite, they can buy tickets for an event or concert and they can take a look at the heritage side of the site and book a tour.
There were also a few additional features that the Piece Hall team wanted their new site to include:
A platform where you can sell to customers and explore all shops and hospitality
A platform where you can host videos and stream events
Virtual Tours of the commercial spaces to support with selling (via Materport)
First things first, our web and project management teams spent time working closely with the client on a thorough project brief to ensure we captured the goals and what they need from their new website. This included a reviewed and revamped sitemap and navigation, to create the clear, segmented user journey that was so important to the client. To do this, we split the navigation into three distinct sections – Culture, Heritage and Marketplace.
We created two key design concepts and drew up draft designs based on these – one was a highly traditional, classic theme, while the other took a significantly more modern approach compared to the other site concept, and the existing Piece Hall site. The client chose to run with the more modern concept, at which point we got to work designing the internal pages of the website.
During the next step of the prodigy, we carried out various presentations and went through rounds of feedback with the client to ensure we created designs that they genuinely loved. Once we had approval from the client on the design of the internal pages, we began to build the site, first working on the Heritage side before moving onto Culture and the Marketplace.
We created an easy-to-use, lightweight, bespoke page builder to allow the Piece Hall team to quickly and easily update their own site, without any need for Embryo to intervene in the future. The new Piece Hall website is fully editable by the client. Finally, we went through a variety of different testing stages prior to the site launch, in order to ensure a smooth transition to their brand new Piece Hall website.
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