BoW Title: National Portrait Gallery website
Institution: National Portrait Gallery
Designer: Cogapp
Category: Long-lived

In 2009, the National Portrait Gallery launched a major redevelopment of their website, which was built as an adaptable online platform that would deliver excellent long-term value for the Gallery.

The site was designed to evolve over time and provide flexibility amongst existing and enterprise systems, new platforms, devices and social media channels throughout its lifespan.

Some areas of the site still run off foundations that were laid in 1999 (the online collection pages, for example).

Since 2009, the site and its users have benefited from numerous enhancements to the original build, as well as ongoing maintenance and support.

Significant recent developments include a digital submissions process for the BP Portrait Award that launched in November 2014; in previous years, entrants had to physically send in their submissions; now they can upload their submissions digitally.

Screenshot of online submission process

BP Portrait Award online submission

One of the most valuable enhancements has been the construction of a reusable microsite template, which the Gallery can populate and restyle for each special exhibition and event, which launched in 2011.

A mobile-optimised version of this special exhibition microsite launched in winter 2014. This was used for the Grayson Perry exhibition that was the subject of the Channel 4 television series ‘Who are You?’. This microsite includes a Tag Wall showing social media activity around the exhibition, as well as events, exhibition information and social sharing actions. These features are all part of the flexible microsite template that can be reused.

Screengrab of 'Who are You?' microsite

‘Who are You?’ microsite

Screengrab of Tag Wall

‘Who are You?’ microsite Tag Wall

The new mobile-optimised landing page template was the next template to be rolled out. The Visit page below is an example.

Screenshot of 'Visit' page

Visit page

Mobile-optimisation of the whole 2009 site is to be rolled out in Spring 2015.

Over the years, smaller enhancements have also had a big impact on return on investment and institutional goals; such as incorporating donations in to the custom-built shop, refreshing the membership and donations pages and linking shop items to the online collection.

The National Portrait Gallery has worked with Cogapp for over 15 years, delivering more than 50 projects together in that time.

“The website is a wonderful and critical part of the National Portrait Gallery’s future.”
Sandy Nairne, Director, National Portrait Gallery

“A great resource, giving you more than expected.”
New Media Age Review of National Portrait Gallery website 2009

“Many thanks for all the collective Cogapp work on the digital image submission process for the BP Portrait Award this year. The great news is that you’ve done a great job again with excellent innovative solutions to our requirements – we easily topped our record breaking figure of last year, and ended up with a new record for the number of people registering, a 20% growth figure.”
David Saywell, Head of Digital Programmes, National Portrait Gallery, 2015