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National Historic Ships

National Historic Ships

Developing a site to engage the historic shipping community

The Client


National Historic Ships UK is a government funded, independent organisation. They provide objective advice to UK governments and local authorities. As well as funding bodies and the historic ships sector. This advice covers all matters relating to historic vessels in the UK.

The Challenge

National Historic Ships wanted to combine the National Historic Ships website and the Shipshape network into a single online presence. The end result needed to be a seamless journey across the content from both sites. Whilst still maintaining their distinct visual identities.

The new site also needed to read data from a legacy data repository. This database contained the full detail of each vessel's registration history. There was insufficient budget to re-engineer this repository. So, the CMS solution had to synchronise in real-time with the database.

The Solution

Our team used Drupal 8 for this project. This approach enabled us to meet the complex backend requirements. Implementing a multi-directional synchronisation with the legacy data repository. Drupal 8 also provided design flexibility. Allowing us to maintain the distinct visual identities of the two previous sites.

A crucial part of this website build was engagement from the shipping community. Our team incorporated Drupal 8 webforms with extensive workflows. Allowing visitors to submit and update vessel registrations. Submitting notices for services, crew and jobs in the 'shipshape network'.

To enable visitors’ access to a powerful search, we applied a Solr search. This provided a unified enquiry method across vessels, services, jobs and companies. Allowing for keyword filtering and faceting. The result is that visitors can choose which area of the site to search. From whole site searching to searching only the Registers or Shipshape. Our team also used extensive tagging to provide regional hubs. Applying regional filtering to any search enquiry as required.

The end result is a cohesive site. Bringing together functionality from both previous sites. Allowing visitors to search for the information, people and companies they need.

The Website

website screenshot

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