Historic Royal Palaces – UCD

A User-Centred Approach for Historic Royal Palaces

Historic Royal Palaces of the UK includes some of the most famous sites in the country: the Tower of London, Kensington Palace, Hampton Court Palace, Kew Palace, Banqueting House and Hillsborough Castle. An independent charity, it is responsible for the successful maintenance and management of the online and onsite presence of the palaces.

What Historic Royal Palaces Wanted

Adopting an audience-first approach in its digital shop front, Historic Royal Palaces (HRP) planned a complete re-launch of its website aiming to:

  • Provide user-centred programmes for schools, families and young people
  • Boost UK-based audience attendance outside of London
  • Leverage on its unique history to further develop film and television media involvement
  • Embrace the digital era by updating its onsite and online experiences

Five key personas were created for Historic Royal Palaces

What Bunnyfoot Delivered

  • Research insight from remote and face-to-face interviews with a mix of customers;
  • Content and SEO analysis to understand duplication, information redundancy over the breath of the site and form questions to zoom in on for qualitative research
  • Stakeholder ideation session and workshop, as well as multiple stakeholder and steering group presentations to align with internal teams
  • Contextual enquiry and onsite observation to understand the real visitor journey when visiting a palace
  • Development of 5 key personas that were used to inform all aspects of the design process.
  • Card sorting to understand how customers think about categories and information on the website
  • We defined an improved information architecture (IA) based on storylines and validation using a tree test
  • Design activities: low-fidelity wireframes for mobile and desktop to bring the IA to life and visualise a possible design
  • The wireframes were then tested with real users with iterations made to the designs

Early wireframes demonstrating how the information might be visualised

The Results

  • We condensed eight original personas into five, helping HRP focus their future redesign activities. Our research-based approach meant that we were able to re-define persona contexts and goals to make them more realistic.
  • We identified a number of research-driven opportunities to increase engagement with HRP products and services and implemented these using persuasion techniques in our IA and lo-fidelity wireframes
  • Our iterative research provided the HRP digital team with a robust IA that they can build the cutting-edge concept of a storyline will tempt visitors and lead them to explore historic parts of the palace and beyond.
  • The contextual research was vital to evaluating and mapping the palace visit experience and its current pitfalls, including the lack of signposting and a restrictive audio guide.
  • Frequent stakeholder engagement through workshops and presentations helped our immediate HRP team to gain buy-in from the organisation.

Part of the elaboration of the new information architecture (IA)

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