Cultural institution website design for Denver Botanic Gardens

Responsive Design and Drupal Development for Denver Botanic Gardens

A photo of the Denver Botanic Gardens Pyramid
A mobile phone shows a screen from the DBG website, showing an event calendar view.
A close up of a Denver Botanic Garden webpage floating on top of a fushia background.
A close up of a colorful orchid.
A cropping of a banner on the Denver Botanic Gardens homepage

As a partner of the non-profit Denver Botanic Gardens for more than five years, we were originally engaged by the Gardens for Drupal website maintenance and migration. Since 2011, our scope has continued to expand through incremental improvements, including a Garden events calendar, and maintenance to make the administration of the site easier, as well as support the internal marketing team on large special events such as the Chihuly garden exhibit.

Turning Over a New Leaf

Eventually, the time was right for a Drupal website redesign and the project presented a huge opportunity and challenge. Each department of the Gardens needed the site to work harder to help achieve their goals, but the end product needed to be unified, fresh and show the Gardens for what it is: beautiful.

Our work began with thorough user research and analysis of the current website with the help of partner and user experience consultant Sarah Wambold, a veteran in nonprofit digital initiatives. Together, we architected and planned a new site that would flatten navigation, reduce irrelevant content, and expose the previously hidden offerings of the Gardens. The goal was simplification, which is always more challenging that it sounds. Balancing departmental goals, business objectives and user needs was key, and we worked hard to represent each group while ultimately keeping the approach user-driven.

Keeping it Simple

One primary goals of the website redesign was to show more of the Gardens, rather than tell people about them. Making it easier to browse events, see classes and buy tickets online with a filtered events calendar has given the Gardens the ability to grow the website in the right way. The website runs on Drupal and integrates with the third-party management system ATMS+, which syncs calendar and class data from the Gardens’ internal systems to the public website.

An image of the calendar as viewed from a laptop

Another focus was emphasizing basic information about the Gardens and making it responsive so users can engage with it via mobile devices. Hours, free days, and events were critical, but we also had to clarify where the events took place between the two locations. Working with the internal design team at the Gardens, we developed a visual system to separate Chatfield, the rural location, from York Street, the downtown one.

We have also produced non-profit fundraising tools, such as the corporate giving page, to help the internal development team better grow their donation and membership base, a critical aspect of any nonprofit organization.

Denver Botanic Gardens events in mobile and desktop configurations

Continuing to Grow

The resulting Drupal website has been positively received, contributing to strong KPIs towards online ticket booking and visits. We continue to work hard to iterate and improve to make it easier for visitors to see and experience everything the gardens has to offer.

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