When Betty Moody opened up her gallery in 1975, no one imagined that it would get too big to handle almost 40 years later. From humble beginnings as a small Houston-based art gallery, Moody Gallery soon housed the works of a host of artists, many of them world renowned.
As the gallery grew, Moody's employees did what they did best, which was physically manage their inventory housed at the gallery. Unfortunately, things were completely different in the online sector of their organization. Their website was relying on old, outdated HTML and data management software. As time went on, it became increasingly difficult to not only manage the site's existing artwork images, but also to upload new images of the artwork that the gallery was receiving. Therefore, when D.A. Designers was approached for the task of upgrading their old site, we decided to take a multi-layered approach.
Realizing the need for Moody Gallery to manage its inventory over the cloud rather than exhausting its own limited resources as well as the need for gallery employees to have access to a system that was simple, efficient and easy to use, D.A. decided to combine the principles of UCD and Agile software development.
UCD (User-Centered Design) is a design method that places its emphasis on how the end users interact with a product. Instead of creating software that requires users to learn or figure out how it works (a process often piecemeal or cumbersome depending on the uses of the product), user-centered design focuses on the needs, wants and habits of the user almost exclusively, and issues a design that is built on this primary principle. UCD employs various methods of understanding the work and software-related habits of end-users and the products that come about as a result are often very intuitive and ergonomic for the consumer.
Agile software development is a methodology used to deliver quality software through collaborative iterations between the customer and the developers. Through cyclical sequences of development, testing and feedback, developers can create software that meets and exceeds the requirements of consumers.
Using these two methods, D.A. Designers was able to create a content management system (CMS) that allowed Moody to successfully manage the its inventory online in a way that allowed their online clientelle to easily access information and featured art.
D.A. Designers elected to employ HTML5, the latest revision of HTML code, and Drupal, a fully open-source and cusomizable internet software, for the site upgrade. The previous version of the site featured heavy pages and cluttered content. D.A. Designers changed this right away with organized blocks of content on the homepage.
Content and images are organized by current exhibitions, upcoming exhibitions, past exhibitions and artist profiles. The particular organization of the homepage was a response to both gallery officials and regular online browsers who needed a particular way to access information from different points of time. All photos of past and current exhibitions are available and easily accessible in an organized fashion on the site.
The crew at Moody Gallery emphasized the need for a simple yet effective CMS that would allow them to easily create and edit content and upload images of their physical artwork.
Crew members are given a simple, intuitive and easy to use backend that allows them to quickly and efficiently add content corresponding to their physical inventory.
Due to the immense amount of data featured on the site, it was obvious that Moody could no longer store images on its own computer. Instead, D.A. Designers migrated all existing data to a web accessible server from which images are viewed on the site. Using Drupal, D.A. Designers effectively switched Moody's online content management to a cloud-based computing model.
Through cutting edge technology, collaboration with Moody's employees and clients and intensive designing, D.A. Designers was able to transform an obsolete, clunky and overtaxed website into a dynamic, efficient and engaging online gallery to compliment its status and contemporary artwork with a step towards the future.