AUTHOR:Alicja Nurkiewicz

Website for a cultural institution: case study

Cooperation with an institutional client from the cultural sector is something that we have done more than once. Read what we focus on to build an effective partnership, and how we link aesthetics and accessibility in one product.

About the client 

Silesia Film is a cultural institution of the Silesian Voivodeship Government and one of the key places on the cultural and film map of Upper Silesia – the biggest region in Poland. Silesia Film manages 5 cinemas, runs the only regional film archive in the country, and supports film production.

Silesia Film and Software Things as a good match 

“ This is where the imagination works.”

This statement tells everything about our client. And we, as curious and sensitive human beings, are totally into its meaning. That’s why we were more than eager for our cooperation with Silesia Film and a chance to create a new website for them.

What did this cooperation begin with? 

The client needed a new website that would reflect the style and image of the client – a modern film institution focused on cinema and its importance in social life. The cultural industry should have aesthetics, character, and style written in its basic guidelines. All this, however, should not be art for the sake of art, but rather serve the audience. And it was with such a need that a client came to us.

As we are active participants in life and the events the Silesia Film creates, we were excited to build a website that would serve us all. Moreover, our experience of collaboration with other cultural units gave us an advantage over our competitors and convinced the client to trust us.

Because trust, like nothing else, is of great importance in cooperation with institutions. (of which the cultural ones are our favorites :)). Why?

Full understanding and flexibility of client’s perspective 

Creative minds who work in institutions aimed at bringing people closer to an object, in this case to art, know very well how to do it in the real world. However, the digital world is known for them more from the users’ perspective than from the business angle.

Therefore, a common language and trust between the institutional client and a technology company are so important.

The institutional client trusts that the tech supplier knows his field well, but will also be empathetic and good in social skills to guide the client through the project and development process so that the client does not feel patronized.

In the end, we all work towards the same goal, we just need openness about our partner and the willingness to learn new skills. And this applies to both parties because we also learn a lot in the course of cooperation with a client representing cultural institutions. First of all, how important but also diverse is the user’s perspective, and secondly, what is the specificity of working with the institutional client himself.

„We asked other culture-oriented companies and public art institutes for good recommendations. We were looking for a company that would not mind slow decision-making (on the part of the client), tons of bureaucracy and would be up to date with newest technology and the sense of design at the same time. Everyone pointed out Software Things.” Promotion specialist in Silesia FIlm Institute

Promotion specialist in Silesia FIlm Institute 

Phases of website creation for a cultural institution 

The whole project included a few stages that we had to go through to deliver a functional and modern website. First of all we had to get familiar with the client’s story. What was before and why didn’t it work?

UX UI design as a way to approach the audience

The previous Silesia Film website was chaotic, didn’t respect the current key visual, and most importantly, it didn’t meet the accessibility requirements. Therefore, it definitely had to be replaced with a new one. 

As the client is a cultural institution, it often participates in cross-disciplinary programs, and this was the case with the website project. The main parts of the website design were made by the students of Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Katowice under the supervision of professor Dawid Korzekwa.

Our design challenge, in turn, consisted of two parts. The first was to revise the well-prepared design proposed by students and adjust it to the demands set before institutions regarding presenting their offers digitally. As we have been in constant touch with the client we exactly knew what had to be achieved in this field. All this was done to ensure the audience’s convenience and possibly the best user experience.

After jointly establishing the UX standards and core elements of the project, we could move on to design the missing pages. Finally, we delivered a full package of the necessary views (mockups), created based on the client’s KV (key visual) and following the standards of good user experience. Moreover, the client was also supplemented with the necessary typographic elements needed to publish content: tables, quotes, bullets.

The second big job related to the creation of user-friendly design was to adjust the design to the accessibility standards. Public institutions have a demand to meet the standards of WCAG 2.1 at AA level (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines).

Why is this necessary? Accessibility standards are needed to provide:
“comprehensibility, functionality, compatibility, and visibility of the Internet content.” source

All to reduce the digital exclusion of people with various disabilities (vision, hearing, movement, etc). For us as a team whose mission is to deliver products that make a change, it was also an important aspect of this cooperation.

Contrast option as a one of the ways to increase accessibility

Technology for convenience 

The client’s need from the technological side was mainly related to convenient website management. And to be honest, this is very often the first clients’ requirement regarding websites – to make them easy to use. Even if a website is perfectly optimized, secured, and user-friendly, but remains difficult for website owners to manage, then there is a small chance for its success. Websites that are based on current events and changing circumstances must be easy to use for their owners. Especially if they are not tech-savvy.

The website we delivered for Silesia Film combines all that the client needed. Easy content creation thanks to WordPress CMS, and fast, secured, static website provided with JAMstack approach. What is also worth adding, is the fact that fast page load creates a positive user experience and green light for SEO and Google algorithms. 

Benefits for the client

„After launching our site, we saw significantly lower bounce rate and a traffic went up four times. Our visitors love the updated design, a lot of information, files and news are more visible and quicker to find. People also have a better understanding of what we, as culture institute, do and work on.” Promotion specialist in Silesia FIlm Institute

Kosmos cinema is one of the cinemas Silesia Film manages as an institution

What did client gain?

  • Consistent brand image – the website matches all printed materials such as posters, and leaflets that regard the client’s initiatives
  • The website can be easily managed by the content creators, which supports its growth and implementation of new ideas.
  • User-friendly design and website functionality stimulate users to explore and use it frequently. 
  • The website is inclusive. We have introduced many facilities enabling accessible website usages, such as required contrast, the ability to choose the color of the foreground and the background, the possibility to customize letter size, letter spacing, paragraph spacing, and many more. All actions performed allowed to deliver the website with AA level of accessibility. 
  • SEO and general optimization, fast speed, and security are the main assets that reinforce a website’s quality.
  • All delivered assets enable the client to fulfill a cultural mission: popularizing independent cinema and its social impact.

If you are interested in other projects we delivered, be sure to check out our portfolio on Clutch. You will find there more products we built for cultural sector clients.  


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