Our team was challenged with creating a visually engaging website for Hamilton Exhibits. It needed to creatively showcase their services and past work while communicating the innovative and cutting-edge solutions they provide.
For a company that helps other brands put their best foot forward, we knew it was important for Hamilton to have a site that put their own innovative brand front and center. We created a new website with an updated and cleaner sitemap that quickly provides users with the content they are seeking.
And since Hamilton is always expanding their portfolio of work, we knew the site needed to be easy to manage and update. With the Craft CMS, we made it simple for Hamilton's team to easily manage pages, content, and assets on their own.
increase in avg. time spent on page
increase in new users
increase in avg. session duration
Hamilton Exhibits is a leading exhibit strategy, design, fabrication, and program services company that helps companies showcase their products and services through a variety of custom brand spaces. Hamilton Exhibits came to us eager to build a website that was as innovative and cutting-edge as the solutions they offer.
We wanted to move away from generic templates and create a truly unique user experience. At the same time, though, the site needed to be customizable for a variety of content managers — regardless of their familiarity with content management systems and web development. Importantly, we would need to build the site on a platform that would allow the Hamilton team to easily upload and swap new photos and videos on a regular basis.
In addition to these challenges, the impact of COVID-19 hit Hamilton particularly hard. Right as we began building the new site, many states began cancelling events, making it impossible for Hamilton Exhibits to promote their work with clients at trade shows, which they have historically relied heavily on for leads.
Because of this, we had to immediately pivot and rethink our strategy. We knew that the website would need to be able to provide a way for Hamilton Exhibits to reach potential clients virtually in a detailed, comprehensive manner.
Faster loading times
When we first met to discuss this project, the Hamilton team expressed the need for a CMS that was flexible and easy for any content editor to use. They also desired a website that loaded quickly with high-resolution imagery and videos of their exhibits. With this request, we knew the answer was Craft CMS integrated with Gatsby for quicker front-end loading.
What is Gatsby?
Gatsby is a React-based open source framework for creating websites and apps that lets developers have the flexibility over their products while keeping performance, scalability, and security in-mind.
How does Gatsby work with Craft?
With the integration of Craft and Gatsby, we were able to implement faster loading times for the site users through single page application and fully static webpages.
Gatsby offers a number of features which allowed our team to spend less time on configurations and more time on the front-end user experience:
- Offline Support, which utilizes cached data to allow users to be offline and still receive a functioning webpage.
- Single-page Application (SPA), which offers an app-like experience with no reloads between pages for site users.
- Lazy Loading, which is a set of techniques in web development that defers the loading of images on the page to a later point in time when those images are actually needed, instead of loading them up front. Lazy loading images can greatly improve page speed times.
Aside from performance, what other benefits does Gatsby provide?
For Hamilton Exhibits, a client with a multitude of video and high-resolution assets, Gatsby significant reduced hosting costs. For each client the hosting costs will vary, but decreased overall costs remain an unexpected benefit of hosting this static content.
CMS, Integrations, and Plugins
In addition to the custom integrations above, we used other common plugins such as:
- Entry Instructions, which allow for our developers to include more detailed instructions for a field within Craft. This helps Hamilton’s Craft users write optimized copy for modules used throughout the site.
- Navigation, which allows Hamilton’s Craft users to manage the menu(s) for this site. With this plugin, Hamilton doesn’t need to have web development experience — or an agency — to add, remove, or reorganize pages within the site’s navigation.
- Redactor, which allows Hamilton’s Craft users to easily incorporate more technical elements such as iFrames and forms into easy-to-use elements with no coding required.
- SEOmatic, which allows Hamilton more control over the SEO of their site by allowing custom social media cards, meta descriptions, key words, and more directly in Craft.