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New website for Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens highlights unique qualities
Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens is the former home of Marjorie Merriweather Post, an extraordinary character who was heir to the Post cereal fortune.
WASHINGTON, DC.- At the very beginning of the year, Cogapp won a fantastic project to develop the web presence of Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens - a twenty-five acre oasis tucked away in northwest Washington DC. So it is with great excitement and pride that we can announce the launch of the new site

Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens is the former home of Marjorie Merriweather Post, an extraordinary character who was heir to the Post cereal fortune and founder of Hillwood. Along with a diverse collection of Russian and French decorative arts, Hillwood also features beautiful gardens and exhibitions and one of the country’s finest orchid collections.

Hillwood’s website had evolved over a number of years and the information architecture (IA) had become confused and no longer captured the very special nature of Hillwood. Not using a content management system (CMS) also meant that it was very difficult for staff to update the website, resulting in out of date information.

The Cogapp team started the project by immersing themselves in Hillwood; working with stakeholders and users to identify its unique qualities and formulate a vision for the redevelopment. This phase provided a set of principles against which to benchmark our work and ensured the new site delivered upon organizational requirements and featured both authentic User Centered Design (UCD) and relevant content.

The new graphic design and IA now captures the true graciousness and elegance of Hillwood. This is supported by a new CMS in Drupal 7, chosen as an open source solution that was user-friendly and flexible enough to accommodate future developments. The content on the site, produced in-house by Hillwood, complements the new site design beautifully as it emphasizes and echoes both the splendour and charm of this distinctive institution.

Lynn Rossotti, Head of Communications at Hillwood said “Throughout the project, despite the distance and time difference, we worked collaboratively with Cogapp to produce a beautiful new website that is in line with our brand values and really reflects the unique qualities of the Estate, Museum and Garden. We’re thrilled.”

It’s been fantastic to work with Hillwood on this project and learn more about their fascinating organisation. We’re already reviewing the next stage of their website redevelopment, looking at their online collections and discussing a dedicated mobile site to enhance the visitor experience.

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