Tryon Palace

North Carolina's First Capitol Building

Visit Site: http://tryonpalace.org/ (launched April 2014)

Tryon Palace Web Redesign

“Completed in 1770, Tryon Palace served as the first permanent capitol of North Carolina and home to the Tryon family. Royal Governor William Tryon and his family brought architect John Hawks from London to design and build the Georgian-style structure. In 1798, fire destroyed the original Palace building.

“The people of New Bern, North Carolina, launched an extensive 30-year campaign to rebuild the Palace and restore the grounds. Their efforts led to the triumphal reopening of the Palace in 1959. Today, the Palace lives on as a testament to history, community and rebirth.”

North Carolina as It Was

Today, Tryon Palace welcomes people of all ages to learn about the development of the state since its early settlement in the 1700s through the mid-twentieth century. As a beloved North Carolina institution, New Media Campaigns was tasked with designing developing a site that captured the elegance of this historical place but was also fun and interactive for today’s visitors. Our principal task was to promote tourism and increase engagement with the property.

Visual & Technical Approach, 1700s Style

The design offered a contrast in styles: on the one hand, it should be modern and simple, while on the other, it should reflect the historical period that the Palace represents. Subtle visual treatments like antique North Carolina maps and classic button shapes reinforce the beautiful images of its interior and grounds. Large banner images on every page of the site replace the need for a dedicated photo gallery and tell the story of the Palace through its architecture and exhibits.

An open-source CMS was important to them, so NMC, with its significant experience working as a Drupal web design firm included the Drupal content management system, which offers a lot of flexibility and extendability. We’ve worked as a Drupal web design firm for a number of clients and recommend it for sites with complex publishing needs. Last but not least, we delivered a responsive site for Tryon Palace. Responsive in the sense that not only does it load lightning-fast, but that the layout flows and adapts to whatever size screen you’re using to view the site. Smartphones, tablets, laptops — Tryon Palace’s tourism site looks great from any angle.

Promoting North Carolina Tourism

We focused on a few techniques to engage site visitors in our effort to promote visits to the Palace. First, we used tracking analytics to identify the most searched and visited pages to give them special prominence. That led us to putting the “Tickets & Tours”, “Events Calendar”, and “Contact Us” buttons front and center on the home page.

Next, we made it easy to navigate the site with clearly labelled drop-down menus that make it easy to navigate around the site and quickly reach some of the most important content like learning the history behind the palace or renting it out for a wedding. Critical to maintaining an accurate events calendar is making it easy for the staff to manage, so we worked closely with Tryon to setup a calendar that would seamlessly fit into their team's workflow and meet their needs to highlight events. Integrated with EverWondr, the calendar elegantly displays upcoming events with a description, date, and directions, accompanied by professional photos.

Finally, we’re most pleased with how the interactive Tryon Palace Map turned out: this custom-illustrated vector map shows the whole compound at a glance and lets visitors to the site zoom in on special places of interest. The map is built in JavaScript to be accessible across devices and easily controlled by the client within Drupal.  One of our resident Drupal experts, Josh, wrote up the challenges involved in pulling off this marquee site feature. Oh yeah -- did we mention the map is responsive, too? Go on, re-size your browser, we dare you.

Effective Design, Useful Technology, Friendly People

It was a pleasure working with the Tryon Palace team to deliver a site they’re so pleased with. Whether custom map illustration or custom CMS programming, NMC is happy to oblige.