+0% +84%% boost in site perfomance

The Challenge

Mall Galleries’ previous Drupal 7 site and UX was massively outdated and faced various security vulnerabilities. There was a pressing need to upgrade the CMS to a new infrastructure.

Although incredibly loyal, Mall Galleries’ core audience were aging and they were beginning to see fewer purchases and less visits to the gallery. However, there had been an increase in new buyers online. Mall Galleries wanted to grasp this momentum to grow new audiences and cater to a younger demographic.

I had to write to say that both, (my husband) and I think the new website is looking fab now! Great balance between open entry artists and members and really flexible to search for anyone. A big thank you to you and the team from us both.

Artist, Mall Galleries
The pastel society art work at Mall Galleries

The Solution

The Un.titled team set about creating a project scope that would support Mall Galleries in revolutionising their digital presence, reinventing their ecommerce operations and helping to cater for a changing buyer demographic.

A major element of the project was switching the ecommerce element of the site from Drupal 7 to a new configuration. This would see the Mall Galleries site benefit from an online store running on BigCommerce, which operates in a headless way. The platform would be purely focused on driving art sales, while delivering all the ecommerce functionality that modern audiences expect across both desktop and mobile.

The remainder of the site’s content would be shifted over to the Drupal 10 platform. This would handle content management exclusively, allowing Mall Galleries to continue to promote their charitable work and their history effectively.

We opted for BigCommerce due to the limitations on the part of Drupal around ecommerce functionality and capability, with marketing, sales tracking and integration with other systems all not as strong as what can be achieved with an out and out ecommerce platform like BigCommerce.

Additionally, with Drupal 7, Mall Galleries had no way of tracking purchasing patterns, such as abandoned carts, customer signups, and commerce eventsBigCommerce allows the team to monitor these trends and act on them accordingly. For example, this may be sending email reminders to customers that have abandoned carts, something they were not able to do with Drupal 7.

Ultimately, BigCommerce offers a lot more flexibility for Mall Galleries and gives them more options moving forward. Previously, a major pain point for Mall Galleries was uploading artworks onto the main website. They use an external system called OESS to do this, which allows external artists to submit their artwork. These artworks are then reviewed by an expert committee.


Once artworks have been approved by this committee, members of the Mall Galleries team then choose which artworks will be sold on the Mall Galleries website.

To do this however, Mall Galleries staff needed to extract a CSV file from OESS for any artworks they wanted to sell, before having to clean the file and ensure it was in the correct format for the Mall Galleries website. This included making checks to the names, images, image sizes, and text associated with each artwork.

Staff would need to manually check names, images, image sizes and text associated with each artwork. As exhibitions can include up to as many as 500 artworks, this was a time consuming and tedious process.

Un.titled removed this pain point by enabling all data cleaning to be completed within OESS itself.

Once completed, all the necessary artworks can be sourced and published onto the main Mall Galleries website via an API feed. This reduces a laborious manual process, freeing up time for other tasks, like promoting events and marketing.

Artists uploading their works also have their own artist profiles on both the CMS and BigCommerce. Details such as biographies and methodologies about artists are better served on the main CMS.

And so, we integrated the CMS and BigCommerce elements of the site, allowing potential buyers to click through from ‘product’ pages hosted on BigCommerce to information pages hosted on the Drupal 10 CMS to learn more about the background of an artist they are looking to buy from.

The Drupal 10 CMS is being hosted on Pantheon. Pantheon was selected due to the quality of its support features and the close alignment it had with the specific requirements of Mall Galleries.


Art work and piece on display at Mall Galleries
Grab & drag

The result

Mall Galleries now benefits from a dynamic website that boasts an excellent Drupal 10 CMS, with a headless BigCommerce ecommerce element which is not directly reliant on the Drupal CMS.

The first six months performance has been excellent, their best year so far post-pandemic. Engagement rate increased by 60%, artwork submissions doubled for their annual exhibitions, and they achieved their highest value artwork sale ever through the website (x 5 previous best).

Throughout the project, the Un.titled team paid close attention to accessibility and performance scores, as well as the carbon footprint of the new website. As part of the build, our aim was to improve the benchmarks from their previous site, but also to meet the high standards that we have set for all our builds.

On the CMS, we have added our own theme files to the Drupal 10 base build. This has allowed us to improve accessibility score from 86 to 95, a significant enhancement to the site’s accessibility. We have also increased the sites performance by 84% and achieved a best-practice score of 100 for the ecommerce site.

The Mall Galleries team are very pleased that they selected Un.titled and Williams Commerce to design a new content website and introduce an ecommerce website to the operation. From the off we were guided by a professional, experienced team who understood our needs, especially regarding audience development; were not deterred to refine and improve on manual processes and unconnected software; and advised on an excellent approach. Clear objectives were set at the start with the modern user at the centre of the thinking.

A calm, organised, understanding and knowledgeable project manager guided us throughout the detailed process. This has been essential given the digital knowledge within the organisation.

Mall Galleries now has a beautiful finished product of two connecting websites. The journey does not stop here. Un-titled and Williams Commerce will continue to work with us, keeping an eye on the objectives through a clear dashboard of KPIs to help us meet our user expectations in the best and most fruitful way.

What's more, the process has been fun and enlightening!

Clare O'Brien, CEO Mall Galleries/Federation of British Artists
0 95+ Improvement in accessibility score
0% 84%% Increase in site performance
0% 58% Engagement rate