Awarded to Clearleft Ltd

Start date: Monday 6 January 2020
Value: £100,000
Company size: SME
The Natural History Museum

Wildlife Photographer of the Year (WPY) site redesign

19 Incomplete applications

17 SME, 2 large

31 Completed applications

30 SME, 1 large

Important dates

Friday 9 August 2019
Deadline for asking questions
Friday 16 August 2019 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Friday 23 August 2019 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
We require a supplier to work with us to develop a digital product from alpha to beta, that meets the needs of our users, and converts commercially. The outcome must be a digital property we have built as a partnership and can internally test and build upon.
Latest start date
Monday 30 September 2019
Expected contract length
We would expect this work to be completed within three to four months.
Organisation the work is for
The Natural History Museum
Budget range
We can spend between £80,000 to £100,000 on this project.

About the work

Why the work is being done
The Natural History Museum (NHM) is one of the UK’s most popular visitor attractions, with five million people visiting every year.

The Wildlife Photographer of the Year (WPY) is the Museum's annual flagship exhibition. The exhibition is successful for the NHM and is one of our largest sources of income. However, the microsite poses a number of problems, including a poor customer experience and inflexibility.

We have guiding principles to focus the redesign:
o Make every piece of content a node to discover.
o Remove friction and increase flow – both for our audiences, and internally.
o Showcase our content.
Problem to be solved
1. To convert commercially - in terms of tickets, retail, donations and membership.
2. To encourage year long interest in wildlife photography
3. To improve user journeys between the WPY microsite, the competition entry page, the captions app, the exhibition landing page on and our booking funnel.
4. To create a cohesive experience between the WPY brand and the NHM.
Who the users are and what they need to do
The WPY microsite has four key external audiences:

'As a competition entrant, I need to use the microsite to submit photography to the competition'
'As an amateur photographer, I need to use the website to gain ore information on NHM's 100 winning photographs, and for inspiration'
'As a nature enthusiast, I would like to learn more about the landscapes and wildlife documented'
'As a physical exhibition visitor, I need to find out where the exhibition is, for how long it's running, how to buy tickets online, and how to translate content into another language.'
Early market engagement
We have completed two weeks of Discovery work with a digital agency which included 100 hours of stakeholder interviews and ideation workshops.

We agree with all findings and suggestions. This includes the key opportunities for WPY online:
o WPY has amazing brand recognition and international reputation.
o It has the opportunity to become a temple and a broadcaster.
o It’s a perennial topic, with peaks of interest.
o Integrity rungs deep in the competition – starting with our judging panel of international experts.
o We’ll aim to increase revenue, but not at any cost.

And the guiding principles to help focus the redesign:
o We need a deep dive into our audiences.
o Make every piece of content a node to discover more.
o We need to remove friction and increase flow – both for our audiences online, and within the Museum.
o And finally, we need to get out of the way of our content - and make sure the photographs, our written content, and the science are easily accessible to everyone.

A second sprint of work to concluded the Discovery phase and included user interviews, an element collage and high level gallery page designs.
Any work that’s already been done
As well as the work already completed with an agency, we have various research papers that were informed by feedback from physical visitors to the exhibition.
Existing team
The successful agency will work with our Digital Media and Marketing team (DMM), and in particular:
• Product Manager, Commercial
• Content Manager, Commercial
• Senior Web Developer
• UX Lead

In addition, the successful agency will work with multiple stakeholders around the Museum:
• WPY team
• Communications team
• Development (ie the team that works with our Partners/Sponsors
• Marketing
• Design
• Touring
• Retail
• Our backend IT team
• Project Office
• Interpretation
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Our team is based in the NHM, Cromwell Road in London. The supplier should be able to travel to the Museum as and when necessary.
Working arrangements
In terms of working arrangements, we anticipate a mix off on-site and off-site working - and would require the chosen agency to work within NHM for two to three days a week. We can arrange security passes for all supplier workers. We require a team who will fully integrate with our team, sharing their knowledge and insight; working in the open and demonstrating good agile product delivery practice. This will help our internal team to build their skills as a result of this collaborative working.
Security clearance

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions

Skills and experience

Buyers will use the essential and nice-to-have skills and experience to help them evaluate suppliers’ technical competence.

Essential skills and experience
  • Please demonstrate your skills and expertise in the following (ie case studies):
  • Demonstrable experience delivering large-scale and image-heavy websites as part of a large multidisciplinary agile team (client-side) as a digital agency with a full complement of roles. 5%
  • Delivering digital products that bring multiple users, sites and functions into one web presence. 2%
  • Planning and managing a phased roll out of new website architecture and demonstrable experience of having developed a website from alpha to beta. 3%
  • Conducting user research alongside analysing existing research to ensure good understanding of users and needs; to improve user engagement, user satisfaction and commercial conversions. 3%
  • Experience delivering digital products as part of partnership – including with PMs, UX, UI, devs and with existing backend systems – to improve the digital product and process. 4%
  • Providing a flexible digital product that our internal teams can update and build upon – in terms of UX, UI, content and code – to accommodate evolving business requirements. 3%
  • Show examples of working with existing backend systems, DAMs and CMS to deliver a website section whilst also improving the process. 3%
  • Please demonstrate your skills and experience in delivering digital services with a cultural institution or charity, or the closest equivalent. 1%
Nice-to-have skills and experience
Please demonstrate your skills and experience in delivering digital services with a cultural institution or charity, or the closest equivalent. 1%

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Relevance of proposed technical solution. 10%
  • How the approach/solution will drive better engagement, UX, and commercial conversions. 10%
  • Demonstrate an agile working environment. 5%
  • Demonstrate relevant skills and expertise of the team and ability to work as a partnership. 5%
  • Estimated timeframes: proposed programme for alpha and beta phases. 5%
  • Relevance of identified risks and proposals for mitigating against them. 3%
  • How the approach or solution meets user needs. 3%
Cultural fit criteria
  • Demonstrate how you will work with our in-house Product Managers, Content and UX/UI team, to deliver the UX and UI as a partnership. 5%
  • Demonstrate how you will work with our developers to deliver the code as a partnership – so our team fully understands all technical decisions and no ‘silos’ are created. 5%
  • Demonstrate how you will work with the Museum collaboratively and share your approach with the project team and wider Museum to seek actionable feedback. 5%
Payment approach
Fixed price
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Case study
  • Reference
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Should the first question be ignored or would you like us to include a summary of our case studies in this first box? "Please demonstrate your skills and expertise in the following (ie case studies):"
The statement is guidance on how to answer the remaining bullet points within 'Essential skills and experience', and doesn't need to be answered as a question.
2. Are you looking for multiple case studies? We have only 100 words per question.
We require each supplier to demonstrate relevant experience for each of the Essential skills and experience - case studies are just an example of how a supplier might supply evidence of this experience.
3. The previous digital marketplace opportunity noted "current technical strategy which intends to use a headless CMS, APIs, dynamic data and content services to deliver a component-based solution." This information is not in this opportunity, though is this technical approach still broadly correct?
Yes it is still broadly correct.
4. The question "Please demonstrate your skills and experience in delivering digital services with a cultural institution or charity, or the closest equivalent" is repeated in the Essential skills & Nice-to-have skills. Is this intentional, and if so, what information do you require in the second question in the nice-to-have skills section?
This was a mistake, and should only be in the 'Nice-to-have skills' section. Thank you for checking.
5. If you wish to meet public sector accessibility guidelines can you confirm the core user experience on the WPY microsite needs to work without JavaScript (JavaScript can then be used to layer on additional interactivity for users using progressive enhancement)?
Yes that's correct, we need to meet all public sector accessibility guidelines for the core user experiences.
6. Can you tell us what CMS and/or DAM you currently use and whether these will remain in place? f not, do you have a preference for new CMS/DAM?
Our CMS is Adobe Experience Manager. We would like to manage some of the content for the WPY site in this CMS and make it available as an API to be utilised by a separate front-end. We also have a database with additional images and content, and this has an HTTP JSON API available which we intend to utilise.
7. Are you happy to share any findings or reports from the Discovery phase?
A 'light' version of the report can be found here:
8. What back-end CMS platform do you plan to use to power content for the WPY site (based on the headless CMS approach)? Is this Adobe Experience Manager (which your main site appears to use)?
Our CMS is Adobe Experience Manager. We would like to manage some of the content for the WPY site in this CMS and make it available as an API to be utilised by a separate front-end. We also have a database with additional images and content, and this has an HTTP JSON API available which we intend to utilise.
9. Are you able to provide more details about your technical set up, for example current CMS, hosting architecture, general coding languages and libraries used etc.
In terms of front-end tech stack, we anticipate using HTML, CSS and JavaScript - possibly making use of React or a similar JavaScript framework - but this depend on the functionality of the site and will need to be agreed in due course. The end product needs a codebase that we can easily maintain and grow going forward.

We manage deployments via Jenkins.
10. Do you have a timeline for the shortlisting and choosing supplier process? Will there be an opportunity to meet face-to-face to explore this project in more detail with you?
We hope to shortlist and select suppliers within 2 - 3 weeks of the opportunity closing. Sorry please could you explain at which stage you may like to meet face-to-face?
11. Do you currently have a testing platform, for example like Optimizely, for optimisation and testing of content on the site?
We currently use Optimize (Google) for A/B testing, but are open to other options.
12. What is your current browser support matrix?
As a rule of thumb, we support the current stable browser version plus the two previous versions of Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Safari, as long as they have more than 1% usage by our visitors. In terms of supported operating systems, we support browsers that have more than 1% usage by our visitors on the current version of Windows, OS X, Android and iOS, plus the two previous versions to the best of our ability.
13. Do you have a current panel of testing candidates you work with, or would these need to be recruited?
We don't currently have a panel, but complete guerrilla usability testing within the Museum itself, and complete other types of testing online. Ideally we will be able to work with the chosen agency to recruit users for testing.
14. Is the expectation that WPY should remain as part of the main site, or could it be spun off entirely into its own site?
This has not been fully decided - however as we hope to strengthen the cohesion between WPY and NHM, and ticketing takes place on the main NHM site, it may be beneficial to keep the microsite as part of the main site.
15. Can you confirm the high-level requirements are to collaboratively work with your team to design and build a microsite for WPY and to deliver this to your internal team to host? Or do you also require hosting assistance from the supplier?
For the first question - yes that's correct.

So for the second question, no. However even though we’ll be hosting the microsite on our own infrastructure, but there may need to be some collaboration/assistance between the selected supplier and our internal platforms team. We would expect the new site to be developed on a platform we currently support, such as Node. We would like to discuss this as early as possible once the supplier is selected.
16. Could you elaborate on what is meant by the sentence “get out of the way of content”? Do WPY wish to audit their current content as part of this project?
We believe that we can showcase both the images and our related content better with a new design, which we've termed 'getting out of the way of our content'. There is also scope to audit/add/remove different strands of content if deemed necessary for our users (examples include adding WPY content from the 'Discover' section to the site, adding input from our scientists, adding our social media content to the site etc).
17. Has any research previously been done with end users e.g. user interviews? Will this be available to the agency awarded the contract?
Yes, we have conducted 12 interviews as part of the Discovery phase (ie three interviews each of our four core audiences), and all information will be fully available to the selected supplier. In addition, we have various audience and visitor reports completed by the Museum's Audience Insights team that we will also share with the selected agency.
18. Are there any exemplar websites that WPY really like or aspire to?
Not with specific regards to WPY - however the websites for both the National Geographic and the V&As are often referenced.
19. You have mentioned that you worked with an agency for the discovery phase. Are this agency a potential partner for the delivery phase? If not, what has excluded them?
Yes they are a potential partner and if they complete an application they will be considered.
20. Do you have a current technical strategy?
In terms of our technical strategy, we are moving towards an API-based model, where a front-end would utilise content that is output as an API. We would like the WPY site to follow this model. Our main performance KPI’s are: Time To Interactive of 3 seconds or less on Slow 3G mobile connection, and a Page Speed Performance score of 70/100 or more on mobile.
21. Will you be undergoing GDS assessments through the project?
22. When working in a partnership, a good fit is essential – how would you describe the core values that define your company culture?
Within the Digital team at NHM, we are customer-centric, curious, committed, collaborative and connected.
23. In the brief you talk about the successful agency working with multiple stakeholders within NHM; how does this group currently coordinate, collaborate and communicate?
Mainly via emails, workshops, scheduled recurring meetings and playbacks. However we are happy to take guidance from the selected supplier if they have suggestions.
24. Please detail what success looks like for this project, as well as any obstacles that are potential risks to the project
Our objectives are:

1. To convert commercially - in terms of tickets, retail, donations and membership.
2. To encourage year long interest in wildlife photography
3. To improve user journeys between the WPY microsite, the competition entry page, the captions app, the exhibition landing page on and our booking funnel.
4. To create a cohesive experience between the WPY brand and the NHM.

In terms of obstacles, we don't anticipate anything out of the ordinary for a project of this sort. (Hope that helps!)
25. Will any other front ends consume the content from AEM, or will the website be the only channel?
Yes, other front ends may consume the winners API – ie the captions app.
26. Will competition submissions be handled via the AEM APIs? If not, will this be via another existing system or will it need to be delivered into a data repository by the appointed supplier?
No – the competition portal is a separate existing system.
27. Will the AEM back end handle any mark-up within its content containers?
Can you clarify – do you mean content services? If yes, the idea is that AEM will only provide the content, not the mark up.
28. Will internationalisation be extended to the full site content, or remain as a subsection as with the 2018 site?
Are you referring to the captions app (currently separate)? Please explain with more detail.
29. Will we be working within NHM’s systems for collaborative working and documentation, or will these be provisioned by the appointed supplier?
Probably yes, but we are happy to take guidance from the chosen supplier. We currently use JIRA and Slack.
30. You have stated that you would like the new site to be developed on a platform you currently support. In addition to Adobe Experience Manager and Node – do you support any other technologies at any part / layer of the stack?
We use AEM and Node but we are open to exploring other options if there’s a good use case.
31. We note that you are looking to deliver both a headless CMS using JSON endpoints and a fully non-javascript accessible experience. Are you anticipating delivering this via an isomorphic rendering approach in javascript, or a fallback to AEM server-side rendering using AEM in a hybrid mode? If the former, are Vue or React acceptable frameworks? If the latter, who would be responsible for the AEM integration?
Our current preference is an isomorphic-type approach (or static site generation) using a framework like React or Vue consuming AEM in headless mode. Could you give more details on how a hybrid mode works within AEM?
32. Are there any other systems other than AEM and Optimize within the scope of integration, such as analytics, cookie consents management, customer data management and marketing tools? Are these existing tools used by NHM elsewhere, or will they need to be provisioned by the appointed supplier?
All these functions/systems will likely be required to some extent with the build. We do have existing systems for all of these but are open to suggested improvments.
33. After reviewing a number of questions and relevant answers in terms of your preferred choice of cms we'd like to be sure; are you moving towards headless application with Adobe driven backend or you're ok to migrate the system to alternate CMS, as long as it maintains the same features?
We would prefer a headless application with an Adobe driven backend.
34. With respect to on-site working, will travel expenses need to be included within the development budget?
35. How do you currently utilise your widespread brand recognition and social media following to help achieve your goals for WPY?
In a way almost everything we do on social on NHM or WPY channels leverages our brand, but non-social media examples include partnerships - such as with Davos last year. We strive to create engaging digital content that would be shared widely on social, driving traffic to the website and selling tickets as a result. Social media also helps in raising awareness of the competition and increasing entries to the competition. Lastly, we utilise social media to engage with influential photographers, industry peers and journalists, and to ensure WPY features in online conversations and debates about conservation and the environment.
36. Can we see any more information on the Discovery outputs at this stage that would cast more light on the high level scope (user stories etc)? Is further user research required, or is that considered complete?
Here are some of the outputs from Sprint 2:

We would require more user testing throughout the delivery.

In addition to the findings and suggestions in the document, we also have an element collage and a suggested UI for the gallery image page, which will both be shared with the successful agency.