Digital solutions for a historic landmark

Sector: Charity & Non-profit
Discipline: Digital, Strategy

At the heart of a historic city, Chester Cathedral encompasses worship, music, events and community. Stride’s task was to bring the diverse facets of the Cathedral’s offerings together online.

Our workshops and user feedback guided the identification of key objectives for the rebuild. A major goal was to boost event bookings and, consequently, revenue.

The revamped ‘What’s On’ section has led to a substantial increase in user engagement. This key section of the site now presents all cathedral events in a user-friendly and filterable system, enhancing the overall user experience. Following a CMS training session, the Cathedral team now manages events in-house. 

The cathedral team’s feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. We’re now continuously evolving the website through a monthly retainer, addressing new tasks and implementing innovative ideas.

Chester Cathedral’s history spans almost one thousand years and holds the stories of millions of people including medieval pilgrims, Civil War armies, Anglo-Saxon saints, Victorian visitors and everyone in between!

Showcasing the cathedral’s architecture, events, and research collections. We have completely reimagined the site’s navigation and information architecture – so that visitors can quickly find the information they’re looking for while also being encouraged to stay and explore the cathedral’s rich history and traditions.

Visual layouts of mobile designs for Chester Cathedral website

Rebuilding the website to modern standards meant ensuring the website was fully responsive. With approximately 50% of site’s visitors accessing it via mobile devices, we crafted a design with mobile optimisation as the focal point. This has resulted in a responsive website that offers users a visually appealing and intuitive experience, regardless of the device they use.

A key goal was to increase the number of event tickets sold online and streamline administrative tasks related to uploading event details. We initiated discussions with the Cathedral team and their ticketing provider, Ticketsolve, to grasp the challenges and explore potential solutions. Subsequently, we introduced a revamped strategy for this key website section, presenting cathedral events via a user-friendly and filterable system, enhancing the overall user experience. Following a comprehensive training session where we demonstrated the content management system (CMS), the Cathedral team now manages events in-house as well as other general website updates.

Visual layouts of designs for Chester Cathedral website

The use of high-quality photography in web design cannot be overstated. For this project, budget restrictions meant we couldn’t commission lots of new images. Instead, we sifted through previous photographic resources to unearth the images we felt captured the cathedral’s architecture and the essence and grandeur of the space. Images that showed people enjoying and interacting with the cathedral were also of utmost importance.

These images not only provide visitors with a glimpse of the cathedral’s beauty but, from a practical standpoint, they also aided navigation and wayfinding on the website. By providing clear visual cues and landmarks, they help visitors orient themselves and locate specific areas or points of interest within the cathedral.

Graphic visual of the Craft CMS back end used for Chester Cathedral website

We chose Craft CMS over WordPress for the Cathedral’s website for several reasons, primarily due to its user-friendly interface, advanced security features, and flexible content handling capabilities. Unlike WordPress, Craft CMS doesn’t confine you to rigid page templates; instead, we build content blocks, allowing for greater flexibility in page design.

This approach simplifies the process of arranging content, eliminating the need to adhere strictly to predefined templates. While WordPress can achieve similar flexibility with third-party plugins, this introduces additional development overheads and security risks. With Craft CMS, flexible page design is built-in, ensuring efficient and secure website development.

It’s been a pleasure to work with Stride throughout the creation of our brand-new web presence. Taking us back to its core purpose, they challenged our thinking, developed solutions to our needs, and moved onwards, delivering an outstanding website that stands above our competitors.  We’re delighted with our website and to have started out on a great journey with a wonderful team.

Kevin Baxter
Communications Director, Chester Cathedral

Expanded Footer

Utilising the website footer effectively keeps visitors on-site after reaching the bottom of a page. We strategically positioned a newsletter signup form to efficiently collect email addresses and a support section to encourage donations. Placing these elements in the footer capitalises on common visitor behaviour; individuals often scroll to the bottom of a page seeking contact information. This ensures visibility for the donation and email forms, maximising engagement opportunities.

What’s on Today

We created and implemented a “What’s On Today” widget at the top of the homepage, offering visitors today’s event overview. It dynamically retrieves pertinent information from the website’s event section, ensuring real-time updates for users.

Bespoke icons

We developed minimalist iconography specifically for the visitor information page. These icons serve to segment text fields, facilitating user navigation.

Created with a slender line weight, they complement the slim typography utilised throughout the website ensuring visual coherence.

Optimised for mobile

Approximately 50% of visitors accessed the previous website via mobile devices. A statistic we anticipate will continue to rise. We build using the latest HTML, CSS and PHP technologies to guarantee optimal performance across all platforms.

Stride understood our need for efficient user journey throughout the site and an event calendar that was user friendly as well more visually appealing (this was a huge issue on our old site). As a Cathedral our audience ranges from tourists and event goers to congregation and worship attendees. Stride took the time to understand our diverse and complex needs to create an incredible website for us.

Monica Escobedo​​​​
Marketing and Communications Officer, Chester Cathedral

Start your project today

For new enquiries, please get in touch with our director Wendy at or call 01244 641 648.