reimagine and rebuild digital presence on a headless architecture

Giving Victorian families much needed support during the most difficult times in their lives; this is not an everyday task for most organisations. But for the Greater Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust (GMCT) this happens every day of the year. GMCT aspires to be the trusted partner for all Victorians through their experiences of life, death and grief and provides burial, cremation and memorialisation services to meet the needs of families and communities across 19 locations in greater Melbourne, Victoria.

client

Greater Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust

focus

reimagine and rebuild entire digital presence


the challenge

At the end of 2019, GMCT approached We are you with a straight forward question: can We are you reimagine and rebuild GMCT’s entire digital presence within three months? The website needed to be user-friendly, be easy to maintain and would become the central hub for all digital content and access to other digital channels. The new platform had to complement significant investment in a new cemetery management system and be scalable . to support new digital propositions and services that would arise in the future. 

This website project was part of the larger digital transformation program that was led by Digital Frontier Partners. 

one team

GMCT was keen to work closely together with We are you and wanted to be part of the development process and design/UX improvements. Using our best practices, we pulled together a small but dedicated We are you team to work agile and transparently with GMCT as one team. This allowed for the client to observe progress closely and comment on user stories on a daily basis. This way of work was not only beneficial to keep track of our process, but also allowed for swift UI and UX improvements and recommendations for the new website. This close teamwork laid down a solid relationship based on mutual trust and transparency.

headless architecture

The website was developed using React and NextJS. This allows for a standalone frontend to connect to a backend and display its data. It can run fully in a Docker container hosted in any container hosting service with no persistent data, making it easy to scale up, down, or be relocated. This method also means no downtime when code changes or redeployments happen since a Docker container is pre-built in CI and simply reactivated at its desired location. Azure App Service was chosen as the container hosting service for this website as it is fast, reliable, and the instance size can scale up or down in minutes as the website traffic grows or shrinks. Integration of deceased and location maps was done with the 3rd party Cemetery Management System and IntraMaps APIs. Website content is loaded in realtime from Contentful, a headless CMS.

contactless flower delivery during covid-19 period

Recently, when Covid-19 started to impact the world around us and the business of our clients, GMCT and We are you met to brainstorm how we could use our digital channels to encourage everyone to stay at home to help slow the spread of coronavirus while giving the community a way of feeling that their loved ones were being looked after. From a number of ideas, a new rapid service prototype was designed and implemented: Contactless Flower Delivery

The trial service (offered at five locations) allows customers to search for their loved one’s interment online and order the delivery of a floral tribute to the graveside, accompanied by a photo to cherish. The reception of this new service has been highly positive and GMCT is looking to expand this to more locations.

The headless architecture allowed us to build this service rapidly within 2-3 weeks.

results 

This project aimed to reimagine GMCT’s digital presence. It was a massive collaborative effort and our clients were impressed with the responsiveness demonstrated by the small dedicated team. Client changes requested in the morning at our daily stand-up meeting were completed for UAT by the afternoon, and our developers worked closely with GMCT’s team to ensure there were no surprises about what was being built and how GMCT’s end users would benefit. This was especially important to our clients, given they provide essential services to families and communities dealing with grief. With a launch timed to coincide with the organisation’s 10 year anniversary, the new website represented a new way for GMCT to engage with their customers, communities and business partners into the future.