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Case Study: Mythstories’ website gets an overhaul

Ali and Dez from Mythstories describe the impact working with the Digital Culture Network has had on their website. A case study from January 2021.

About the organisation

Mythstories is where words work. Based in Shrewsbury, our museum holds a collection of storytelling artefacts and a library of folktales. Before Covid-19 we ran regular family storywalks and workshops, held performances and events and hosted school visits and training courses. For over 20 years we have organised funded projects with storytelling at their heart. Much of our work is out of doors, much is with young people – encouraging them to explore oral heritage and become young storytellers.

Mythstories began as a website specifically designed to use traditional stories as a teaching tool. In 1999 it became one of the original 32 sites on the National Grid for Learning.

What did you want to achieve?

Mythstories is a small, cash-strapped, charity with a big website. Over the years this had expanded to include more stories, more activities and projects. We’d been able to source the occasional funds to ‘tidy up’ parts of the site, but it needed a good overhaul if it was to continue to be used by schools. It was not responsive to tablets or mobiles, and – most of all – the navigation was no longer intuitive.

What led you to contact the Digital Culture Network?

When Covid-19 forced lockdowns, we were lucky enough to get an Emergency Response Grant from Arts Council England, which came with an invitation to get in touch with the Digital Culture Network.

How did you do it?

We seized this opportunity to get free advice from a Tech Champion. They showed us how to analyse what people would get from our website. After following their guidance we ended up with a really good plan to make sure users could discover the stories, activities or information relevant to them. But it was beyond the skill of our volunteers – we still needed the money to realise the plan.

What happened?

We put the guidance we had received in an application to the Heritage Emergency Fund and they were able to understand the need and provide the funding. After three months’ hard work our website was ready to launch. And just as the need for online educational content was at its highest. Our first user (a regular) said “I didn’t know there was so much on it!” as she discovered unfamiliar pages. The officer from our local Arts & Culture bridge organisation said “Wowee – what a transformation”. It is marvellous to get our free educational resources to where they are needed.

What is your advice to others who might be considering reaching out the Digital Culture Network?

We could not have done this without the Digital Culture Network. The Tech Champion respected our level of knowledge and talked to us in words we could understand about concepts we feared were beyond us. And they gave us a way to overcome what had seemed an insuperable hurdle.

What’s next?

The Digital Culture Network is here to support you and your organisation. Our Tech Champions can provide free 1-2-1 support to all arts and cultural organisations who are in receipt of, or eligible for, Arts Council England funding. If you need help or would like to chat with us about any of the advice we have covered above, please get in touch. Sign up for our newsletter below and follow us on Twitter @ace_dcn for the latest updates.

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