The Vernon Browser module is a tool that integrates into Vernon CMS to share your collection. You have precise control over what collection data is published. It offers a full range of features to make your collection accessible.
We have developed the Browser module to allow for extensive customisation. Our Browser templates have built-in support for common online collections features. You can see the default unbranded templates in action at browser.vernonsystems.com. For most sites we host the Vernon Browser web server, managing maintenance and updates.
There are three broad approaches to developing an online collection website using the Browser module. This post outlines the three approaches and focuses on the simplest solution – an online collection microsite.
Option 1: Customising our templates to closely match an existing website
Often our users integrate Vernon Browser directly into an existing website. We can mimic your branding and navigation to create a seamless transition between different sections of your website. For example The Frick Pittsburgh‘s main website leads to the online collection built using Vernon Browser’s templates. The header and footer are identical, down to animations, and the navigation is consistent.
It can be time-consuming for us to duplicate the design of an existing website. Future changes to the main website design may also impact on the design within the Vernon Browser online collection. For some clients the parent websites are complex, such as for city councils and universities where the museum or gallery is just a small part of a much bigger organisation. It usually does not make sense to replicate the design of the large organisation website within the Browser templates.
Option 2: Using the API to display the collection data in another application
You can make the collection data available in a machine-readable format using Vernon Browser’s application programming interface (API). This is for you if you have specific needs, such as multiple sources of data to present in one web interface, and a healthy development budget. The online collection data from Vernon Browser could be used by a 3rd party system, like a web content management system.
Option 3: Customising our templates to build a stand-alone microsite
Building a stand-alone microsite is the least complicated way to publish your collection online with the Browser templates. Microsites use our generic Vernon Browser templates with only simple changes to the branding. Typically this includes the addition of a logo, custom colours and fonts, and some static introductory text, images and links on the main ‘Explore the Collection’ page. Other than a link to go to your main organisation website, the menu and links refer to exploring the online collection.
You can see a microsite in action on the Nelson Provincial Museum website. When you choose the option to “Search our collections online” you call up the Nelson Provincial Museum’s Vernon Browser microsite. As you can see the microsite has all the features you would expect. It lands on a responsive page with featured collections, search options, and tags for the different types of objects their collection. To see how this differs from another microsite, we have River and Rowing Museum in the UK. The “View the collection” option leads to the River and Rowing Museum Vernon Browser microsite.
As you can see by comparing the two microsites, they each immediately showcase the unique collections while displaying the basic brand identity of the institution.
Because microsites are largely based on our generic templates, it’s really quick for us to build one of these sites. There’s typically one day of development involved in getting one up and running. To learn more or to get a quote, you can contact us by email or via the Vernon Systems website.