​Culture Northern Ireland required a new responsive website with a reworked information architecture to highlight the range of artistic events happening throughout Northern Ireland. The site needed to tie in with third party event software and also handle Google Advertising and allow users to update their own information.


Culture NI is Northern Ireland's leading arts and cultural website, covering music, film, literature, heritage, sport, dance, theatre, the visual arts and much more besides.

With thousands of articles, features, Q&As, reviews, profiles, event listings and multimedia content, Culture NI is Northern Ireland's most popular arts and culture website, a unique and exciting resource for cultural information and arts marketing.

For those searching for things to do in Northern Ireland in the arts and sports, or to take part in arts and cultural activities in Belfast, Derry, or any of the six counties of Northern Ireland, Culture NI is here for you.

Culture Northern Ireland approached BT48 to:

  • create their new responsive website
  • integrate the site with LineUp to handle their event management
  • manage ad display using Google DoubleClick for Publishers
  • migrate over 10000 articles from their legacy system

When we launched our completely revamped website we were very happy with the way the site turned out, and our experience with the BT48 team. They took our old website with outdated layout, fonts,, non- responsive etc., and transformed it into a modern, flexible and attractive site.

David Lewis
    • CNI on Desktop

The Solution

Working closely with the digital team at the Nerve Centre we restructured the content to reflect what users were looking for. Following intensive user research we created an updated brand and design guidelines to reflect the modern approach Culture Northern Ireland needed.

The site was built in a mobile-first, responsive manner, with a very simple to understand navigation which works seamlessly on all device sizes - desktops, tablets, and mobiles.

We built in a system for page layouts that allows Culture Northern Ireland to create a variety of custom page styles. This allows the site admins to publish their text, image and video content in a variety of ways, always communicating in the most effective manner on all devices.


A key requirement of the Culture Northern Ireland project was the migration of over 10,000 pieces of content from an existing legacy system into Drupal. The migration had to maintain existing user accounts, files, tags and categories. Using the Feeds Module we were able to consistently update the Drupal site during the 4 week migration process - maintaining URL integrity and ensuring no loss in SEO rankings as a result of the migration.

Enterprise class search

With an archive of content dating back over 12 years it was imperative that the search engine on the site was fast, usable and accurate. Drupal’s core search is limited when your users are looking to carry out sophisticated searches. Using Solr to enhance the search capabilities of Drupal can deliver enterprise quality search for a fraction of the cost. Solr is the popular open source enterprise search platform from Apache. Its major features include:

  1. powerful full-text search,
  2. hit highlighting,
  3. faceted search,
  4. “More like this” blocks,
  5. searching within documents (e.g., Word, PDF)

Solr powers the search and navigation features of many of the world's largest internet sites including Whitehouse.gov, Netflix, Instagram and AOL. By utilising the power of Solr with the flexibility of Drupal we ensured that Culture Northern Ireland is easy and efficient to search.

Advertising integration

A central feature of the new Culture Northern Ireland website is the ability to monetise the site through online advertising. Culture Northern Ireland chose to use Google DoubleClick for Publishers as their advertising partner. We created features to more easily allow users to add specific ads and campaigns across sections and sub-sections of the site

The team is a good mix of left and right brains. When we met with them to discuss the project, we were impressed with how easy they are to communicate with—just real, down to earth, approachable people that don't talk over your head with tech jargon.

David Lewis
    • CNI on Mobile
    • CNI Tablet

The Results

Though the timeline was very tight, we were delighted to work with the Nerve Centre on the Culture Northern Ireland project. We restructured the information, added enterprise-class searching using the SOLR search engine and created a clean and modern front-end design for the website.

When complete, Culture Northern Ireland told us that not alone had we made great changes to their workflows, allowing them to get much more work done, but also that their page views, users and visits from mobile devices all increased after the site relaunch.