Abbotsford Convent website


  • Ellis Jones
  • Abbotsford Convent
  • Bone


Changes to digital infrastructure presented an opportunity for the Abbotsford Convent Foundation (ACF) to strategically evolve its digital presence, to better meet tenant, visitor and organisational needs. That experience centres on the Abbotsford Convent website.

Our creative partnership with the convent began by aligning the project with ACF strategic priorities:

• Bring the ‘Convent-as-platform’ to the fore for tenants, collaborators, partners and visitors alike.
• Cultivate and express an authentic sense of place through the digital experience.
• Surface organisational purpose, values and impact.
• Ensure visibility of programming as paramount.
• Facilitate (and measure) rental bookings, ticket sales, new tenancies, visitor attendance and donations.

Key Features


The design supports the transmission of clear functional information and delight with a curated showcase of events, tenants and experiences on offer. Users can search and filter content by time depending on their interests and needs.

The colour story of the site shifts throughout the day and night, with hues drawn from the convent surrounds. A vibrant ‘story tracer’ (tracking the cursor) follows the user around the homepage – a visual clue that they too ‘leave a trace’ on this place.

Images are housed in frames whose shapes are derived from the layered architecture of the Convent buildings: windows, archways, gables.


The new Abbotsford Convent website heroes the visitor experience that makes the precinct so alive in the physical world. An experience that is at once rooted in architecture but serendipitous in cultural exchange.

Furthermore, the function of fundraising and donation has been refined and more strategically integrated into the user experience – a necessary improvement for a not-for-profit reliant on philanthropy to keep those experiences going for another 100 years.


The updated website reimagines how the consumer views and engages with issues of space, design, and place. As COVID has highlighted, having a digital presence enables the community to stay connected and engaged to physical space, much like the design of the website ties in with the architecture of the space and challenges the chasm between physical and digital realms.


Investigation involved in-depth qualitative research, in the form of stakeholder surveys and interviews defining key user personas; a thorough audit of the existing site and researched comparative and analogous precincts; and co-design workshops with ACF to produce functional requirements, revised content architecture, and desired user behaviour and experience. All enriched by insights from stakeholder research.

Our creative response to user experience and interface was driven by guiding principles stating that the new site must be:

• a contemporary interpretation of place;
• not pastiche or facsimile;
• willing to ‘break’ the perfect;
• inclusive, not exclusive; and
• brave, rich, alive (linking URL & IRL)

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