The new Maropeng website: an evolutionary process

  • May 08, 2013

The striking new website is easy to navigate, having been designed with the visitor in mind

Maropeng, the official visitor centre for the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, has launched its new-look website at www.maropeng.co.za. The new site hosts a wealth of information pertaining to Maropeng and its sister site, the Sterkfontein Caves.

"Our previous website served us well for six years, but with technology moving as fast as it does, we realised that it was time to upgrade in order to avoid being left behind," says Lindsay Marshall, marketing manager of Maropeng and the Sterkfontein Caves.

The Cradle of Humankind is world renowned as a fossil excavation site, which means the Maropeng team is well acquainted with the principles of evolution.

The revamped website reflects the natural beauty and the scientific significance of Maropeng and the Sterkfontein Caves

"A major part of the exhibitions at Maropeng and the Sterkfontein Caves focuses on Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, which argues that organisms that are able to adapt to changes in their environment survive, while those that don't adapt become extinct," says Lindsay.

While natural selection can take millions of years to propagate at species level, the Internet is far more fickle.

"What's new and fresh today is not likely to stay that way for more than a few years," says Lindsay. "Regular audits of maropeng.co.za showed us that the time was right to bring about a change to ensure that our site stays relevant and fresh."

The new Maropeng website is built on a more stable and scalable platform. Reatile Tshikalange, senior web developer at Flow Communications, Maropeng's digital communications partner, explains why this is important.

"Websites are being used to house more and more complex information, but users are demanding an interface that is less complex. The way we solve this conundrum is by developing more advanced site architecture that supports a simpler user journey through an ever-increasing amount of information."

For visitors to the site, the most striking difference is the new design.

"We were looking for a new look that would reflect both the natural beauty and the scientific significance of Maropeng and the Sterkfontein Caves," explains Lindsay. "We believe the new site delivers on this requirement. It showcases everything we have to offer at our two sites, including our exhibitions, tours and educational resources, as well as our hospitality offering – restaurants, accommodation, conferencing and eventing.

"It also serves as a portal for news and hosts a booking engine for public excavation visits, stargazing evenings and special events like Mother's Day and Valentine's Day functions.

"It's also easy to navigate, having been designed with the visitor in mind."

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