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Umbraco Awards demonstrate diversity of digital solutions enabled by open-source CMS

An immersive ecommerce site, which conducts classical music lovers on a journey towards their ideal performance at the Stockholm Concert Hall, has won international recognition in the 2024 Umbraco Awards.

Each year, web developers from around the world gather at the Codegarden conference in Denmark to be updated on the Umbraco open-source web content management system (CMS), network with their peers, and share best practice. The conference concludes with a celebration of the year’s premier websites and digital projects built on Umbraco. More than a hundred projects were submitted for consideration, across seven categories, with the overall winner awarded Jury’s Choice

Danish digital agency, Gorm x Envision, won the Jury’s Choice for its development of Stockholm Konserthuset’s ecommerce site that treats visitors to a rich, multimedia experience, incorporating videos, animations, and an engaging interactive design that can be enjoyed on any device. Gorm x Envision also created sub sites, allowing choirs and orchestras to tell their individual brand stories. This allows site visitors to get behind the scenes, immerse themselves in the music and learn more about their favourite musicians before selecting their tickets. Editors take full advantage of Umbraco’s user-friendly interface to add fresh content about new performers. The new site design resulted in a 183% increase in visitors starting their journey on dedicated content pages, and a 20% uplift in conversion rates.

Praising the range and quality of this year’s award submissions, Umbraco CEO, Kim Sneum-Madsen, said. “The Umbraco Awards allow us to see and celebrate the exceptional digital experiences being built on Umbraco. We focus on providing a flexible, extensible platform, so that developers can build digital solutions tailored to their customers’ needs. We tune the instrument; our partners create the music.”

The Most Innovative Solution category was won by Dutch agency, Perplex Digital, for creating an omnichannel platform for Europe’s leading transport operator, Arriva Netherlands, including a trip planner and AI chatbot built on Umbraco, which seamlessly connects online and offline customer journeys.

The Arriva website and app content is centrally managed within a single Umbraco installation. Editors use the dashboard and intuitive content blocks to add real-time travel information, including updating station terminals. The Accessibility Checker and Translation Manager ensure that everyone can use the app and website to check for disruptions before starting their journey. Arriva’s revenue management is also built on Umbraco Commerce, allowing conductors to issue fines with a QR code which facilitates instant payment. The judges observed that, “Perplex has created a user-friendly and editor-friendly omnichannel experience that has made a substantial impact, while also saving Arriva 35% on development costs, 40% on maintenance and with a 30% faster time to market.”

The Best Umbraco Commerce Solution was won by Leeds digital agency, Enjoy Digital, for crafting a global digital experience for British fabric manufacturer, Camira, best-known for supplying the seat covers used on the London Underground.

Camira needed a high-performance ecommerce platform that made it easy for customers worldwide to discover and purchase their fabrics online. Enjoy Digital re-platformed the Camira site to Umbraco, integrating Next.JS, a new delivery API, and Umbraco Commerce, using a bespoke REST API. Enjoy Digital delivered a multi-lingual site, with localised content and pricing, that vastly improved the user experience. The new site allows dynamic pricing, stock and local tax information to be displayed, which are crucial for a global retailer, along with customised pricing for Camira’s trade customers.

Commenting on the award, Oliver Picton, Technical Head at Enjoy Digital, said, “This project was testament to the power of using Umbraco and Umbraco Commerce to solve complex digital challenges and we are delighted that this has been recognised by the judges. By combining Next.JS and Umbraco Commerce we have created a solution that is scalable and extensible, both now and in the future.”

This is the second consecutive year that Enjoy Digital has been recognised by the Umbraco Awards judges, following the agency’s development of a virtual assistant for paint company, Valspar, which won Best Umbraco Partner Solution in 2023.

The Best Umbraco Cloud solution was won by Kent-based integrated visual marketing agency, Visarc, for the mobile-friendly digital experience platform (DXP) developed for KGM motors UK, which allows customers to manage their KGM vehicles and value-added services on the go. The UK national site integrates KGM’s microservice for used car valuations, which interfaces with an API provided by vehicle valuation experts, with dynamic data drawn from a centralised location within Umbraco. The DXP features a customer zone, synchronised with Salesforce CRM, which also serves a network of customisable retailer websites for KGM’s 70 UK dealers and allows KGM to quickly onboard new dealers.

Commenting on the agility afforded by Umbraco Cloud, Visarc Technical Lead, Nik Bennett, said, “The KGM DXP taps into Umbraco Baselines, this feature has been game-changing, and is a core reason for selecting Umbraco Cloud. The parameter-driven workflow reduces the time required to spin up a new data website from days to hours. Umbraco Deploy ensures that any changes across the platform go live smoothly. The use of the new continuous deployment pipeline gave more control during the project’s high-paced development cycle.”

Best Designed Site was won by Glaswegian digital agency Screen Media for the creation of a slick site for digital payments processor, Thredd which demonstrates how a meticulously designed layout, with visual cues and thoughtful content placement, can successfully guide user journeys and encourage enquiries.

To convey the Thredd’s strategy to become part of the fabric of global payment partners’ operations, Screen Media incorporated weaving-inspired imagery throughout the site. From eye-catching header graphics down to the smallest details, users are guided to explore key products and services. The site includes a bespoke configurator to help potential customers to match their requirements to the brand’s services and navigate the range to find the most suitable product.

Commenting on the award win, Andrew Bruce, Experience Design Lead at Screen Media, said, “Thredd’s revitalised site has been attributed to a 300% increase in traffic and a 900% increase in leads. This is testament to the measurable impact that thoughtful design has on the online user experience.”

The Best Editing Experience was won by Minneapolis digital agency, Emergent Software, for its creation of a multi-lingual website for global finance and asset management firm, Burford Capital, which allows editors to easily create custom pages and manage region-specific content.

Judges were impressed by the custom block editing experience created by Emergent Software, which allows authors to choose from a wide library of component types when making a page, while ensuring that the site follows Burford Capital’s brand guidelines. To avoid duplication of work, a library of reusable content can be referenced. The Umbraco backoffice provides a live preview of the page, as authors are adding content.

Relevant content is served to suit the user’s context, based on the region selected. Rather than requiring authors to create a page in each language, custom logic was created so that the site shows the global elements for the second language, such as the header and footer, while page content reverts to the default language, ensuring that the page exists in all regions, even if it is not published. Authors can then easily add in localised content for individual regions. Kevin Meilander, Senior Software Engineer, at Emergent Software commented, “With the flexible editing experience, enabled by the block editor, coupled with innovative ways of managing regional content, authors will be able to easily manage the Burford Capital site for years to come.”

Best Partner Solution – was won by global digital agency, DEPT®, for the cutting-edge website it developed for Fastned, a provider of fast-charging stations powering electric vehicles throughout Europe.

Focusing on the user experience, DEPT created an interactive platform that is more engaging and accessible, with content that serves a diverse audience of EV drivers and investors. The new site features a refined scrolling function which delivers an immersive experience, which works seamlessly on all platforms, allowing users to step into the future and experience the look and feel of Fastned’s iconic, nature-inspired EV station designs in different weather conditions. Celebrating the project’s success, Veronica Soliman, Global Marketing Manager at DEPT, said, “As Fastned continues on its mission to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles, the new website is helping to convert prospects into loyal users of the fast-charging network.”

Congratulating all of the finalists and winners, Kim Sneum-Madsen said, “We strive to provide an open-source platform that continues to meet evolving business needs and opportunities. It’s very rewarding to see the measurable differences that our partners have made to user experiences and their clients’ businesses through creative and thoughtful use of Umbraco.”