An Innovative New UX Design for Charlton Hall Auctioneers

Hookson’s striking new design made for a smooth user experience and enabled powerful online bidding and functionality

Our website design combined striking visuals with clear navigation

Charlton Hall – How Smart UX, Eye-Catching Visuals and Software Integration Delivered a Winning Website

Charlton Hall is an art and antiques auction house based in the town of West Columbia, South Carolina. Now in its 90th year, the business welcomes bids on a range of consignments. These are drawn from categories including Asian art & design, fine art, furniture, jewellery and timepieces.

A Pioneering Spirit

Charlton Hall has always embraced something of a pioneering spirit. It was, for example, the first regional auction house to produce an illustrated catalogue. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, when the internet began revolutionising the auction sector, the business was front of that queue too. The result? Charlton Hall became one of the world’s first three auction houses to offer online bidding.

A Welcome Addition

When the time arrived for a website redesign, Charlton Hall asked Hookson to step in. We couldn’t wait to get started and to welcome Charlton Hall to our growing list of auction-house clients. These include our website design work for Gorringe’s, Tajan and Toomey.

As well as showcasing a rapidly changing roll call of consignments, the new website would have to operate seamlessly with the leading auction-house software system Charlton Hall already relied upon.

Beginning with a Flexible WordPress Design

Although a previous design had included key content like auction dates, invitations to consign and the company’s history, the time was right for a new aesthetic and functionality. These would celebrate and showcase Charlton Hall’s eclectic inventory, speak to its new global audience and offer exciting, visitor-pleasing features.

Building out the site on WordPress would provide an agile base for this new, feature-filled website. Then, from a robust template, we would go on to customise the site, culminating in a unique, responsive design solution.

Developing a Design Strategy

By their nature, auction houses are home to arresting and beautiful items. Following consultation with our client, large and striking visuals of these stunning consignment items would lead our design strategy.

With collections from entire estates often characterising the consignments welcomed by Charlton House, in the mix were paintings and manuscripts, pottery and furniture. Contributing to a breathtaking effect, a scrolling feature showcased this rich variety, the bold, pin-sharp images changing smoothly from one category to another.

Greatly adding to UX, we made exploring sales a breeze

Connecting Charlton Hall with Powerful Bidding Software

A top priority on this project was connecting the new site with leading auction house software provided by RFC Systems. Aligning this technology, Hookson worked in close partnership with RFC to ensure Charlton Hall received maximum benefit and functionality. Then, following our own rigorous testing, we made certain our new build functioned flawlessly with RFC’s solutions.

Working 24/7, the powerful back-office innovation would enable Charlton Hall to run a fully-functioning online auction. The new design would therefore be reaching out to important markets in Europe, Asia and the rest of the world.

The Day-to-Day: Streamlined and Simplified

For Charlton Hall, as well as handling sales from upload to hammer-down and beyond, the website’s perfect integration with RFC streamlined day-to-day duties. These included database and mailing-list admin, accounting tasks and inventory management. The software also provided a user-friendly interface for content updates: a big plus for a business keeping on top of rapidly changing consignments.

Ensuring Intuitive, Friction-Free UX & UI

Thanks to the new site’s connection with RFC, user experience hit bold new heights too. Now, in one new, beautifully designed go-to place was located everything a bidder or consigner required: sight of inventories and collections, condition reports and, of course, live bidding.

Next, with Charlton Hall’s website offering so much to visitors, a fixed top menu made navigation a snap. Those crucial components like auction dates, typical consignments and specialist estate and museum services remained reachable inside a couple of clicks.

Helping Consignments Click with Visitors

Lastly, with consignments operating as the life and soul of the world’s auction houses, attracting high-quality pieces, and making the consigning process quick and easy, is vital. So for those consigning, Hookson made sure our new site worked like a dream. Utilising RFC’s solution, we offered a powerful but simple way to upload pieces for valuation. We also ensured a prominent call-to-consign featured on the website’s home page.



With Charlton Hall offering so much to visitors, Hookson ensured a beautiful design combined with an intuitive user journey, one in which crucial components remained reachable inside a couple of clicks.