Category: design

Targeting niche short breaks for South West Wales Tourism Partnership

www.AsWildAsYouWantIt.com
www.OneBigGarden.com
www.InspirationalWales.com
Designate’s client, South West WalesTourism Partnership, exists to help local businesses work together to promote the region. Publicly funded, they were concerned not to duplicate the already considerable web presence and marketing spend of the Tourism Authority and Local Authorities in focusing solely on the destination. Instead they run three separate targeted, niche campaigns based on the main attractions of the region – active breaks, gardens & green spaces and a more loosely defined cultural product.

The three existing websites were ineffective and our first task was to conduct a business review to see where improvements might be made. I was tasked with conducting the review, and once the recommendations were accepted, to implement changes. We rebuilt the three websites from scratch, supplying a bespoke admin system to enable the administering of events and offers by the client and incorporating a data feed from VisitWales to ensure up-to-date accommodation and operator information is displayed.

I worked with the design team to specify the information architecture of the sites and then oversaw the built to completion. I have since implemented a new analytics and reporting regime to demonstrate the business value of the three sites.

Showing the stylish side of Wales

www.WalesInStyle.com

Wales in Style homepage

A not-for-profit organisation part-funded by VisitWales, Wales in Style promotes Wales as a luxury break destination. An online pure-play, the organisation is entirely reliant on the website to produce leads for local partners. Designate won the business at pitch and I was tasked to lead the build. We identified two main types of user behaviour to which we wanted to appeal – the first being those who are visiting a specific place and want to find accommodation nearby, and the second those who are planning a luxury break in the UK but are not yet aware of Wales as a possible destination. The site provides both a search and a browse route to cater for both sets with users being encouraged to package accommodation with a restaurant booking and activities through the use of relational data on all product pages.
Fundamental to the success of the project is the ability to report – as it is this that will secure long term commitment not only from VisitWales but also from the local partners featured on the site. To this end I put together a comprehensive analytics plan and have overseen the training of developers in implementation and account handlers in reporting through the WebSideStory (HitBox) system.

Running design critiques

Many times in work environments, we confuse conversations, which should be exchanges of ideas, with opportunities to inflict our opinions on others…

Loved this quote from a great post about how to run a design critique. Thought it’d be useful to distil the recommendations and publish to clients – but also to get the whole team to read and implement in our next project. We need to work together more, instead of in silos, with each person producing some kind of artefact and then passing it on to the next. Very often this approach is akin to design Chinese Whispers – with what comes out not really resembling what went in.

Link was by way of Gavin Wye from UXBri – very helpful. Gavin’s suggesting that we form crit groups around projects and having read this post I’m much more keen to get involved – if only to learn the best way of doing it.

Simple set-up for simple videos explaining complex things


Production

Originally uploaded by LeeLeFever

Completely inspired by CommonCraft.com’s video explanation of how things work.

Thinking about how to use similar techniques to help explain proposed functionality to clients. Will be particularly useful in explaining AJAX functions – as I’m already grappling with the difficulty of how these complex interactions can be documented – for testing, for client approval and for dev teams

I asked Lee at CommonCraft for some tips on how to get started. (I wondered if it was a bit cheeky, as they make videos for a living – but I received a lovely response really soon afterwards). Here’s what he said:

Hi Jenni.
Really quick run down – ready?

1. We write a script
2. We create a quick storyboard to establish the flow and artwork needed
3. We create the art work
4. We point a Sony Handycam (on a tripod) straight down onto a whiteboard and record all the scenes in the storyboard.
5. We record the audio separately

We use GarageBand to edit the audio and Final Cut Express to edit the video and create the final product.

Some info here:
http://www.commoncraft.com/tools-our-trade-analog-version

Hope this helps.

~Lee

What a nice guy!

I found a £50 baseboard on ebay – just the ticket, I reckon. Now all I need is a camcorder of some kind and away we go!

Dissatisfaction with WordPress

I’m used to WordPress – we build custom installs for clients and run the Nizomk blog off it, so it was a natural choice to go for a WordPress hosted blog when I decided to start blogging again. Sadly, I’m not that impressed though – same familiar admin system, but no support for the kind of widgets I want – no Last.fm, only a crappy Flickr badge and no flexibility at all. The choice of themes that support widgets is very poor too. So, what are the choices – go back to blogger, or better yet , persuade one of my chums to build me a custom install… hmmm. Then I can style it to show my tipple of choice. Plan formed- now who’s arm can I twist?!

Beautiful holding page for Aviary – web based creative applications

Following on from the enthusiastic reception to Paul‘s Silverback landing page – and the homage he’s paid to Sonic the Hedgehog’s ‘parallax scrolling’ effect, I noticed the beautiful a.viary.com this morning. The illustration doesn’t use CSS wizardry to achieve the effect – but it is beautifully rendered and sets out the offer – web applications for creative people – in an exemplary way.

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