The client, a state tourism organization, needs to promote visitation to their location. Our agency has been working with them on that for several years and several iterations of their site.
The client’s site has a wealth of information about vacationing in their state. But with thousands of business listings, activities, and places to visit, it can be overwhelming, especially, we had found, for first-time visitors. The client had been creating a limited set of ‘trip ideas’ to help guide people. They asked us how to improve these with the goal of this section acting as the ‘how to’ on vacationing there.
Research and Discovery
I gathered secondary research on the trip planning process to augment the data that our agency’s insights and planning team already provided. I also had several years of experience working on this client’s site and in the tourism industry in general.
These two slides were taken from a presentation I gave to the client.
I audited several state tourism competitors and another site known for its itineraries. These audits looked at: story format, interesting content examples, organization, sorting/filtering, and mobile experience. I pulled both positive and negative takeaways from these.
These pages were pulled from the full audit document.
People at each step of the process have different needs. Keeping this in mind, I created a journey map for two users. This included an audit of the existing trip ideas for each of them.
The two personas were: someone starting to think about vacation and someone already in-market looking for something to do. While I expected overlap in the last stage of the journey, I suspected there may be differences for someone who doesn’t have familiarity with the site.
The second journey only looked at the last step, ‘in-destination’. This second user was also described has not having prior familiarity with the site. Looking at the existing content through this lens did reveal several improvements that were not considered during the first audit.
Ideation and Prioritization
The journey maps and audits reveal several vulnerabilities and opportunities in the existing content. I held brainstorming sessions to come up with possible improvements in different areas. These ideas were organized by general type and prioritized with the client by feasibility and payoff.
The general groupings that we used were: strategy, content subject matter, utilatarian content ideas, site functionality, sorting & filtering, and ways to expose more people to the content.
Designing based on our research
I first incorporated our new ideas into a redesign of two existing trip ideas. We wanted to show the client how the existing content could be used without completely starting over. I started out with word docs and moved to lo-fi wireframes in order to show visual context and start to shape the page.
After we established our new direction using the existing one-day trip ideas, I wrote two new, longer itineraries using content suggestions from the client.
The client gave us the general outline of a 3-day trip, with many suggestions for each day. I took those and did a lot of background research in order to give some context to the suggestions. I put both into the new format, as word docs for our writer and as wireframes for our designer.
Redesigning the container & Taxonomy
The existing trip ideas were grouped solely by one topic each in their section of the website. I felt this limited how well we would be able to promote the new content and that the new posts were too expansive to turn into one thing. So, the project expanded to include a redesign of that page and the taxonomy system they were using.
Handing it off
I worked closely with our writer and art director after establishing the new content and wireframes. Our writer took the itineraries that I wrote and polished them into the brand’s voice. Our art director and I went over the wires as she gave them a fantastic new look that heightened the ideas in them.
The client and our agency are still creating new trips ideas following this model. Traffic to this section of the site continues to grow.
In addition to the fully written examples and wireframes, I also provided strategy on generating future additions to the site. These slides were pulled from a presentation I gave to the client.