A city of quirky sophistication, Seattle juxtaposes natural beauty against urban excitement: a snowcapped Mount Rainier towers over the city behind the Space Needle, the waves of the Puget Sound roll up against the wooden piers surrounding Pike Place Market’s hustle and bustle, and views of the Olympic Mountains aren’t far from Pearl Jam and Nirvana’s early haunt, the Crocodile Cafe. To visit Seattle is to experience a city of contrasts with a seemingly endless list of things to do, and a website representing the Emerald City not only required an intuitive user experience, but a strategy centered around meeting every visitor need and a powerful back-end engine to deliver third-party content across the site.
One site, countless audience types
Visit Seattle does more than serve up things to do lists for family vacationers and weekend revelers, it communicates to meeting planners in search of convention space, restaurant managers hoping to boost business, and Seattle residents researching their own weekends. So how do we meet the intentions of all these users? An intensive digital marketing research phase, in which we crafted personas to represent audience types, fueled the long-term strategy and architecture of this complex site.
8,000 pages of events, restaurants and tourism information required re-working the model for a sitemap and information architecture. Using the data gathered in our digital marketing research and by working hand-in-hand with the client, we consolidated pages – taking great care on a page-by-page basis – with no ill effect on post-launch site traffic. In turn, this made for cleaner content navigation throughout the site, which relies on primary, secondary and tertiary navigation menus.
Make your API list and check it twice. The list of third-party data integrations was by no means short. This made the planning stage all the more important, and by doing our tech spec homework, we were well-prepared for every site feature and custom functionality heading into the development stage of the project.
Equally important, our digital marketing team did its own homework. By examining organic search traffic, taking a deep dive into existing analytics and by constant communication with Visit Seattle’s stakeholders, we sought out opportunities to better promote existing content and ensure key pages remained at the forefront.
Capturing Seattle with design
Our team wanted Seattle’s diverse landscape and quirky sophistication to shine through in our design, and we relied on custom icons and beautiful photography to carry the message. Starting with the wireframes, we proposed a photographically-driven site to highlight this bustling city surrounded by peaks and waterways, and collaboratively focused on how we wanted the user to experience the flow of the site.