Statement of Intent: TravelOregon.com is the trusted resource for Oregon travel inspiration and trip information.
We start a project like this with a Statement of Intent: why should this site exist? We built this Statement of Intent on three pillars: trust, inspire and inform.
Trust: Provide content that people believe, and is up-to-date and relevant on what is great about Oregon.
Inspire: Publish content that evokes an emotional response and ignites a desire to travel.
Inform: Facilitate the gathering of great, relevant Oregon experiences to create successful trips.
From there, our task is to make sure everything we concept, design and build a site that achieves this Statement of Intent. Simple, right?
One of the site’s core features is the ability for the editorial team at Travel Oregon to combine trip inspiration content (Oregon stories, videos, itineraries, seasonal features, and Scenic Byways) with specific travel information that people can use to plan their trip is one of the core content functions. Inspiration fails when people can’t act upon it, so a primary goal on the new site was to provide actionable information around inspirational content. Almost all content on the site cross-references to additional content in order to provide pathways to more information and/or inspiration.
Once people find information and inspiration that they feel will help them plan their Oregon trip, they can add almost all content to their “Trip Planner,” which makes it easy to remember what is interesting. Each trip in the Trip Planner can be shared with family and friends via email, Facebook and/or Twitter. And when people are taking their trip, the Trip Planner can be accessed on smartphones and tablets so their Trip Planner can come with them around Oregon.
Inspiration stories link to attractions, restaurants and other records mentioned in the story to convert inspiration into actionable research. Conversely, on pages that contain attractions, restaurants, etc., if they’re mentioned in an inspiration story, there’s a related link to that story. Added to that are “content lenses” – pages on the site focused on a specific topic, interest or activity – that pull in both inspiration content and information records to dynamically create a focus around that topic.
By tagging content in a variety of ways, we can display the same records in a variety of places based on categorization, geolocation, and editorial decisions.
The three primary navigation categories (See & Do, Trip Ideas, Cities & Regions) feature an “editorial mega-menu” – a place where editorial content can be featured in the rollover state for the primary navigation. By placing editorial content in the mega menu, we’ve created the opportunity to tell richer editorial stories (around seasonality, featured events, activities, etc.) across the entire site. Since only a fraction of the site traffic comes in through the home page, having this content persistent in the mega menu helps promote a variety of hand-picked stories from across the site.
We also wanted to make sure the site search was a useful piece of navigation for people, and not just a text field in the upper right corner. The first aspect for search is providing “suggestive” search terms where letters/words typed into the search field are queried against content on the site to help people find what they thought they were looking for. Additionally, much of the site content can have additional editorial keywords applied to it and can be presented as featured search results. When someone is searching for “Portland” in the search field, we can make an assumption that they’re either looking for the city or the region, so we provide those two results at the top of the search results. Similarly, if someone is searching for “wine,” we provide the Wineries content lens as a featured search result, as well as McMinnville (an Oregon town) which is home to many of the state’s wineries.
One of the technical features that is a highlight is the responsive design. Depending on the browser size (large desktop, small desktop, tablet horizontally, tablet vertically, small tablet, smartphone), the site layout, navigation and content adjusts to provide an appropriate, relevant browsing experience. We didn’t want to go down the path of creating custom applications for a variety of tablet and smartphone platforms, so we felt taking the responsive design approach would help provide an optimal experience for whatever device you’re using to browse the site.
We weren’t the only ones working on the project… Wieden & Kennedy was involved from a brand perspective, MEDIAmerica, Sparkloft Media and Maxwell PR for content creation, and Ten Bridges from a database and hosting standpoint, all played important roles in making sure the site contained fantastic, rich content.
Additionally, our client at Travel Oregon, Mo Sherifdeen, has written up a great case study on the Travel 2.0 site called “Behind the Making of TravelOregon.com” which gives a great perspective and some insights on the strategy and planning that went into the project. You can also read a bit more on Communication Arts Webpick of the Week.
(above: initial sketches of TravelOregon.com)