About the Client
Lisanne Lewis, who is now the General Manager of the Shaw Conference Centre (SCC), told us (on a very cold January day in 2014) that she was tired of sending cheques to event and conference magazine publishers. “Why are we still spending on print?!?” She asked.
Lisanne wanted to do things that could be tracked — the idea of being able to connect dollars spent to the number of booked events was very attractive to her. She was ready to take her print budget and go digital with it, and we were excited to be part of that shift. We worked with a strong team at SCC to develop a consistent brand voice and an engaged community on social media. A highlight for us was getting to be a part of Crashed Ice when it came to Edmonton in 2015.
Our relationship with SCC evolved as the marketing team grew and internal roles changed. At the start of 2016, Imran Gill, the new marketing and communications manager asked us to spend a year working with him to redesign the SCC website. The site wasn’t even two years old at that point, but the site structure and functionality were not helping the conference centre achieve its business goals.
New Website Goal
To provide easy access to the information event planners need to make decisions about booking events, and to have an easy-to-update events calendar with multiple category options so different event attendees could quickly find what they were looking for (especially important on their mobile devices).
Website Redesign & Development
Imran came to us with his hand drawn vision for rearranging the pages of the existing website to make more sense for SCC’s audience. We used his vision to develop a site blueprint to determine the visual elements, information hierarchy, and calls to action that each page on the new site would require.
Initial wireframes that visually reflected what was defined by the site blueprint were designed next. Together with the SCC team, we revised the wireframes to incorporate best UX practices into identified customer paths, and also addressed specific requests from SCC. These requests included: drop-down menus for the top navigation, having galleries of images for all secondary pages of the Planning An Event section, and including social share links that popped out on scroll.
The Events Calendar and Events pages are very important for SCC’s audience, and we dedicated a lot of time to determining the best way to layout this area of the site. We were committed to avoiding the terrible “click-the-date-on-the-calendar” option of listing events, so we chose to style the Events Calendar similar to the Blog section of the site. We used a grid of images to draw attention to each event and made sure the events could also be sorted by both category and date. This flexibility was imperative because of the large variety of attendee types that SCC caters to.
There are a couple of places on the new website where high quality images of specific dimensions are needed in order to maintain the integrity of the design. Unfortunately, there are times when event organizers do not provide Imran and his team with appropriate images. This leads to a break in the pattern of the site and can be distracting for a visitor. We’re working to avoid this by providing event organizers with specific image and photography requirements that they must provide after their event is booked.
This is an incredible organization that we are proud to work with. The Shaw Conference Centre is a pillar in the Edmonton community, and working with Lisanne and Imran has always been a pleasure. There’s also something fascinating about walking down the same hall for a marketing meeting that you were dancing down after a beer festival a few nights earlier!