In 2013 the Wenatchee Valley Visitors Bureau was merged into the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce to form a new organization that would take care of both promoting the Valley to visitors and taking care of businesses in town. Apt Design had a great working relationship with both of the previous organizations, so their decision to continue using Apt Design was a natural extension of a successful partnership.
We first set to work defining a new look for the new Chamber, and indeed creating an all-inclusive brand for the entire Valley. A composite of organizations in the Wenatchee Valley contracted with Arnett Muldrow to help them create a brand for our entire area. AM flew to town for a few days and in a short time delivered most of a comprehensive brand statement for the Valley. Apt Design then stepped in to finalize the assets the organizations’ would be using. While that focused heavily on creating a variety of separate yet unmistakably parallel logos, I also created a visual design style for the Chamber for use across all their materials – including online and print ads for visitors and internal flyers and brochures for local businesses.
Next we turned our attention to tackle the biggest project – the merging of the two old organizations’ websites into a single destination on the web.
Information architecture was critical on this site redesign. We pored over Google Analytics reports to see what visitors were doing on both old sites, and strategized how we could best get every user group what they wanted as quickly and easily as possible. Weeks were spent reviewing and reassessing the content from both old sites to make it easier for visitors to find what they were looking for.
In the end we made the main emphasis of the website centered on visitors to the Valley and separated out the Business and Relocation sections of the site into entirely different areas. Each area was then given it’s own distinctive look and feel to subtly notify visitors that they were viewing a completely different set of information.
Because there was simply so much content in each area of the site we focused on a ‘listings’ model that applies to most of the site’s content. A listing is a place of interest, business, restaurant or hotel. Each listing is easily populated with things like title, photo and description but can also store information like website, location and Facebook page. Because each listing can then be categorized and tagged, they can then be dynamically resorted and cross-linked based on what you’re looking for (example: explore all the Kid-Friendly places in Wenatchee!). This became the true power behind the new website, and one that continues to be built upon.
In keeping with the “fresh” theme of Wenatchee’s new branding, we knew that this site needed to keep content updated and current to maintain a strong presence in the Valley. Since the homepage is by far the most-visited page on any website we paid close attention to keeping it up to speed. The giant lead images let the Chamber promote the greatest parts of the Valley, and 3 easy-to-update callouts underneath are the perfect place for preeminent seasonal topics and links. Featured Calendar events get you to the action straightaway and a blog connects you to the latest thoughts and opinions in the area. Lastly a dynamic footer finally integrates the Chamber’s rich social media experience in an easy-to-view digest.
A comprehensive tutorial gave the Chamber the power to update and edit every single part of their website. Task in hand they have been diligent to keep new content entered and keep the energy of this site alive and active!
One of the main foci for the Chamber was having a fully-featured, comprehensive calendar that would be populated with everything happening in the Valley. We used Modern Tribe’s Event Plugin to get things going, then completely customized the design to make it fit beautifully. Filling in hundreds of events would still be taxing to the Chamber’s staff however, so Nick custom-built an events aggregator that pulls in events from other participating calendars in the valley to truly create one calendar to rule them all.
Marketing & Communications Coordinator for Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce
Brad is a consummate professional for sure and as you can see others agree with that wholeheartedly. One of the best things about Brad is that I have not known of anyone that has worked with him on a project that has not been 100% pleased with the end product but also with the process. From the beginning of our very large project through one project after another he has been terrific. Re designing and reworking our new website seemed like a pretty daunting task but Brad expertly worked the plan. His skills in time/project management are as exceptional as his eye for design. Love having the opportunity to work with him and look forward to more.
This site was built with mobile users in mind from the very beginning, which is good because the site’s mobile traffic is already above 25% and growing! The mobile site delivers up the same powerful experience, but in a simplified manner. This is where our time spent on the information architecture showed itself advantageous – users are still able to access all the site’s content easily via the responsive menu. And since mobile users are often out and about looking for something to do we made sure the Calendar button was always available.