Nowadays, an event’s digital presence is as important as the event itself — not only it serves the purpose of communicating what it is planned and expected but also represents the more lasting testimonial of what happened during those days. Thus, communication is a key factor in their success. The strategy has to be aligned and deliver a cohesive message and experience.
This week, at Ironhack, we were tasked to design a microsite of a festival or event for its next edition, putting focus on its appearance and usability before and during its occurrence.
The goal is, therefore, to design a communication channel that reflects the feelings and image of the event emulated by the chosen event as is also able to carry out its fundamental job that is to inform its participants efficiently and graciously.
Festa da Cereja — The Cherry Festival
This project has an important place in my heart. Festa da Cereja (Cherry Festivities, in Portuguese) is a gastronomical and cultural event that happens annually in my hometown— Fundão, Portugal — more
The festivities take place in a close by village named Alcongosta. Every year, its streets are flooded by thousands of people, there are different types of music from every corner. You’re eating cherries, cherry pies and variants, drinking cherry liqueurs and cheering with your friends or catching up with old ones. This is a party that brings people from the region together to celebrate its most important economical engine — the cherry, whose local produce is considered to be the finest in the whole world.
However, despite its local appeal, it is yet to reach level beyond the region. As a matter of fact, as the municipality wants to reach more of the country, something is terribly lacking — there is no website!
UX Research Goals
Before jumping into the design on the website, we had to have a bigger understanding of those who attend the festival in question and similar. Not only that, but we also had to know how other festival structure their communication. Hence, our research was conducted in three different phases:
- Interviews with Fundão locals: the goal of talking with locals was to gather a better insights of what the festival represents to the region and how it’s seen through the eyes of those who attend Festa da Cereja.
- Online Survey: its focus was to investigate the kind of content people need before deciding to attend any sort of cultural event or festival, how to they reach out to information, what are the general pains and gains in their decision making process
- Competition Benchmarking Analysis: with benchmarking, we wanted to feel inspired by other festival and see how they organise information in their websites.
Interviews and Surveys
We started by interviewing locals about their take on Festa da Cereja. The general insight is that the festivities are very well known in the region of Fundão, due to the general efforts of the Câmara Municipal do Fundão (Fundão’s Town Hall) in creating a brand that represents its geographical location.
These interviews and online questionnaire really helped to understand the tone that a potential website should have and what the goal of this website would be. For example, something that was mentioned in the interviews was the following:
“The festivities are quite popular in the region but are yet to reach a national platform.” — Fábio Garcia, Fundão’s Local
For this project, we defined two different kind of festivity attenders who we took as example when building the website. We took into consideration their motivations and goals, current frustrations as well as their life styles. Meet Luísa and César
Luísa is a Fundão local who truly believes in the importance of local cultural events for the region. She feels that the communication isn’t well wide spread. Also, she has a family and never misses attending such festivities in the region.
César is from Lisbon and enjoys traveling around the country to visit local festivities. He’s quite ah hoc and finds out about these events through word of mouth. Thus, he needs to have information centralised somewhere: directions, where to stay, where to park, etc.
Finally, to finish off the research phase, we looked into other festivities websites — Ovibeja, Festa dos Tabeuleiros, Festival Eminente and Sangue na Guelra. Our goal was to see how they organised and presented their information, thus, we focused our analysis on the following sections: Homepage, About Us, Programme and Location.
With all the research done, we finally had a good feeling of what the new website for Festa da Cereja should be. Considering that the only online communication channel used by the organisation committee is Facebook and the Town Hall’s webpage space, we had to scratch our way up to a final website version.
Thus, moving on to the site mapping and taking into account our benchmarking exercise and user research, we focused on how the content should be organised, labelled and navigated. For that, we ran into the Card Sorting Technique to test our first information architecture version, ending in the result that can be seen below.
Similarly, we also defined a user flow. This came after discussions on what the use cases should be and what people could use our website for. We thought about Luísa and César, two different personas with different goals when interacting with out website.
Thus, Luísa’s path puts focus on knowing about the story of the event programme visualisation and other activities that she can participate in with her family. César, on the other hand, since he lives far away, is more interested in knowing about the location and how to get to Festa da Cereja.
At this stage, we were able to finally move on to the Brand Identity of the event. Festa da Cereja needs to be not only friendly, mature and classic since it’ a cultural tradition, but also young an innovative so that we can engage with older audiences too. We also want to make it playful and appealing to masses, since the goal is to take it a national stage.
To start elaborating on the branding, we a created moodboard for visual identity. This helped to picture our concept through imagery, color palettes and other materials and set the tone of our project. We also set the mood considering other important aspects of the page layout — home screens, contact forms, schedule pages, FAQ and other elements that would fit our subject.
A Style Tile is a brief overview of brand elements like color palette, typography and supporting visuals. Creating a style tile for Festa da Cereja was fairly straightforward, as it is described below:
- Cherry Red is the main colour and we had to have a lighter and darker color to help with hierarchy
- Blue was is the complementary color.
- Vidaloka and Work Sans — we knew that the typography needed to look classic with a touch of tradition, so we went with Vidaloka. After that, we found another font that matched vidaloka and looked more modern, Work Sans.
Before jumping into the real sketch of the website, we did some brainstorming by applying the Crazy 8’s Technique — in this exercise, each team member focused on different aspects of this project: the layout, a user flow, a specific page, etc. After that, we jumped into Invision Freehand so that everyone could start sketching their own versions of the website. To keep our work democratic and to facilitate the decision making, we then had a round of voting to decide on the best aspects of the versions that we had created.
Low and Mid-Fidelity Prototyping
The low fidelity prototype was fairly simple as we tested out the flow that we predetermined for Luísa — check the About Us, see the Programme and Book an Activity. Moving on to the Mid fidelity version, we added the flow for César — find out about the location and amenities of the event — as well as created the mobile version for the website.
For the High Fidelity version, we aimed a clean and well-balanced look. We focused on small details that would make a difference in the end. For this project, we’d like to highlight the following:
- Programme Page: initially we had planned to have a dynamic page which only showed information on selected dates; it did cause some confusion in our design, thus, we settled on a one pager with that information
- About Us: we added more buttons to this page that would enable users to quickly jump into Activities and the Programme
- Location: this page includes a dynamic map so that the user can already see where exactly the location of the event is
Upon going through this process, as a team we’ve discussed the important of the trial and error approach. We’ve taken the Design Thinking method in this project and once again, trusting the process, helped us to reach a final version that we’re all happy with.