How VISIT FLORIDA is Better Serving Tourists in 2017, and Serving the Purpose to “Brighten the Lives of All”
by Cris Paden
posted on 07-18-2017
Inside the journey into creating a user-centric, mobile-first experience for visitors of the State of Florida
Posted by Adobe Public Sector Team
It began with the need to go mobile-friendly.
“Mobile-friendly” and “responsiveness” as a term has earned a deep and varied meaning to different groups. Now, experts take it a level deeper, and say it’s about being “mobile-first” and prioritizing the mobile experience over desktop.
VISIT FLORIDA’s mission is to serve those visiting the State of Florida, and most of those people are on-the-go tourists, seeking quick and actionable information from their mobile phones.
The vision of the VISIT FLORIDA website project was two-fold:
- Better serve the visitors to Florida on the VISIT FLORIDA website
- Empower staff to create beautiful, effective content with less effort and in less time
A Mission-Focused Approach
The project began with narrowly defining the unique user and their journey.
Who is the ideal visitor of VISIT FLORIDA’s site?
What problem are they trying to solve when entering the website?
And how do we give them a success story, as quickly and seamlessly as possible? This is a previous design of VISITFLORIDA.com
Let’s see it from the user’s lens. They simply want to be guided to their needs, with as little effort and thought as possible, from any device and location.
From there, a list of specific questions came out, such as:
- What kind of content will serve the users best?
- How can we make the experience relevant to a wide demographic?
- What can we learn from the existing experience with analytics?
- What is one impact we can make in the user decision-making process?
- What is the best, consistent navigation we can establish?
- How can we improve the user’s path to discovery?
- How do we retain customers?
- How can we speed up and improve the internal search experience?
We dug through every question. And in solving each one, we kept the purpose to “brighten the lives of all” at the forefront of every discussion.
1. Discovery: VISIT FLORIDA Users Want to Be Inspired
Learning the deeper desires of the user was the first step. What we discovered was, VISIT FLORIDA’s ideal user wants one thing:
…to have a wonderful trip with memories for the whole family.
The user wants to feel inspired with ideas from the website. Not sold to.
Given this information, we created templates and components focused around the user’s experience not just on the site, but end-to-end from their home to their dream vacation.
2. Inside the Project: Bringing an effective, inspiring experience to Florida visitors
The flow of the updated experience guides the user down a focused path — a story — never giving them too many options per scroll. This makes the website pleasant to navigate, and each point leaving a purposeful impact.
We created templates that would emphasize the beautiful photography and video assets the VISIT FLORIDA team already had at their disposal. Each scroll was designed to be a new “wow” experience on the website — delivering a sneak preview of the best of Florida.
Other key elements that were added include a new map experience and a revamped deals section, two popular features of travelers. These links were added to the top navigation so visitors can access it in one click.
3. Keeping the Website Great
The Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) backend has a secret benefit that is oftentimes invisible to the user.
That back-end benefit is in operations, and how much** **easier content management, decision-making, and collaboration becomes after switching over to AEM.
“It’s not a website, it’s a full business solution.” Jill Stewart, associate director of Digital Strategy, VISIT FLORIDA.
AEM empowers your in-house team to create and add new elements to the website without a developer. No more waiting days to hear back from your coder. No more emailing 10 people in search of a creative asset. Everything your team needs to work on a website and communicate with their end users, is in one place.
The VISIT FLORIDA team also received in-person, analytics training — this way, future decisions are backed by data and insights, and theories can be formed and tested. The end result is a sustainable, in-house process that continually improves the website for the end users.
Congratulations to the team, for keeping the visitors in mind every step of the way!
Have a look at visitflorida.com. You might be planning your next vacation!
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