Valemount, is a small mountain town in the interior of BC, located in the Robson valley not far from the base of Mt Robson.
With a population of just a little over two thousand people (?), the town is an outdoor enthusiasts dream. Popular with in-the-know mountain bikers and winter thrill seekers alike, this lesser known locale bares all the hallmarks of an adventure ‘it’ town in the making.
Whilst Valemount is aware of its special appeal and potential, living up to those future expectations with regards to their website design wasn’t their primary reason for engaging with us. The village has a small, dedicated team of staff and councillors who handle the day-to-day running of this small town. Accessibility, ease with which to publish news and meeting schedules, and a hub for a growing library of electronic forms and documentation, all underpinned with a modern content management system that would expedite familiarity for a new way of doing things, were our main directives. A concerted effort towards improving the navigational flow, making it easier for people to find the information they were looking for, was also a key consideration.
As an aside to better overall functionality, a progressive look and feel was requested. The site had to achieve a visual consistency, of which any such efforts up to now had been hampered by various plugins and third party apps, creating a hotchpotch of pages and componentry with no consistent hierarchy or style guide.
Prior to any visual exploration, we examined the information architecture to begin our top-down approach of restructuring, consolidating and in many instances, expanding information in a way that would open up menus, putting popular content in easier to find locations, and allowing us to improve the navigability throughout.
From a design stand point, it was important to evoke a sense of place that was authentic to the character of the town, taking inspiration from the surroundings, and setting in place the groundwork for a style guide that could have the possibility to evolve in-step with the town.
Following our investigations on site architecture, we identified the most pertinent content and set about rearranging the structure in a way that would better serve the population. We broke up the information to allow for new categories within menus; and made the navigation and UX more simple and intuitive for a broad range of users to find exactly what they were looking for.
In overhauling the visual aspects of the site, we chose a modern display typeface for the hero areas; a tall, geometric sans serif, symbolic of the high peaks that surround Valemount. Our colour choices were inspired by the surroundings, the blues of the winter and waterways, the deep greens of the forests and the bright red of the chinook salmon that run the rivers in the Fall.
Important also was the ability to use photography well throughout, given the rich natural beauty of the area. This is complimented by the use of simple illustrative elements, trees and peaks, that give character and charm. Applying generous spacing between components and text helped with combatting information overload and improving overall accessibility.
What resulted was not only a product that looks modern and fresh, but functions well on both sides of the fence, giving users all the information they require via an easy to use menu structure, and providing village staff the ability to create and manage the site simply in the back end.
We're here to brainstorm, and we're pretty friendly.