Visit Rapid City (VRC) needed to rebuild their website, not just for visitors looking for tourist information but also to assist the VRC team's ability to manage the content in the CMS. The existing infrastructure and landing pages were difficult to manage and required alot of hand-coding of related content, links and other resources.
The old site was also quite cluttered with nested landing pages, as hundreds of tourist, shopping and dining listings kept getting added without an effective way for users to sort through them. Plus the VRC blog was disconnected from the main site, making user engagement more complicated and content more laborious for admins to publish.
Clients often want to turn to design right from the get go, but we needed to start with the big picture. We knew the problems that existed, but what was VRC trying to achieve? What did they know about user needs? By probing their site analytics, we confirmed some assumptions about their users and asked alot of questions to ensure that our site strategy would support not just a great graphic design, but a thoughtful information architecture that would make content easier to sort through and interrelate.
Our mobile-first approach ensured that we turned their hundreds of listing pages into a taxonomy-driven resource library of "things to do"; perfect for families looking for quick ideas tailored to their specific needs. We also found an approach that works best for their beautiful images on both mobile and desktop and created a map interface that places Rapid City at the center of a fascinating collection of outdoor parks and recreation areas.
We moved the external blog over to the main site, fostering tighter connections between the dining, lodging and shopping listings on the website and the stories that connected visitors to them.
Tourists have lots of places to go online for information. The transformation of the VRC website makes it one of the easiest and most interesting ways to discover travel information for iconic national parks and the booming city that connects so many visitors to them.