Project Overview

Manning Park Resort, situated in British Columbia, hadn't updated their brand in years. Conducting marketplace research and understanding the customer profile, we built a new website from the ground up. I created a new sitemap that organizes the website more efficiently and designed wireframes to showcase the value offerings and improve the purchasing experience.

VIEW Website

role

UX Designer

TOOLS

Sketch, Invision, Draw.io

TIMELINE

July 2019 - August 2019

DELIVERABLES

Competition Analysis
Sitemaps
Wireframes

The Challenge

Manning park is a family friendly resort that’s active throughout the four seasons with plenty of activities to do. With all the recent renovations, they were looking to update the brand and website to provide a modern experience.

Their goals were:
  • Bring more customers to the resort in all seasons (Winter, Summer, Spring and Fall)
  • Make it easier to find information on the website and present a clear idea of what Manning has to offer
  • Create a story around disconnecting from city life and creating a memorable family trip escaping into nature

The Outcome

A brand new website for Manning Park along with a fresh brand identity (logo, typography, colours). This new website combined the previous summer and winter websites into one experience for customers to explore the different activities and events going on.

My work involving content placement and user journey mapping made it easier to navigate the site and purchase tickets/passes for all activities. Along with many other changes, I streamlined the flow for booking lessons.

Overall, the Manning Park staff was very happy with their new website. Having the improved user experience along with the new branding gave their online presence the uplift they needed to showcase their unique character.

Buy lift tickets

Book lessons

Reserve Accommodation

Research

The two personas that define the customer audience

Before I started working on this project, a discovery workshop was conducted to understand the goals and needs for Manning Park. Two main personas were created to understand the types of users that would engage with the website. While both types have similarities, there are a few differences that influence the type of experience they are looking for.

Defining the user experience

Using the research from the discovery workshop, my responsibility was to improve the user experience for the new website. Performing the ux evaluation, I decided what content could be removed and what content was missing. I also identified different types of user flows that accommodate the two personas and their different needs. While there were numerous sections that I streamlined to improve the user experience, I wanted to outline 5 major decisions I made below.

5 enhancements made to improve the user experience

  1. What will be in the top-level navigation
  2. Organizing the mountain-specific information
  3. Consolidating tickets and passes
  4. Booking lessons for different age ranges
  5. Designing the homepage

1. What will be in the top-level navigation

Studying several ski resort websites, big and small, I noticed a trend in the information architecture going more towards grouping sections based on tasks rather than departments.  The top-level navigation was going toward more action-driven words that focus on a customer-driven experience such as PLAN and EXPLORE.

Comparing the top-level navigation between 4 ski resorts

Manning Park
Blue Mountain
Big White
Revelstoke

Analyzing the different types of content on the website, I decided on 4 simple categories that provide clarity and help customers navigate to the information they are looking for. Defining these 4 categories paved the way for grouping the rest of the content and structuring the site.

New Top-Level Navigation

2. Organizing the mountain-specific information

Manning Park Resort is a part of the E. C. Mannings National Park and therefore,  the website had lots of information about the national park. Reviewing the content through the website, I realized there are two main types.

Two types of content people want to know

  • Information needed to learn about the place while planning the trip
  • Information needed before starting the trip

Talking with the Manning Park staff, they had mentioned that it wasn't the easiest task to find a specific page since the navigation menu contained so many links.

Continuing the trend of task-driven organization and using the feedback about the current experience, I wanted to simplify the site structure and make it easy to find what you're looking. All content about the mountain and resort fits into category 2 - Information needed before starting the trip and can go under 'Explore Manning'.

Old 'Mountain' Navigation

23 links

New 'Explore Manning Navigation

9 links

3. Consolidating tickets and passes

Within the current website, similar activities were shown under different sections of the website. Alpine/nordic tickets was under Passes & Products along with RV passes while other paid activities such as polar coaster tubing was only in the Activities section.

To simplify it for visitors, I added all paid activities under the renamed 'Tickets and Passes' section and moved RV Passes under accommodation.

Old list of paid activities

All paid activities together

Since there was no main page for tickets and passes, I also created a simple page layout that shows all the different activity tickets you can pre-purchase before arriving at the resort.

4 sections to showcase the 4 different paid activities available
Displays all different ticket options for each activity

4. Booking lessons for different age ranges

Manning Park has lots of different activities and offer a variety of different lessons to help visitors have an enjoyable day on the hill. The old lessons homepage showed two options with small links only. The important information was on sub-pages which made it hard to understand and compare different options.

Links to learn about Alpine and Nordic Lessons are small
No information on different age categories

To reiterate one of the main goals outlined in the beginning, Make it easier to find information on the website. I wanted to organize all the lessons in a way that makes sense right from the beginning and I started mapping all the options.

Lessons site flow

Since pricing depends on age, the sub-pages were separated by different age ranges. These age categories were added directly to the lessons homepage to reduce the number of clicks it takes to find the information you want.

After choosing a category, they are greeted with an overview of all lessons types available right at the top. With all these changes, understanding what lessons are available and which one to book becomes much more simple.

Lessons Homepage

Alpine Adult Lessons sub-page

5. Designing the home page

Arguably, the homepage is the most important part of any website. The goal of the homepage is to attract people and draw them in to continue exploring the rest of the website. You want to showcase the highlights without being too overwhelming.

The previous homepage wasn’t showcasing all the great offerings and escape to nature vibe they were seeking.

Old Homepage

1. Great photos to attract visitors but main content is hidden within the carousel
2. Lots of screen space taken by the newsletter
3. The website categories are hidden away in the navigation header

New Homepage

1. Switch from a horizontal carousel to a more common vertical scrolling website
2. The main call-to-action ‘Book Accommodation’ is clear by having it right in the navigation
3. Visitors can choose their own journey based on what information they are seeking.

Final Results

By thoroughly understanding what the staff at Manning Park wanted for their new experience and using the UX principles I’ve learned over the years, I was able to develop a tightly woven story and provide a smooth experience for users.

  1. Start with the high level navigation to allow visitors to get where they want to be quickly
  2. Organize sections based on the tasks being completed and group complementary tasks together
  3. Provide context and plentiful paths/links to cross-navigate between sections on the same level

Once the content and structure for wireframes was approved, the visual designer focused on branding/identity shown through some of the designs below. For Manning Park, this website became a great marketing tool to show the wonderful features and ‘escape to nature’ vibe they wanted to provide for their visitors

Accommodation Page

Winter Activities Page

Key Takeaways

I had a lot of fun working on this project as an avid snowboarder. Working with a team helped for bouncing ideas off each other and brainstorming new and creative ones.

  1. A website should help a customer complete their journey
    When users arrive at the website, they have a goal they want to achieve. Learning what is being offered, buying tickets, etc. The website should accommodate the user not bombard them with services.
  2. A good web experience consists of multiple layers
    Working alongside SEO experts, copywriters and graphic designers, we all utilized our different strengths to deliver a great product
  3. Have a good project management system from the start
    Working on a project this big with lots of detailed information, it was vital to keep files and communication organized. We utilized several tools to keep track of changes as I made several revisions based on feedback.

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