Web Design · UX/UI · Front-end Development · Photography · Copy-Writing
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User research, competitive analysis, user persona, branding, wire-framing, prototyping, coding
Designed and created a new website homepage and branding as part of a bootcamp project to help the fictional "Canyon Hikers" company promote their tours of the Grand Canyon to successful women.
Canyon Hikers wanted to increase their revenue with additional website traffic and a brand that better connects with women.
Research suggested an opening for differentiating from competitors by directly targeting active, successful women.
Using vibrant color palette, fun, bold typography, large, adventurous imagery, animations, and a layout built for adding useful written content about the Grand Canyon and hiking in general, I designed and built a new website and branding.
Overall, I am pleased with the results of this project. User testing helped me refine the end result, which garnered positive feedback.
“Leslie” is a fictional client who wants to promote the Grand Canyon to encourage more tourists to visit. The name of her company is Canyon Hikers. You can view the code here.
The first step was to take a look at similar, existing websites to see how Canyon Hikers can differentiate itself.
While there are a fair amount of companies offering guided Grand Canyon tours, the majority feature websites with very traditional designs that appear to target families and seniors, often with cluttered layouts, and frequently featuring subdued earth tones.
There is an opening for Canyon Hikers to stand out by directly targeting a different demographic: young, active, female professionals. Here's the original case study I created:
The ideal Canyon Hikers customer is someone like “Sandra,” a single, 26-year-old who works in finance.
Her job is a high-stress, high-reward environment that she thrives in. She has money to burn, but is short on free time, so when she’s off-the-clock, she plays hard too, seeking adrenaline-pumping activities that she can show off to her growing social media following.
Sandra can afford to shop only with companies that share her values, and she cares about the environment. She trusts Canyon Hikers as a reliable source for the tips and gear she needs to fuel her next adventure.
When Canyon Hikers eventually expands to include tours for rock-climbing, white-water rafting, and skydiving, Sandra will be one of the first to sign up, and she’ll bring her partner and/or a big group of friends.
Naturally, the layout needed to be responsive to look good on any device, but the mobile version of the site was prioritized, as research indicated that the majority of Canyon Hikers users access the site on their phones or tablets, and that should only increase as we target a younger audience.
However, there is still a tendency for big-ticket online purchases to be saved for desktop computers or laptops, so the large screen versions of the site needed to look great as well.
In addition, loading animations along with both visual and audio feedback for button clicks help to engage the users. Here's the original mock-up:
To differentiate Canyon Hikers from its competitors, I was intent on finding a dynamite banner photo that could do a lot of the storytelling heavy-lifting.
It needed to look good as both a wide, landscape aspect ratio and as a cropped vertical.
I normally offer custom photography especially designed to uniquely represent the brand and work perfectly on the website, but this wasn’t an option as the client didn’t have the budget for travel. Luckily, I found an excellent option by Bettina Nørgaard.
I avoided any subdued earthy tones or basic neutrals, apart from a clean, white background, deciding on brash, bold hues in the relatively analogous color scheme of yellow, pink and orange for the logo, headers, buttons. These colors are fun and bright, evoking the type of spectacular sunsets that can be seen at the Grand Canyon.
I experimented with removing the pink to make the color scheme less Instagram-ish. While our ideal customer is a big fan of Instagram, I didn’t want similarities to be too on-the-nose. However, user testing indicated the yellow and orange on their own might not be conveying what I’d hoped, so the pink went back in.
In addition, I changed the body text from black to a dark purple to brighten things up even more.
With the aim of finding fonts that imbued a sense of adventure, excitement, and fun, I changed my original mock-up font choices to Road Rage and Vujahday Script for titles and headers, and Source Sans 3 for the navigation bar and body text.
Road Rage has a rough texture with characters tilted slightly in different directions, which echoes the beautifully organic shapes of rock formations in the Grand Canyon. Vujahday Script brings an energetic, free-flowing vibe, and Source Sans 3 offers clean, simple legibility.
Fun and energetic was the goal here. Using our two header fonts, I played with the shape of the word Canyon to suggest an actual canyon, and thickened, offset and slightly tilted the word “Hikers” to add a dynamic feel.
The logo was adjusted to fit the final color scheme and address user testing concerns with the legibility of the letter “k.”
Good articles, photos, and videos about hiking in general, along with content about the Grand Canyon, can build the trust of users, encourage them to subscribe, and eventually purchase a guided hiking tour.
It was more complicated than I originally anticipated to get the embedded video to have the correct aspect ratio when being re-sized.
This was a valuable assignment that pushed me out of my comfort zone, as I wouldn't be a part of the target demographic. I learned a lot, and the feedback from my instructors was excellent. And since “Leslie” is fictional, I'm going to say that she's been absolutely thrilled with the rise in website traffic, user engagement (particularly among their targeted audience), and revenue since the brand’s redesign!