Instant Case Study:, or ‘Let’s Talk Redesign!’

I love skinny dipping in random rivers...

Since it is a Friday, I figured a more lighthearted post was appropriate for this fine fall day.  Not like a lot of our posts our that serious, I mean we have used William Shatner, the Blues Brothers and numerous other pop culture icons to keep the mood light.  But, I digress.

Recently our friends and rivals to the north, Colorado, updated the overall look of their primary consumer site,  See below.

Similar to our post about the updated site, a quick review seemed in order.

Read the our thoughts and then let us know what you think. (Email or RSS readers, can’t see the poll? Visit the Travel 2.0 blog to vote.)

[polldaddy poll=1009518 ]

Thoughts// This new site update actually highlights a conversation we have been discussing internally in terms of how visitors search and navigate through our sites.  Depending on the visitor, are they more likely to search visually, use a search engine / box or use a more traditional text-based navigation.  The new site presents all 3, with an emphasis on the visual search.

Angry Travel Oregon note: Compare for yourself the new site vs. Oregon 365 site in terms of visual search via images.  Certainly some similarities there.

The new

The new

The first thing you notice about the new site is the very clean look of the homepage.  Unlike the previous iteration, see below, the new site removes all of the irrelevant content and ‘have to be on the homepage’ fluff (yeah, sorry, it is marketing fluff) and focuses strongly on key areas.

Of course, looking at the old you can see that, like many CVB and DMO sites, the homepage was cluttered with a random sampling of content, text and images (sorry, the main image would not pull up for the screen shot) that one could safely assume would not apply to the majority of visitors.

The old

The old

If I am going to Colorado for a vacation and interested in art museums, the lack of culture related content on the homepage is not helping my search.

Notice as well, the site now has a light and airy feel (primarily because of the reduction in content), the boxy design has been dramatically scaled back (thank you) and the search box has been moved the top of the page, rather than languishing in the gutter of the former site.

Overall, a great upgrade and one that was sorely needed.  However, this new design is a big step away from the previous version and it will be interesting to see if the staff can resist the temptation and pressure to begin placing those ‘have to be on the homepage’ items back on the homepage.

From my experience, that is always the biggest challenge when designing a minimalistic homepage.

So, what do you think?  Let’s try out our new polling feature.  The, love it or hate it?  Vote and let us know what you think about the site by using the comments section.

Comment? @travel2dot0 or email.