Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A/C Web-site re-design

Odd place to put this, but this gives me someplace to point people who ask about issues with Adventure Crossing's website. One of the common questions is whether or not we are aware that the site view is broken in Internet Explorer 8 RC1 and Opera. Yes, we are aware that the alignment on the front page breaks in these two browsers. We are also aware that the text on the right hand blue boxes tends to break as well in browsers that are not IE7 or IE6. We also are quite aware that the front page design is way too busy, and the contact information is about as clear as mud.

We do have some good news for the site though. We are in the midst of coming up with a couple new designs to simply front page confusion, and the backend provider, Powerserve, uses FireFox internally. So an upcoming version of the Adventure Crossing webpage shouldn't have the various text and formatting issues that the current page has.

Given some of the complaints we've had about the site, I figured I'd also show off some of the designs we have in mind. Here's what we are aiming for on the new front page that you will get to when visiting the domain.

The new front features a flash enabled map of the park. For reference, the current map of the park is here : http://www.adventurecrossing.net/common/content.asp?PAGE=336 : While functional, there is little interaction. Moving the map to the front page lets people know what we have at the park before they arrive. Further, by linking each map feature to it's corresponding inside page, we can make it easy for people to look up Go-Karts, LASERTRON, midway rides, Golf, Paintball (not yet), and so on without having to dig through obscure text links.

The proposed layout change enables us to keep the current news posting box we have now, as well as our special splash promotion. In addition, we satisfy one of the requirements with LASERTRON in that we link back to them on the first page, and we have our link back to PowerServe.

One of the other key points is the dedicated link to our cafe and catering. We've had several menu additions to the Adventure Crossing cafe, and now we are looking at some complete conversions. Over the next couple of months we'll be moving from pre-packaged pizza's to freshly baked pizza's in-house. The intended goal is that everything that is ordered is cooked and prepared in-house.


The next page up for redesign is our contact page. Currently we have multiple different methods of contacting or getting in touch of Adventure Crossing. The main page has information spread out about Birthday parties, marketing partnerships, and so-on.

The redesign simplifies contacting Adventure Crossing by merely having one contact link that is broken down into specific easy to follow sections.

We also see in the mockup here the menu bar from the front page is now at the top of the screen, mimicking our current content pages. However, the large "Super Speed Track" image is gone, meaning more content can be fit into the common 720-900 pixel deep resolutions: 1024*768, 1280*720, and 1440*900 to name a few. This will make the page easier to navigate.


One of the new functionalities that is proposed is the addition of a blog system. Currently there is no convient way to just have informal announcements or discussions about Adventure Crossing. While a Forum has been proposed, the idea was quickly shot down since it would require constant monitoring, and we'd have to depend on users to generate content.

A couple more design features stand out in this mock-up. The former contact us link has been changed to parties / events, while a dedicated contact us button is placed on the blog page. This change enables us to focus on using the Blog as a center for customer feedback. As this is also our primary way of online feedback, the Blog system takes over the currently not-in-use My Adventure. We can also use the blog to promote positions open within the company, so the Get a Job link is moved into the Blog section as well.

I do need to state that these changes aren't exactly final, but are some of the options that we are exploring to make Adventure Crossing easy to navigate through. Let me know what you think of it.
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