Northern Virginia Fair Website Development
The most exciting website development projects are ones where you are personally involved with product, service, or brand.
In this case, I am honored in being hired to design a new website for the Bluemont Fair, located in northern Virginia. I’ve taken my children to this fair for years, and love its commitment to the artisans and the community. Further, this legacy event is now entering its 50th year, and has become a much-loved community gathering.
This website design and development project presented several challenges.
Not only did the site need to appeal to a wide community, it also had to be easy to use. This post addresses the following challenges:
1. There were copious amounts of content to present
2. The new design needed to reflect the local community in whimsical and fun ways
3. Navigation of the website had to be simple
4. The entire website needed to operate in the same manner, whether used with a phone or mobile device
5. The site had be designed for all ages; children through seniors
Because this fair has been special to so many western Loudoun citizens for nearly fifty years, the design approach had to be meaningful. During the design process, we met several times with the volunteer fair staff to address colors to be used, ways to reflect the local environment, and community. Wicked Design provided many revisions of design approaches until a consensus had been met. This includes the website logo, the header image, layout, and more. The feedback on the final website design has been uniformly positive.
Once the design parameters were approved, we then started work on the content management and presentation. Because this is a large community fair, there were many web pages needed to present all of the information, which had to be easy to locate by the visitor. Lastly, the website had to be just as easy to use on a phone or mobile device. This is known as a responsive website. As in most cases, we chose to use the WordPress content management software for the project.
The following is a list of all the fair topics that needed to be presented:
· Lengthy fair schedule
· A fair map
· Dozens of activities
· Photo galleries and slideshows
· Event sign-ups with forms
· History of the fair and the village
· Committee contacts
· Volunteer management
· Years of past fair posters
· The artisans, vendors, crafters, live music, beer & wine, food, and authors, juried shows, donors, the art show
All of this information often needed to be gathered from individual committees, representing each area of interest.
This introduced more moving parts into the development process. While everything went fine during development, good communication is critical when it comes to a web design project of this size. With a large, all volunteer staff, staying on your game can be extra challenging. In perfect world, you receive final copy for each page. However, as the fair date draws closer, all sorts of information needs to be updated and tweaked.
Once we segmented like content, pages were then created for each related topic. Photos of past fairs in #Bluemont were generously intertwined with the written words to create a pleasing layout. Intra-site links were added to support further site exploration.
One of the more demanding pages to design was for the fair activities. Because there were dozens of activities, each with its own photo and paragraph of text, presenting this much information on a single page had to be presented in a simple manner. To address this, we used category buttons along the top of the page to allow topics to be quickly sorted. Doing so reduced the need for a long page and provided quick access to information that the web visitor needs. For example, if you want to see the kids activities, simply click the Kids button and all pertinent topics appear, while removing unrelated information. In this case, parents save time and find right what they need.
In the end, good planning and communication help to make a website design project of this size a success. All of the requirements mentioned in this post called for skilled WordPress design, solid web technical skills, and patience. When they all come together, the result serves both the northern Virginia community and the tireless volunteers that make it happen. It was a pleasure, and an honor, to help make this website, and the fair itself, a success.Visit the Bluemont Fair website: http:/BluemontFair.org.