It’s Easy To Seaside
Ever since Alexandre Gilbert built the first summer cottage in Seaside, Oregon way back in 1885, the town has been one of the most popular beach resorts in the state. Just an hour and half from Portland, Seaside’s attracted generations of visitors with its beautiful waterfront, famous promenade, and limitless opportunity for exploration.
Indeed, the opportunities were so wide-ranging that the town was struggling to give visitors an accessible, comprehensive, and attractive way to plan their stay; while Seaside’s popularity had been growing for 130 years, its online presence needed a redesign to keep pace. The overstuffed activity menu was overwhelming for a town that catered to families, so the town chose Weld to help streamline both its front- and back-end web presence.
Jon Rahl , Seaside Director of Tourism Marketing.
“Weld’s understanding of the technologies at play and their ability to organize and orchestrate the efforts of the supporting brands exceeded anything we’ve previous experienced with an agency partner.”
Nostalgia Made Modern
Many of the families visiting Seaside have been coming for generations, and the town’s timeless feel is one of its primary attractions, so we had to design a website that looked and felt classic while working seamlessly.
Working with a style guide that prioritized bold summery colors and employed carousel- and seafront-inspired imagery, we built a brand that was simple and nostalgic. These themes run through every aspect of the site, making it instantly recognizable and lived-in without feeling cluttered or overthought. Every page carries the same strong sense of place, so visitors feel at home whether they’re researching tide tables for razor clamming, discovering the best places to grab lunch, or picking out the coziest bed and breakfast.
To reinforce the timeless appeal of a summer beach trip and express the simplicity and charm of the community, we took inspiration from the town’s slogan. “It’s Easy to Seaside” reinforces the community’s unquestionable appeal with a little bit of cheeky wordplay, but also bolsters the idea that a Seaside vacation is by nature smooth, simple, and all about enjoyment.
We wanted to create an identity that was as memorable as a Seaside vacation. The palette, imagery, and slogan gave us plenty of raw material to work with, but synthesizing them into a cohesive identity–a brand–was where the rubber really hit the road. Creating an instantly recognizable digital identity took plenty of drafts, meetings, collaboration, and strategizing, but the results, and the 2015 Travel Oregon Outstanding Oregon Website Award, speak for themselves.
Explore Without Getting Lost
Designing an information-rich website from the ground up can be a daunting task, and Getting the new Seaside, Oregon up and running quickly was a priority, so we went to work with a growth-driven design model. We broke the process up into sprints designed to produce compelling results in short order, using analytics to determine what content was most important to the site’s success.
Initially, we took two months to build up a “launchpad” site that established the look and feel of the project and contained key information. Tide Tables was the most-visited page, and accordingly took precedence along with the Things To Do, Visitors Guide, and Event Calendar pages. Bringing these four offerings online quickly made the site functional from the start and laid the foundation for the full content migration that would happen next.
Phase two took an additional two months. During that time, we established the “Eat”, “Play”, and “Stay” tabs–a process that involved migrating hundreds of items from Seaside’s old site–and created a template to smooth out the process in the future. Creating the “Play” templates gave our development team plenty to do; each entry required detailed maps, downloadable GPX files, and individual descriptions of hiking or biking trails, but our ace development team solved all the coding challenges we came up against, making sure the data was easily accessible to visitors despite its complicated nature.
As with any finely tuned machine, Seaside needs regular love to stay in perfect working order. We’re continuously refining the site to make the user experience as smooth as possible, adding content, and communicating with the Seaside team to improve the front-end experience. We’ve also created a seamless user-friendly CMS, empowering Seaside’s team to update the site on its own and giving it the power to keep things fresh and appealing as seasons, activities, and merchants change.
Seaside was an aggressive project with a short timeline, and it wouldn’t have been possible without consistent communication, transparency, and teamwork. It was never about imposing a design on a place; rather, we worked closely with the people who know Seaside best to design and execute a project that accurately reflected their town and fulfilled their desire for analytical design, financial responsibility, and team-guided strategy.
TROY RUTTEN - ACCOUNT DIRECTOR
“When most people think about the endeavor of redesigning their website, they might cringe at the thought of the work it will take and the long process ahead of them. This shouldn’t be the case. With Seaside, we took a growth-driven design approach that allowed us to execute quick design sprints to bring the new site to life very quickly.
Upon winning the RFP, we immediately dove into Google Analytics to determine what the most important content was and how the phased website launch would need to look. After conducting a site audit, we presented our strategy and measurement model alongside our approach for the phased launches. Together with Seaside, we laid out very clear milestones to hit, and kept in continuous contact throughout the process to ensure there were no surprises.
Now with the site launched and a Travel Oregon award under our belt, our goal is to continuously learn and improve site performance. With our patented “Design to be Measured” model firmly in place, we are poised to deliver ongoing site enhancements based on validated results.”