A responsive website redesign for travellers to search and book various outdoor tours to make adventure fun in the Northwest Territories
Located in the Northwest Territories, the Sahtú Region is an area with an extraordinary history, traditions and culture. The landscape in Sahtú region is very beautiful, filled with mountains, massive lakes, caribou and moose. Our client, "Sahtú Adventures Inc" is a local, Indigenous run and led cultural tour and adventures company. The owners of Sahtú Adventures Inc, James McPherson and Jennie Vandermeer, who are also indigenous, wanted to bring people closer to the Sahtú Region and Indigenous culture.
James and Jennie want to inform people about the Sahtú region and build trust with travellers — encouraging interest in the Sahtú region and also the activities that the region offers, but not many people know about it now. Also, their current website is visited by potential visitors, but only a very small percentage of them result in booking a trip.
Quick Peek to the Solution
We were instructed to redesign a responsive website for Sahtú Adventure. The goals of this responsive web app are:
Build trust: represent the stories of Sahtú to build trust in travellers;
Create a perfect booking type for users: find out what users want when booking a tour and make sure we provide that on the website;
Create simple navigation: to increase the usability of the website by creating a simple navigation flow.
Meeting the Users
After the UX team completed the user research, they identified two personas that represented the majority of Sahtú Adventure's target users.
Claire, the primary persona, represented a user that would be interested in having the freedom to build a custom package for herself and a group of friends and /or her family:
customizing based on activity and price is important
being outdoors and supporting a local community is important
being able to book and pay online will reduce frustration for her.
Maxwell, the second primary persona of Sahtú Adventure, tends to travel with a partner whether it is a friend, a family member or his spouse:
would like some pre-set packages because he is very busy and makes organizing easier for him
loves being outdoors and wants to learn about the local community that he is visiting
wants to be able to book and pay for his tour online.
As UI designers, my team and I started our visual research process with an inception sheet. An inception sheet is great for designers to use as it helps set a solid base for the design.
Starting with "Why", my team and I focused on understanding the business of Sahtú Adventure. In this project, the "Why" is to redesign a website that increases online exposure of Sahtú, educates people about Sahtú and encourages people to experience the adventure through their customized booking tool.
The visual language of this "Why" can be explored in the following five categories:
Mood: Emphasized on outdoor adventure and indigenous culture, the general moods are eco-cultural, outdoorsy, sustainable, indigenous, educational, and fun. Also, because Sahtú Adventure offers customized guided tours, the website should convey a professional and trustworthy feeling to users.
Colour: Based on the mood, the colours of Sahtú Adventure should be earthy, fresh, and unique.
Shape: Organic and linear reflect the landscape of Sahtú such as forests, mountains, teepees and some Indigenous patterns.
Space: An overall open, balanced and clean space can generate a mood of outdoorsy and eco-cultural.
Movement: The movement of the website is simple and connected, easy for users to navigate and move around.
Mood Board and Style Tile
We created two mood boards and two style tiles to showcase the colours, typography, icons, buttons, and sample text fields based on the visual direction discussed above. MBST 1 is traditional and earthy. It reminds people of the beautiful view and rich culture of Sahtú. The colours of tan and beige convey a welcoming message from Indigenous people and create a sustainable vibe to outdoorsy people. Additionally, inspired by Canada colour, red illustrates Canadian heritage. Overall, MBST 1 emits a feeling of uniqueness, authenticity and professionalism. MBST 2 has a very different approach. It is represented with a modern tone, an icy feeling and a wild vibe given that Sahtú is located in the very north area. Because many travellers, according to our user research, are young people, an adventurous direction and a minimalist style of MBST 2 fit well here.
As the UX team finishing their Mid-fi design, we moved on with the high-fi stage. We started with the home page since it's the start of the show. The home screen must be strong to attract users' attention, encourage them to keep browsing down and educate users on what Sahtú Region is and what Sahtú Adventure is. We created a chevron-shape hero image, which reflects the linear shape of mountains and teepees from our inception sheet on one hand, and on the other hand, indicates users to scroll down and learn more. In terms of colours, we tweaked the colour palette from MBST 1 a little bit by increasing its opacity to generate a fresher and more open and wild feeling. Moreover, we added another section briefly talking about the business and the founder so users, especially first-time users can get a basic understanding quickly and build trust with the company. The rest screens follow the same design direction and patterns. Below are some of the high-fidelity design. To view the complete web prototype, please click on Sahtú Adventure Web Link.
We designed a mobile responsive version to accommodate phone users. We converted the top navigation bar into a clean hamburger menu and stacked most sections to generate a vertical layout. Below are some examples. To view the complete mobile prototype, please click on Sahtú Adventure Mobile Link.
The client was excited and pleased with our final product. For me, it was an opportunity to open my mind about Indigenous culture and history and earn about a part of Canada that I never knew existed. Responsive design is fun in general. What tricky is how to maximize the vertical layout and make it more user-intuitive and visually appealing.