Park City Insider

Reimagining the search for events in Utah's snowy playground.

Park City Insider is an event website that caters to visitors and locals searching for events in the Park City area. PCI works closely with venues and event promoters to post quality events people care about.

mobile prototype
My Role

Research, Design, Prototype

Tools

Sketch, Mockflow, Anima

Timeline

Feb '18 - Aug '18

Platform

Web

My Role

Research, Design, Prototype

Tools

Sketch, Mockflow, Anima

Timeline

Feb 2018 - Aug 2018

Platform

Web

BackgroundResearchDesignResultsPrototype

BACKGROUND

Park City Insider is a new business that wants to highlight the apres ski culture to visitors and give locals new and exciting things to do in the area. They are partnered with popular venues in the area, radio stations and bars, and restaurants.

Park City Utah needed an events calendar loaded with local events and things to do. Existing bars, restaurants, theatres, and venues did not have functional websites that listed the events that they had going on. The only way for locals and visitors to know what was going on was through word of mouth.

It needs to be run by locals

Our Users

We cater to three different user bases and created 3 different user profiles to visualize whom we are working for.

Local Event Seekers - These are the users that are based in the area. They’ve done all there is to do, they’ve skied all the mountains, and they know this place like the back of their hand. They love Park City and want to stay but want a variety of things to do when they’re not on the slopes. They want to know where local specials are so they can save some coin in an area that can be pricey.

Visiting Event Seekers - These users may or not be familiar with the area but they all want to enjoy local Park City culture. They need to know where the hot spots in town are and the things they should not miss! They’re here on vacation and they’re ready to spend a little more money than normal to enjoy themselves.

Event Posters - Our site needs to be optimized for the people throwing the events. These guys are busy and we need to get the event data as painlessly as possible. They want to get the word out so they can get business.

How might we inform locals of specials and exciting events in Park City?

How might we inform visitors of the 'must-sees' in Park City?

How might we get event data information from local venues and event planners?

different personas

Our users fell within 3 different categories. Local, Visitor or Promoter.

Scope of Project

There were a lot of good ideas flying and we needed to specify what was necessary to launch beta and gain the interest of our target users.

  • Conduct research on the local and national competition in the area.
  • Interview event planners, promoters, and venues to find out what process of data collection is the easiest and most beneficial.
  • Interview locals on how they get information on events and things to do in the area.
  • Create a proof of concept and MVP to show potential partners, investors and gain traction with users to get data with what the users are finding important.
  • Create a feature-list and plan roadmap for future development.

We went back and forth between the research, design and test phase. It wasn't linearly organized. We jumped around based on design feedback or recent research findings.

sitemap

We had a lot of meetings to decide what features and pages would be valuable to users and promoters. This rough sitemap is a culmination of those early meetings, designs, and train of thought. We needed to specify what we were going to create based off of an idea.

RESEARCH

There was a lack of online competition so we did a competitive analysis of different forms of media including; printed magazines, hotel blogs, radio, and the chamber of commerce. We did an analysis of the unique features they had and asked local users what features would be the most beneficial.

competitive advantage

We analyzed features and sites locally and nationally to decipher what would be advantageous to us. If we could create our own unique features that would set us apart.

Data Acquisition

We researched the idea of manually inputting data vs. scraping the web for event data. The cost of building and maintaining the scraping tech would be expensive. However, inputting all event data would be labor intensive. In the end, we chose against scraping data. Issues with scraping:

  1. Local businesses, bars, restaurants, and other venues weren’t diligent in upkeeping the events on their websites. Most of the sites in the area were outdated.
  2. Most of the events were on flyers around town, spread through word of mouth.
  3. The number of restaurants and bars that lacked a website or online presence worked to our advantage because if these places didn’t have a way for users to search for things to do.

The number of restaurants and bars that lacked a website or online presence worked to our advantage.

data workflow with scraping

If we chose to scrape data then our work flow would have been something like this. Kinda messy, not an ideal work flow for very little payoff.

DESIGN

During the research phase, we made a list of features that were important to our users and unique to Park City Insider. We initially cut back on a lot on the nice-to-have features in favor of getting the absolute necessary needed to produce the product and test it. The client needed to have a prototype to show to investors, venues and potential partners.

With feedback from partners and through several design iterations, we came up with three design principles

  • Clear - The design has to be fun but easy to navigate. Filters must be in place so that users can narrow their search.
  • Informational - The design needs to quickly and accurately convey information that is essential to the event.
  • Local - The design needs to showcase the best of Park City culture
brainstorm and sketch of homepage

After several brainstorm sessions with the client and partners we came up with what would go on the homepage.

Design choices

Recurring Events - Deciding how we would display and share recurring events was an obstacle. We didn’t know if we wanted to.

  1. Show on-going events as one event with one shared URL.
  2. Show on-going events as their event with unique URLs.
  3. Show on-going events as their event with a shared URL.

We debated if it was important to display a date range on a single event card or have individual event cards for each specific day. We ultimately went with showing the date range on the event card, with one shared URL, and the card would show up in the search on every day it is active. It would have been nice to do more user testing with this feature because there were many ways we could have done it. This method would also reduce the number of pages on the site which reduced cost and increased speed.

event card date comparison

It was a collaboration between design and engineering.

Monetizing Events - Venues and promoters wanted to pay for exposure for their event. It is essential that promoters get the exposure they want without compromising the integrity of our product. We opted for a tiered program, promoters could pay for a boost in exposure and weight in the trending events section. Users, stakeholders, and promoters both felt this was fair.

tired event cards

Example of the hierarchy with the tiered partner program.

Trending Events - The events that people are the most interested in seeing deserve a higher priority. A ‘trending events’ section on the home page and the events page allows users to see what events are receiving the most traction. Venues and partners that are approved by the Insider team receive more weight when users click their events.

trending events

To protect users from being bombarded with a plethora of useless and irrelevant events we added a trending section so the best of the best get the most exposure.

Event Listing Page - We tested several sketches of the listing page, which led to the first wireframe and then later refined to the final design. We opted for a featured event card at the top of the page to bring attention to events that were receiving more traction.

Stages of the design concept

It took several iterations of the event listing page to get this wireframe. We went back and forth between venues, users and the client to find a design that worked. The research, design, feedback loop led us to the final design concept.

RESULTS

Building Park City Insider required a lot of research and interviews. We started with a vague idea and a want to improve the area and turned it into a product with a lot of promise. Based on the feedback from partners and analytics we have an idea of how we will improve the product within the upcoming months. We have been able to clarify what features are valuable to both us, the promoters and our users.

Within the first month of the beta release, our website was consistently in the top 4 on searches using common search phrases for events in the area. We were able to get the attention of future partners and businesses.

In hindsight, I would have left more time and budget for user usability testing and interviews. I would probably have had more meetings with my client because we were both learning so much about the industry it would have been more advantageous had we shared more often.

Limitations

Park City Insider is a new product for a new business, so a large portion of time was spent researching, clarifying and refining.

We didn't have a strict timeline which at first was great, but it meant we were constantly battling "scope creep". For the upcoming steps, we have talked about putting more constraints on the timeline so we can put a product out to test its effectiveness before we invest more time and money on developing features we're not 100% sure will work.

Every event promoter, venue, and bar owner had an opinion on how they wanted the website and future app to work. So we spent time sifting through the opinions to find commonalities.

Moving forward

We have a long list of features that users and partners would find useful. We will work on building and establishing the brand within the community. We've received feedback and data from the site and are working to refine the existing website to meet needs.

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