The design for the new Discover Denbighshire website (click here for link) has mapping as a primary feature of the visitor’s user experience. The website’s Home page incorporates an interactive map of the area with the locations of events, places to eat and stay and attractions both clickable and searchable from the very first moment the visitor arrives at the website.
The prominent use of interactive mapping provides a number of benefits. Firstly it familiarises the visitor with the area, showing them the extent of Denbighshire, a county many holidaymakers may predominantly associate with its coastal destinations of Rhyl and Prestatyn. The map illustrates how far the county reaches into the Welsh mainland and highlights the attractions available as an alternative to those of the coastal towns and beaches. The colours and styles used on the map have been designed to work with the corporate branding of the website so that the mapping element is seen as an integral part of the website rather than as simply an “add on”. The mapping is linked to a database and CMS so the Discover Denbighshire team can maintain the map content and location details themselves. [more]
Second, the interactive map allows visitors to personalise their user experience of the website, providing them with the option to find what interests them when they go on holiday. When used in conjunction with the website’s search tools visitors can filter and display searches based on their interests; e.g outdoor pursuits, child-friendly eateries or dog-friendly accommodation. The map will show the locations of their custom searches and filters.
Third, the map encourages the the visitor to explore beyond their primary interest, again by using enhanced search and filter tools. For example, once the visitor has identified an attraction or event that interests them they have the option to search for what is nearby to its location. The ‘What’s Near Me?’ feature encourages the visitor to explore the area more deeply and to consider other options for their itinerary. The filtering process allows visitors to enter date ranges so a daytrip has the potential to be extended to a weekend break if, for example, an interesting event is scheduled the day before or after their planned visit.
The interactive mapping is based on Ordnance Survey’s OpenData. It offers clients an alternative to Google and Bing maps and provides options to design and personalise maps so they are more integrated with the user experience and destination management objectives required of the tourism website. The design, build and hosting of Discover Denbighshire’s website and CMS was undertaken by The Web Publishing Portal in 2013.