Most Hoosiers think the Indiana State Fairgrounds is used solely for the annual Indiana State Fair. In actuality, it is much more than that. In addition to being the home of the Indiana State Fair, the Fairgrounds also includes a global learning initiative, event facilities for rent, a foundation that supports year-round agriculture, youth development, and campus stewardship, and a recently renovated world-class stadium.
When Connect Think began working with the Indiana State Fair to create a new website, their goal was to:
- Create an effortless user experience with an emphasis on an easy to use navigation.
- Develop a robust content management system that allows the Indiana State Fairgrounds team to manage the website content.
- Provide a site that allows for a considerable amount of content. The new website was to be the hub for five different websites: the Indiana State Fairgrounds & Event Center, the Indiana State Fair, The Barns Global Learning Initiative, the Indiana State Fair Foundation, and the Indiana Farmers Coliseum.
Our solution involved the development of many custom content management elements and integration of third party software. Using WordPress, we created a highly customizable solution for the Indiana State Fairgrounds that addressed all of the organization’s needs while offering scalability for future growth of the site.
At the outset of the project, we worked closely with Indiana State Fairgrounds staff and the design experts at Nogginwerks to understand the branding and messaging that the new website should convey. With a lot of information to let users know what’s happening at different times of the year, content needed to be organized in a central location without confusing users with multiple site listings. Implementing designs provided by Nogginwerks, we created a website with different sections that devotes space to each aspect of the Fairgrounds, relevant during the Indiana State Fair and year-round.
Find the Right Venue Using Our Custom Content Modules
In addition to the annual Indiana State Fair, which hosted a record 907,342 fairgoers in 2015, the Indiana State Fairgrounds hosts different sized events in its numerous event spaces, all of which are available for rent. Using custom-designed content modules, we created a framework for the various venue information pages to be displayed in an intuitive, uniform design that is easy for users to understand and navigate. Individual information pages are laid out identically, allowing users to compare each venue’s amenities quickly to determine which is best for their upcoming event. On the main Venue Information page, users can take advantage of a feature that filters venues based on square footage to aid in narrowing the search process.
Responsive Site Design
With the rise of smartphones, it has become a standard requirement that websites be designed to look good on both desktop and mobile platforms. Using responsive CSS, we designed Indianastatefair.com to be accessible to any user on any web platform.
Targeted Event Signup Forms
The Barns Global Learning Initiative section needed to display both information and signup forms for many events. We used custom-designed content modules and forms for each event page. The website’s previous iteration featured one signup form for every event, requiring the user to select the proper options to register for an event. Our individual event pages with forms eliminated the possibility that a user could sign up for the wrong event. While the previous website directed all form submissions to one catch-all email address, our solution sends each form submission to the individual in charge of managing that event at the Indiana State Fair. Providing this clarity to the user accelerates the signup process and eliminates the chance that submissions could be mismanaged.
Custom API Integration
One of the primary needs was to integrate event data from the client’s event management system: Ungerboeck. In the previous website, the Indiana State Fairgrounds staff had to enter all of the event data into their event management system, then duplicate all of that data entry in their website. To make this process easier, find news ways to improve site functionality, and limit duplicate data entry, we created a custom API integration solution. This solution imports all of the event data from the event management system to populate the event calendar automatically, with no need to make local edits in WordPress. However, Indiana State Fairgrounds staff can make additional updates to the event by adding pictures or other information. This information is merged to allow for a seamless process to promote events.
Another content area that was in need of improvement was the archive of PDF files across the site. With no easy way to view the multitude of PDFs online, users were forced to download a file to view its contents. With the Real 3D Flipbook plugin, we were able to set up an on-screen PDF viewer which gives the user the illusion that the pages of a document are turning.
Connect Think worked with the Indiana State Fairgrounds staff to provide a cohesive web solution that not only saves time and money going forward but also provides visitors with an attractive, easy-to-navigate information hub for everything at the Indiana State Fair year-round.
You can view the new Indiana State Fair website here.
Contact us today if your business or event website needs a refresh or overhaul. We have the experience to develop modern, accessible websites to provide you with the tools to manage your website.