How we got there
Until now, Shetlanders have never had an online resource that features a comprehensive list of every upcoming event taking place in the isles, and there's a lot more than some people may think! Many people relied on word of mouth, or seeing adverts posted around public locations or in the local newspaper to know about events they may be able to attend, and as a result, attendances may not always be as high as they could be. The idea to build a website detailing every upcoming local event came about when Diane was inspired by similar projects in Scotland's largest cities, such as Edinburgh and Glasgow, and she felt there was no reason Shetland couldn't have the same.
The new website took a great deal of planning. Being that What's On Shetland had never really existed in any online incarnation up until now, there wasn't a lot of previous experience to build on or past mistakes to learn from. We planned the key elements of the site by researching the various types of events regularly held in Shetland, and where these were located. Using this information, we scoped out potential visitor journeys from the homepage right through to finding the type of event they were looking for. It was essential during the design phase to ensure that website users could find direct links to essential webpages elsewhere on the internet, such as those where tickets for paid events can be purchased from.
We also had to factor in a few other audiences, such as those who want to list their events on the site. It was agreed that they should be able to do this free of charge, to give everyone in Shetland the same opportunity to promote their event, no matter how big or small. What's On Shetland would bring in revenue via paid ads space, and this was a key element which also had to be factored into the design.
We designed an attractive, bespoke website based around the branding the client previously had commissioned for the project, and used a colour scheme that we felt would help visitors get excited and positive about the amount of things they can actually do in Shetland.
The site can be searched in numerous ways to help everyone find what they're looking for. The filter bar across the top allows the user to search by any or all of 'Event Type', 'Event Location' and a date range. It's also possible to click on dates on the homepage calendar to see a full list of events for any particular upcoming date. The 'Hot Events' section allows the client to highlight some of the most popular or unique upcoming events happening around Shetland.
Users of the website can easily submit their own events via the custom forms on the website too, and these are added directly to a hidden page on the site, which goes live pending What's On Shetland's approval, meaning the client doesn't have to repeatedly copy and paste information into the site on a regular basis. This has proven a useful tool so far, with over 400 events being added to the website within a month of launch.