A New Way to Plan

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Donovan Cronkhite
President, RjM

Posted On October 18, 2012


Portfolio, Website Launches

The driving force for a website redesign is often the graphical look of the site. Old pictures, dated design elements or a new brand usually forces a company to scrap everything and start over. For one Jackson organization, the driving force for a redesign was actually the content, and they called RjM to help them.

The previous Experience Jackson (formerly the Jackson County Convention and Visitors Bureau) website had been built many years prior. And while the organization had invested in upgrades and additions over time, managing all of the data within the site was becoming a nightmare. As Jackson's go-to guide for hotels, restaurants, attractions, and a calendar of events, the amount of data included in the site was tremendous.

Managing a large amount of data online didn't phase us at RjM however. We started with our advanced Content Management System (aCMS) as a base to build the entire site. Instead of starting with how the site would look, we began with the structure of the aCMS. The site formed around a series of small databases for managing individual business listings, calendar events, news items, photos and modular sidebars. Each of these databases was then integrated into a main database that controlled each page in the entire site. Combined with a series of highly powerful categories, this accomplished an "input once, publish everywhere" philosophy.

Experience Jackson websiteOnce a picture was painted of how the data would be displayed on the site, RjM went to work on the design. The narrow, outdated design in muted colors was scrapped for a colorful, modular design that allowed Experience Jackson to create pages in a variety of template formats. A large photo background could be placed on each page, or randomly pulled from all photos uploaded to the site. Each piece of the design, barring the header and footer, can be customized per page.

RjM also integrated several custom features that are unique to the Experience Jackson website. The calendar of events allows anyone to sign-up for an account through the website or common social media accounts, and manage their own listings on the community calendar. News items can be submitted for approval and displayed on the site through an easy online form. A custom built system allows for visitors to create custom golf vacation packages online and submit to Experience Jackson for final quoting and booking. People who live or visit Jackson can also send their relatives and friends back home a postcard from the site showcasing everything that Jackson has to offer. As well, RjM converted the entire site to a mobile version that optimizes the content and navigation for use on tablets and phones.

Whether someone is looking to see, play, do, taste, enjoy, or discover Jackson, the Experience Jackson website is now the place to go for that information. The new website shows that it's not always the graphical design that should be the major concern. Sometimes when planning the site, all the parts that a visitors doesn't see is just as important. When you find yourself in the same situation, contact RjM to find out how we can craft a content management solution for you as well.