This document is meant to present and detail the distinct features and functionalities being proposed for the new TravelOK.com. Beginning with the stated and recognized goals for TravelOK.com, we have envisioned a web experience that enables communication with site users, empowers the industry to participate in the state’s marketing efforts and creates ever expanding value for the site visitors.
While there are a number of features and functionalities available to the user on the Homepage, four will be the focus: Browse-by Navigation, Featured Content, Quick Planning tools and Search.
Before jumping into the specifics of those four features, we wanted to establish the primary page-specific goals for users on the homepage. Understanding what users are wanting to do on any page is the first step in deciding what the page should do and how it should do it. For a destination web site, the user on first arriving on the site has a number of primary goals. We have simplified a potentially long list of user goals down to these six:
Additionally we have established these marketing goals for the homepage:
And finally, these user experience goals to enable and reinforce the consumer and marketing goals:
In an attempt to address all of these homepage-specific goals, we have developed the following list of main homepage elements:
Users with different goals have different navigational needs. Users who know where they are going to visit, but don’t know what to do there, or how long to stay would first want to find the city they are visiting and then see the content that is relevant. Similarly, users who are interested in a particular activity but not sure where in Oklahoma to experience it would first want to find their interest and then see cities and content that is relevant. The flexible and robust information structure we are proposing will allow for these different BROWSE-BY navigation contexts.
All content for the site (articles, photos, videos, etc.) will be organized into silos (media types) and labeled with tags. A tag is a relevant keyword or term describing, associated with or assigned to a piece of content such as a picture, story or video clip. The tags form the flexible and robust basis for the overall structure and navigation of the site.
The tags will be grouped together in facets (or tag groups). For example, city names will be assigned as tags to each piece of content, and all the city tags will be grouped together under the title of CITIES or CITIES & TOWNS, allowing for users to find content by city (as a facet of the content’s description). Similarly, all the interest labels will be assigned as tags to each piece of content, and all interest tags will be grouped together under the title of INTERESTS or something similar.
Other facets (or tag groups) that will both structure the site and enable intuitive navigation include WHO or YOU (a group of tags applied to content related to the user’s situation: family, buddies, romance, group, etc.), SEASON (a group of tags applied to content related to a seasonal experience), MOOD or something similar (a group of tags applied to content related to the mood of the experience) and MEDIA TYPE or something similar (a group of tags applied to content describing their media type [video, story, photo, etc.]).
Guidelines will be established as to how those tags are added to the site. All applicable content regardless of silo will also be tagged with a latitude and longitude for mapping purposes. Content from the existing TravelOK.com site will be tagged under the same guidelines/rules.
From the main navigation (either across the top or along one of the sides) users will be able to choose any of the the facet titles (CITIES, INTERESTS, etc), as well as sitewide actions (order a guide, resources, etc.). Each of these main navigation links will lead to a special FINDER page. The Cities finder, for example, will bring together an interactive map with clickable city name labels, a set of filters and sorts on a list of all the cities, allowing users to narrow down by size, region, etc. Each city links to its city tag display page that brings together all of the content (regardless of type) that has been labeled with that city, including a map and a list of related tags (cities, interests,mood, etc.). Where there is more content than can be readily displayed, provision will be made for accessing that additional content.
3. “Who” – family,couples, buddies, groups, etc
4. “Mood” – offbeat, romantic, authentic
Clicking on the other facet names in the BROWSE-BY navigation will take the user to a special FINDER for each of the facets. For example, the Interests link on the main navigation will take users to an INTEREST FINDER presenting a collection of the site’s interests tags grouped by activity type, or activity level or similarity. For example, hiking and camping would be grouped together because of their similarity.
When users go to the INTEREST tag display page (HIKING for example), content of all types that this tag has been applied to will be brought dynamically together with a description and a mapping element, as well as links to relevant property listings, events, deals and more.
Additionally, dynamic lists of all the related interests, cities, moods, etc. will be presented, allowing users to zero in on HIKING near SHAWNEE, also allowing users to move from one interest to another without needing to interact with the main navigation or with the search.
The featured content (a road trip, Expert Storyteller’s features, map, slideshow, etc.) on the homepage will allow users to click-through for a full view of the content. For example, if Rodeos to Get Up For were the featured content on the homepage, users would be able to read the piece, and a link to Read Previous>> featured content pieces. Additionally, the content’s tags will be visible (i.e. rodeo, Tulsa, family, summer, slideshow) allowing for a user to find more content on any of those topics or points of view.
Every piece of content on the site will display the tags that have been assigned to it, allowing users to move from a photo of route 66 to other content labeled “route 66”. Similarly, content that is labeled “Tulsa”, “rodeo” would allow users to navigate to all the other content that is labeled “Tulsa” and to all the other content labeled “rodeo”.
The search is the fourth navigation path. The search box will feature a SEARCH SUGGEST feature. While typing in the search box, suggested terms will appear for quick linking, presenting property names, listing categories (accommodations, hotels, cafes, etc.), tags (city names, interest tag, season, etc.), successful keyword searches ( with at least 10 returned results to make a positive entry into the suggest table). Misspellings and aliases (with a redirect, for example, B&B can be redirected to Bed & Breakfast) would be handled manually from CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM.
If the user’s search term does not match any of the suggested search terms, the keyword will be run as a full search. The search results page will present all of the items in each of the content silos that have a keyword match. For example, with Antique Gas Pump as the search term, all of the photos with a keyword match in their caption or alt text will be presented. Similarly, in a separate module, all of the videos with a keyword match in their titles or descriptions will be presented. All of the keyword matches of all the silos (listings, articles, roadtrips, events, etc.) will be presented, each in its own module. Additionally, the full-text search engine will return text that matches inside page content (whether it’s an article or some other text content), ordered by a level of relevancy and paginated. This PATTERENED SEARCH RESULTS page will provide both a comprehensive view and easy access to all of the content on the site matching the query.
Using such current technologies as AJAX, we will create the next generation of data listings display. This technology will allow users drill down to the listings that match their particular needs without needing to reload the page or interrupt the flow of their browsing.
All the listings will have the ability to be filtered and sorted by user-chosen criteria in real time, without the need for pages to be reloaded. Example for filters would be – city, type, rate, etc. Every property will have the ability to update (via dedicated web interface) their information, add amenities, upload photos and videos etc. By selecting specific filters, users will be able to see how many results are remaining in each category. After selecting a specific property, users will be able to see more information about it, look at property photos, videos, see a full list of amenities, rates and more.
If the results in the current filters selected by the user are still too many, pagination will be provided, keeping the selected filters active, but switching to the next page with results.
The TravelOK.com site will provide varied types of content tailored to varied narrative and user goal needs. There is forthcoming a much more detailed description of content types and strategies that will delve into the particulars of coverage and concepts, which is the content plan.
Written content may take one of two different forms, but within each of those forms a number of different narrative strategies exist.
Articles are a longer form, ranging from 300-1600 words. Articles can be built around coverage of a topic (handicrafts, roadside diners, rodeos, etc.) or around an experience (My Americana Adventure) or around a geography (Tulsa in the Springtime). Under this umbrella are other text content types, including lists, such as top 10 events in Tulsa, the blog entries of staff and the expert storytellers, best bets-style short features and any user-generated pre- or post-trip information.
Entries are a shorter format content unit that will be used to provide information, facts, details etc. about specific places, activities, experiences or topics. Dictionary or short-form encyclopedia entries are not a bad model.
Photos communicate much about what’s to be found in a destination. Put in the right context, photos can be one of the more powerful pieces of content. When viewing a full-view of any photo on the site, users will be able to read the caption and credit information as well as read comments from other users and add their own. Additionally, the photos will be tagged with all applicable tags (city, mood, interest, etc.) as well as with latitude and longitude, so they show up in relevant navigation explorations or searches.
Photos with companion text can tell the story of a place or an experience. We recommend each slideshow contain a series of images with short captions for these elements. The slideshow is activated by the user, and will have the capability to be shared with others. In addition, there will be functionality that will allow the user to make the photo fill the screen. Pressing escape will reduce the image size back to “normal” display size.
Like static images, moving images are some of your most compelling content. See below for treatment of existing video content, and a plan for adding content going forward.
For exisiting video:
We will need an inventory and aging list to determine which existing assets could be revamped for display on the new site.
We would enter into the content plan all new-ish video (not older than two years, with exceptions for particuluarly spectacular/event-related video)
We will incorporate video focused on a particular theme, location or topic
Segments should be no longer than 3 to 4 minutes in length
Segments should support the overall tone of the site
We recommend flash format with an aspect ratio of 4:3, in addition to compression of files for fast load times.
Once revised for display on the web, we recommend that upon uploading that all video segments are titled, captioned, credited, tagged, geocoded so they can be located by the site search and web-based searches, such as Google or Yahoo.
We will work with ORTD to determine the path to adapting the videos on the site.
NEED NEW VIDEO PROGRAM RECOMMENDATIONS
Since you have the resources available to create new videos, we recommend dovetailing the content schedule of the Storytellers to your video production arm. Where possible, your video production crew can capture Storytellers when they are out and about in Oklahoma, having the experiences you wish to communicate to your potential visitors.
The core item of the road trips is the ENTRY. The entry can include graphics and photography, embedded media and copy and is tagged like all the rest of the site content, including lat/long for placement on a map. Connecting a series of entries together in a geographic context and in a sequence will create a road trip.
Users will have several opportunities to contribute to the community on TravelOK.com. Users will be able to add their own photos and videos, that will, after approval, become part of the site. Additionally, users will be able to rate all of the other pieces of content (articles, entries, photos, videos, roadtrips, experts blog posts) on a scale of one to four. Users will also be able to add comments to all other pieces of content. Comments will be moderated in an established workflow to rule out comments that are untrue, profane or irrelevant to Oklahoma travel. Finally, users will be able to submit their own “trips” or more precisely “roadtrips” for publication pending moderation.
Users will be able to use the TRIP PLANNER to bookmark, save, comment on, organize, share and journal about their Oklahoma trip. From anywhere on the site, users can add items they are viewing to their “roadtrip”. When organizing their roadtrip, users can group items into entries and order the entries to create their own itinerary, including mapping, and printable plans. Users can also write their own copy, upload their own photos or videos, and publish their roadtrips.