Modernizing an area institution
With nearly 1 million visitors each year, the Seattle Aquarium is the most popular cultural attraction on Seattle’s waterfront. For many, the website serves as the front door, helping customers plan their visit. Unfortunately, the Aquarium’s website hadn’t kept pace with Seattle’s rapidly changing landscape. The outdated platform made it difficult to update content. Furthermore, the site wasn’t responsive, complicating basic user needs like buying tickets or checking hours of operation on a phone.
Our mission was to modernize the experience, making it useful for website visitors as well as the staff at the Aquarium.
More than a visit planner
We started our process working directly with the Seattle Aquarium team to ensure we understood not only the needs of their customers, but also their internal teams. In our collaborative Clarity Lab workshop we identified the collective goals for the site.
We knew we needed to go beyond the basics of planning a visit (although we certainly needed to do that as well) and offer users a digital experience that enhanced the one on-site. Additionally, we also wanted to elevate the Aquarium’s mission to promote research, conservation, and advocacy in ocean health.
We conducted an iterative design process steadily increasing the fidelity of our work from hand sketches, to schematics, and finally visual design while integrating client and user feedback from user testing. The iterative approach made for a smooth partnership with the Bear Group (their 3rd party development team) who was able to build the site in parallel with our design.
Responsive and Immersive
The newly launched site enables customers to plan their visits quickly and efficiently by featuring hours, ticket prices, directions, and the most critical pieces of information right on the homepage. However, it doesn’t sacrifice emotional impact to satisfy these important tasks.
Visitors are greeted with ambient video showing the wonder of the ocean floor. Information relating to the animals and exhibits is immediately accessible as is deeper content on the Aquarium’s mission.
The Seattle Aquarium team is thrilled with how the website turned out, and since launch they have already seen a 16% increase in new user engagement.
We were looking for a complete overhaul of our website including design and our CMS. Fell Swoop patiently listened to our struggles, needs, and our hopes. By working with them we were able to consolidate content, streamline the user experience, and optimize for mobile.
We couldn’t be happier with the results and would recommend Fell Swoop to anyone in a heartbeat!