Edmonton Airports manages the fast-growing Edmonton International Airport (EIA). They've been working hard to raise their profile and market share, with a major branding project to revamp their image and substantial facilities expansions. They've opened a brand new international terminal and luxury hotel, with even more exciting changes to come. Customer experience was their number one priority, and they were ready to make some updates to their online communications.
When does my flight take off? Where do I park?
Before we started our work together, the EIA website couldn’t quite follow through with the brand’s promise. The design and content management system weren't meeting their communication needs, and the EIA team didn’t want technology getting in the way of telling their story. Most visitors were coming to their website with very specific, time-sensitive tasks (when does my flight take off? Where do I park?), and needed a flawless online experience on any device.
The biggest challenges the Edmonton International Airport website faced were:
- The current CMS, design, and information architecture didn't give them the flexibility they needed to grow, especially after their expansion and rebranding projects
- The website was not compatible with small screen devices like tablets and smart phones – a fast-growing audience segment that needed a better experience
Our partnership with Edmonton International Airport included research and discovery, content strategy and information architecture, responsive web design (RWD), and Drupal development.
User research and stakeholder research
Faced with a six month timeline, we had to prioritize. Through several discovery workshop sessions, we investigated EIA's most important issues. What changes would have the biggest impact for their internal team and customers? We focused on the core user tasks: what do air travelers most need to know or do before they get on a plane? Then we created the content, design, and technology systems to make it all happen.
We focused on the core user tasks: what do air travelers most need to know or do before they get on a plane?
Content strategy and information architecture
The existing flyEIA.com had a lot of content, but not all of it mapped to their core goals. After an extensive content audit, we eliminated mountains of unnecessary content to streamline navigation and focus on key customer use cases. We planned a new information architecture to reflect user tasks (not internal organization structure). We created content templates that helped the EIA team create structured, semantic web content to meet their users’ needs. Then we used our automated content migration tool to migrate hundreds of pages from their legacy CMS into the new Drupal website structure.
User experience design and web design
Once the new content structure was in place, we redesigned the airport website’s entire look and feel to show off their new brand. We worked directly with the client team in an iterative design process, and built style tiles and functional wireframes so they could see exactly what their site would look like and how it would behave. The new responsive website design build works on any device, eliminating the need for the separate mobile application they had been maintaining.
Custom Drupal development
This was no out-of-the-box Drupal installation – we spent hundreds of hours building custom Drupal components to make sure the new website could deliver the functionality and experience EIA customers needed.
Flight arrival and departure information is EIA’s most important content by far. The tool they used to store and display this data, the Flight Information Display System (FIDS), pulled info from multiple sources, and was updated constantly. Our new build had to work perfectly or we’d have some upset passengers on our hands.
We spent hundreds of hours building custom Drupal components to make sure the new website could deliver the functionality and experience EIA customers needed.
FIDS is a heavy-duty web application, so we had to make sure website performance wasn’t affected. It pulls data from an external database, joining multiple tables to build an ever-changing list of flight data. Our operations and development teams spent countless hours troubleshooting and testing it to make sure it had the right content and great performance. Since they were running on a Microsoft Windows platform, with IIS on the front-end and SQL Server, it took some fancy configuration work to keep Drupal happy (which normally runs on LAMP – Linux Apache MySQL PHP).
Our content strategy and governance work helped the EIA team optimize their workflows across all of their online communications channels. The entire EIA team learned how to create, implement, and maintain web content that works.
“Mobile usage increased by 20%, and tablet usage increased by 28%...”
Our user experience strategy and responsive web design solution means that EIA won’t have to redesign their entire website again in a few years when technology changes – it’s ready for whatever the future of the web might bring.
The Drupal CMS means that creating content and maintaining the website is easier than ever. The communications team can manage their entire workflow in one place, instead of sifting through emails, phone calls, and in-person meetings to get things done.
On top of all that, we also:
- Helped the communications team leverage their new CMS to create great web content, and decentralize content authorship for more efficiency
- Created a user experience that helps users find the information they want quickly and easily, no matter what the device
- Created a more flexible online advertising framework, allowing EIA to drive more revenue through their web channels
- Helped internal stakeholders communicate their most important messages
- Shifted the internal team’s focus to content and readability, so their website became a valuable resource instead of a filing cabinet full of legacy content
- Created an industry-leading airport website
- Achieved a 20% increase in mobile traffic
- Improved search optimization and search results