HappyTour

Building a corporate website layout is something that creative designers would usually like to avoid. This is because there is no creation involved here, especially when all the company branding and identity has been done and the copyright department has done its job with the effective corporate tag lines.

Something you can not avoid

Corporate layouts (and not only!) follow a simple set of rules and there is absolutely nothing you can’t do about it.  This is because of two things:

  • Users expect these web sites to look and behave in a certain way
  • 90% of the clients want their corporate site to be: clean and simple, yet professional and with great impact. And I can’t blame them for that.

So here are the rules – follow them and you’ll create a nice looking corporate website:

  • The page header contains the company logo on the left hand. To the right we have the search bar and a secondary menu
  • The main menu is displayed on a colored bar under the header.
  • Below this, there is the large content slider (4-5 slides) with the best things that the company does. We have here the main graphics and the catchy words. Here you can get creative so take your best shot!
  • After that, you’ll see some boxes containing the following: a title, a thumb image or icon and a few text lines or a link list.
  • Don’t forget the “read more” link.
  • Large footer that also works as a sitemap (not bad at all for SEO)

The challenge

Here comes Happy Tour, the leader of the business travel market in Romania. Sounds impressive. More than that – they want to redesign their corporate website. They already have their branding and identity materials done and the copyrighters did a real great job, I can tell you that. To make it all even more challenging, the website would have just a dozen static pages and a contact form, of course.  And it has to look clean and professional.

Trying to get creative

We don’t need to despair; worst case scenario would be ending up with a clean looking and professional corporate website, just like all the other ones out there.  I still have in mind the large content slider with 1, 2, 3, 4 small boxes presenting the Happy Tour services. It was in my head before the meeting with the client.  We never built it.

For the main homepage area we thought that having a video instead would make the page feel a bit different. A good speech of the Spanish Executive Vice President of a Romanian company would convey the rights messages and ideas to the visitors. To make the layout even more catchy we wanted to seamlessly integrate the video visually into the page. No visible player. No visible controls. Three similar videos (acting like a content slider, I admit).

We went a bit beyond the Happy Tour brand manual and used the smile icon from the logo to create a set of icons related to their corporate key words.

The shooting

Shooting the three speeches and than having to post-process them in order to accomplish the goals was our challenge, considering the fact that we didn’t have any experience in such sort of things. We had to prepare all very carefully and to take into account all sort of things we’ve never thought of before. Especially if we didn’t have a studio and everything was done at the Happy Tour headquarters, together with a small video team.

  • Same light: the lighting conditions had to be the same for all three scenes. If not, the concept would have been compromised as in the final layout the speakers slide in the visible area like they sit at a table and the camera is moving in front on them.
  • Same camera position: having a different camera position or angle between shots would have also ruined the shooting for the same reason. So we carefully guarded the tripod, if someone would have moved it by mistake, everything was lost.
  • Do not move your hands out the frame: we wanted to seamlessly integrate the video into the layout so if the speaker would get out of the frame with just one finger we wouldn’t have accomplished the desired effect.
  • Stay still for two seconds before starting to talk: in the homepage the speaker would just start talking on play, without any visible transition between the still image and the video.

I can hear now all of you video pros laughing out loud 🙂 and you are right. All these might not have been such a big deal if we had an equipped studio and professional speakers. But the circumstances and the lack of experience made it a little challenging.

Implementation

Nothing much to say here:  we built the The Happy Tour on the Drupal 7 platform. VideoPublishing powers the videos, GoogleMaps couldn’t miss and we also integrated WhiteImage as an email marketing solution.

The website

Here it is. It looks like a corporate website, but we like to think it feels and it behaves maybe a little different. At least the homepage.

HappyTour.ro

HappyTour.ro

by Alex Axon

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