Philadelphia loves Hoefler
There’s a only few things I’m really picky about when it comes to good website design: navigation and clarity. Visitphilly.com has both.
The rotating banner photos do a great job of bringing a user in immediately, and it does a nice job of displaying the city highlights. After all, a visitor bureau website is hardly different from a portfolio site–it just showcases different things. You can let the sliding action roll or you can cycle through them with the forward and backwards buttons, particularly handy when spotting an appealing attraction right as it moves to the next slide.
Using a website isn’t rocket science, and a user shouldn’t have to think about how to hunt down info. These tabs are marked with fail-safe names such as ‘Things to do’ and ‘Nightlife’ that even the most picky passenger can collect ideas. Clever copywriting aside, the content is fresh and accessible. It’s been well-edited to not overwhelm but it wields a lot of information to entice travelers. The Hot Spot feature makes finding top landmarks a breeze and that much more likely to lure tourists.
The multimedia intergration is well done, and its a good thing, too, since so many people read less now. Each entry is clearly addressed, tagged, mapped, and posted with the next event time. I think they’re in business. There’s also video, photo galleries, and a nifty Google map built right in to help tourists find their way. Also, a clean website design lets information transfer to mobile devices much easier since the screens are so much smaller.
Somebody somewhere behind this website is a Hoefler fan. I think the ‘Philadelphia’ is the single best use of Ziggurat I’ve ever seen (except for maybe here). The thinner, more compressed Knockout Middleweight is an excellent compliment to the heavy slab serif.* Bold display type demands attention, and a clean font in which to read copy. It really gives the site a 1-2 punch performance, and I’m not just saying it because I’m a huge Hoefler fan myself. This is one website that might make tourist traps throw in the towel.
Color is also used carefully on this site. Philadelphia is a city with such deep historical roots that it was easy to choose red, white and blue, but they went a step farther by selecting a red-orange instead of the traditional crayon red. The switch gives the appearance a jab for attention instead of jarring audiences. There’s several soothing shades of blue with cream and taupe instead of white. It reads more like an upscale hotel hallway and less like Independence Hall. Judging from everything else they’ve got, I’d say that’s exactly what they were going for: mixing the modern with the colonial, and given all the restoration, preservation and upscaling efforts Philly has put in over the last decade reads like a power punch to other metropolitan destinations like New York and Chicago.
*Yes Jackie, I’m still gonna make you a pack of flash cards!