Context

Due to be completed in 2022, the Wellington Convention and Events Centre (WCEC) will be Wellington’s first and only premium conference and exhibition facility.

In the lead up to opening, the WCEC marketing team have been busy working to secure events by promoting the venue at conferences.

Our brief was to create an interactive experience that would help them to demonstrate its unique capabilities to prospective clients.

We called it ‘the configurator’ - a way of exploring and, yes, configuring WCEC to your needs, with the useful option to send yourself a link afterwards.

Having previously made similar products for comparable venues, we had some solid experience to draw on and a hit-list of things to make even better.

Our prior experience would be our saving grace. We were appointed in mid-November to deliver a polished product by mid-February - a hard deadline.

As with most projects, our first challenge was to align the stakeholders, behind a shared understanding of how the configurator would work.

We did this via Zoom, as people were spread across Wellington, Nelson and Auckland. Aside from the obligatory microphone issues, it worked well.

We were able to progress through concepting quickly (inside 2 weeks) by workshopping the user journey and creating, demonstrating and refining a hi-fi prototype.

Approach

One of the challenges we faced was designing an interface that was intuitive, supportive and efficient, across all screen sizes.

Committed to a great result and with the deadline fast approaching, we threw everything at making sure that the UI was totally fluid.
It was game on!

Bringing Sketch artboards into Overflow, we rapidly created, tested and refined prototypes of the interface. This let us try new patterns and find and eliminate friction.

The resulting UI is clear and unobstructive. Animation is well paced and subtle behaviours, like when focus and zoom levels adjust after activating or closing a space, add a level of polish.

We also made improvements to the way room markers behave, making them more obvious and adding the ability to preview a space’s configuration options and capacities.

What we’re most proud of though is the introduction of the side panel, which reduces the number of clicks required when trying out multiple configurations for a space.

The UI works hard, so the user doesn’t need to.

Result

The configurator is completely responsive, built on the beautiful Craft CMS and uses custom Javascript to drive interactivity.

Optimising the frontend was an interesting challenge, with the configurator made up of several hundred images (backgrounds, room configurations, thumbnails etc.).

To deliver the best experience, we needed to provide people with the highest fidelity images possible for their device.

We settled on developing a script that serves one of four sets of optimised imagery, after detecting the device type, screen size and resolution.

It also uses eager loading, to lighten the data drain.

The final result is a product that makes it easy and fun to explore the WCEC, giving clients an immediate sense of the possibilities for their event.