A bottom-up solution to a top-down challenge.
Over 10 years ago, prior to the launch of the 100% Pure New Zealand brand, Digital Arts Network (then Shift) was selected as Tourism New Zealand’s online partner. The newzealand.com website became a centrepiece for that campaign and was lauded as one of the most admired, awarded and emulated destination marketing sites in the world.
In 2010, Tourism New Zealand wanted to align the flagship site with its new marketing strategy and provide specific, targeted content to travellers actively considering visiting New Zealand.
Once again, they worked with us to tackle the challenge.
It quickly became obvious the conventional model of content generation – where content was largely created by Tourism New Zealand alone – would not supply the breadth and depth of content necessary to support the target audiences' specific needs. Instead, we opted for a crowd-sourced content model, opening up the site to user-generated content.
The tourism industry, travellers and Kiwi locals can collaborate to create compelling content and the entire site is focused on generating leads and driving conversion through travel sellers and tourism operators.
This ‘marketplace of information’ means site visitors can enjoy an evolution of more and more valuable content and visitors are connected directly to sellers through great content.
Crowd-sourced content created a new challenge.
Conventional menu structures and hierarchies are not dynamic enough to cope with an ever-growing, evolving collection of substantial content. Instead of hierarchical menus, we implemented a network of tags, allowing content to be qualified by such things as topic, location and interest.
This created two related user experiences that were perfectly matched to our target demographic. Firstly, visitors are invited to ‘travel’ from place to place, activity to activity, interest to interest. And secondly, visitors can find information specific to their particular interests seamlessly by narrowing down their search and using tags to filter down to their desired content.
The homepage provides an immersive brand experience, with a unique point of view that enables the visitor to move vertically through four uniquely New Zealand experiences.
To create its scrolling camera viewpoint, a 12 metre tower was built at each location and a motion control camera captured time-lapse sequences over the day. In effect a 48 metre high, real-life scroll bar was built in some of our most stunning environments.
The sequences were then joined and the vertical camera movement recreated within a web browser using HTML5 and Flash to allow travellers to interactively explore New Zealand. Sophisticated pre-fetching techniques and content distribution via the Akamai network ensure a superb experience as over 200 high definition images are streamed to the user regardless of connection speed.
Between the two user dynamics – exploring new paths and seeking out specific destinations – newzealand.com provides the perfect online analogy to what it’s like to explore New Zealand in person, while meeting Tourism New Zealand’s targeted content goals.
The redesigned website won Gold at the 2011 Best Awards and was a finalist in the 2012 SXSW Interactive Awards for Technical Achievement.