Canada’s Wild Outdoor Expo

Canada's Wild Outdoor Expo

Canada’s Wild Outdoor Expo

For the Canada’s Wild Outdoor Expo 2015, I worked closely with the Expo team (led by Donna Zazulak) and the Sales team to coordinate and rework the site content for the event.

This was an extensive and intensive project. I evaluated all site pages for areas in need of refresh, worked with the appropriate staff members to identify the required content and timeline when it would be available, and developed new content. This included updates to the registration forms, banner ad campaigns, contest promotions, vendor and celebrity guest  information, and regular updates as new information became available. I was also able to identify missing pages, information and cross-linking opportunities by anticipating user needs and lines of inquiry, and championed correcting those lapses.

In addition, I made a complete overhaul of the online ticket sales, which leveraged a web store plugin for Joomla called JoomShopping. In previous years, the plugin was not fully configured, leading to a lack of clarity and a poor checkout experience – for example, tickets were offered generically for 1 day, instead of being sold for a particular day, and there was very little information available to tell purchasers what that ticket entitled them to, or that the cost was discounted from the door price. I added images for each item, broke them out into the appropriate categories, added full descriptions in consultation with Accounting and the event coordinators, and improved the shop’s logic flow to ensure the appropriate messages showed at checkout, and that the automated emails provided all necessary information.

That said, the JoomShopping component was never intended for web ticket sales and is best suited to physical merchandise. This made it difficult to communicate to customers that their receipt was for all intents and purposes their ticket, and to communicate to staff that the system in use was a workaround rather than a dedicated ticket-specific service; it also created extra work for Accounting when verifying purchases at the gate. To further improve the process in subsequent years, I have recommended switching to a service like EventBrite.

I also coordinated the Graphics output, tracking the workflow and facilitating communication between the Graphics staff and the Expo team. In addition, the large volume and urgency of the event’s graphics needs required me to jump in and assist with editing signs, forms and other graphics via PhotoShop, InDesign and Illustrator.

As the Expo date approached, I also carefully monitored the Google Analytics to determine traffic patterns, and set up a funnel to track user engagement with the ticket sales system. This enabled me to catch a spike in web traffic as it was bringing the site to a crawl, and have the site transferred to a higher capacity server during its peak time. In the months leading up to the Expo, average traffic was about 200 visitors per day; starting the five days before the event, traffic doubled day by day, peaking at 2652 visitors on the Saturday of the event. The ticketing portal alone had 2850 unique visitors between July 1 and August 17 (the last day of the Expo).