Ithaca Apple Harvest Festival: Bringing Cornellians closer to the Ithaca community through the Ithaca Apple Harvest Festival

Tools Used: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Photoshop (the photos that do not have a citation next to them I took myself and edited).

Photo of different pages on the Ithaca Apple Harvest Festival on devices

Introduction

This website I coded up for my Cornell INFO 1300 Web Design class. It focuses on how the Ithaca Apple Harvest Festival's website can be improved for a specific target audience.

The Ithaca Apple Harvest Festival is one of the biggest events of the year in Ithaca. It brings together local farmers, residents, and Cornell students.

The Ithaca Apple Harvest Festival already has a website and I looked at it to see what I could do to make a website that was more relevant and engaging for a particular target audience.

Target Audience

My target audience was Cornell undergraduate students who were living on campus. Some of them may have attended the festival before while others may have no idea what the significance of the festival is.

Persona

Amy Smith

Age: 19

Sophomore at Cornell

Major: Computer Science

"I'm feeling a little stressed out right now because I have prelims coming up. I've never been to the festival before and I'm not really sure if going to this festival will really be worth it. Though I think I might enjoy it because I do like attending the Farmer's Market on weekends."

Traits

  • Sentimentalist
  • Gets easily frazzled
  • Likes to arrive on time and stay organized

Needs

  • Get to the festival quickly and cheaply
  • Know where nearby ATMs are located to withdraw cash
  • Learn more about the festival's history and its significance to Ithaca
  • Needs to be able to view website on her phone

Designing Based off of Persona's Needs

Transportation

Since for my persona, Amy, transportation was an important factor in her attending the festival I decided to make an FAQs page that would have information on the bus routes to and from the festival. I chose to have bus routes that stop at RPCC and Baker Tower, since those are major bus stops for the two areas of on campus living at Cornell.

ATM Locations

The FAQs page would even hold information about where ATMs were located, which is important to have since festivals usually only accept cash.

Festival's History

A history page was made to hold a short summary about how the festival came about. I chose not to do a more indepth history because no user would want to read a super long page.

Mobile Friendly

While at the festival a user is most likely going to be using his or her phone to see the performance schedule and/or list of vendors.

Designing Layout

Sketch of the homepage
Sketch of the desktop and mobile homepage

Once I knew what my persona was looking for in a website I started creating sketches for the pages on the desktop and mobile version of my website

User Testing

Using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript I created a website that I then had users interact with by conducting user testing, in order to better understand the users and empathize with them.

Insights Learned from User Testing

  1. The bus routes need to be bolded to make them stand out on the page more, so users can more easily find that information.
  2. The font of the names of performers on the performance page needed to be increased more. This is because the performer's name was around the same size as the performance time. With the performer's name larger it creates a form of hierarchy in the information, in which the name of the performer is more important than the time.
  3. To allow users to find answers to their particular questions more quickly all of the questions should be placed at the top of the FAQs page. Then when users click on a certain question they will automatically be taken to the answer of that question. This is more efficient than having users scroll through answers to questions that do not apply to them.
  4. I learned that for users with certain dietary considerations they would need to be able to look more into the vendors to see if they had options for them that they could eat. Thus, I decided to include links to the website or Facebooks of vendors.
  5. A user suggested I change the wording on the "food and drinks page" because when he read "The festival has apples, apples, and more apples!" he made the assumption that only apples were served at the festival, which is not true. There are different type of cuisines at the festival and food that doesn't contain apples. Thus, I decided to fix my wording by making it "The festival has apples, apples, and more apples! and other goodies!"

Additional Design Change for the Homepage

What the home page of the Ithaca Apple Festival looked like before

I decided to put the photo that says "Ithaca Apple Harvest Festival" and has the dates to be at the top. The reason is that I felt like the way it was originally did not flow correctly and it didn't look like a traditional website. Since on websites usually the main image is at the top and acts as a banner for the home page. Also, I considered the design principle of proximity when it came to the smaller images in collage. The reason is that the way I had it it was that I broke up items that are related to each other. They're related to each other because they are all images that lead to other pages on the website. By having them close together it tells the users that these buttons have some type of relation to each other, which in this case is function.

Final Product

I updated my designs based off of the insights I had learned from user testing.