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How to relaunch a tourism website in the midst of a health crisis - With Annual 2021 Bronze winner Appnovation | #AnnualSpotlight

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The Annual 2021 winners have been revealed over summer, with some of the most exciting companies in the history of Creativepool. In its second year running as an Annual 2021 entrant, Appnovation was able to secure a shiny Bronze award and a People's Choice with Visit California – a user-first, research-based website project which greatly impressed our judging panels and the community.

Nonprofit organisation Visit California was in need of a complete website redesign. Following thorough user research, Appnovation was able to create a responsive, sleek design for the Visit California website, leading to a 37% surge in organic traffic and double the speed in loading times.

In this very last Annual 2021 Spotlight, we are learning more about Appnovation's award-winning project with Anton Morrison, VP of User Experience & Design.

View The Annual 2021 Winners!

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Tell us about your winning submissions! What do you think impressed the judges?

Appnovation worked with Visit California on the full redesign and replatforming of the new website, VisitCalifornia.com, providing user design consulting, user experience strategy and programming services. 

Through user research, we learned that over 90% of users had already decided to visit California by the time they visited the website. They didn’t need to be sold on the idea - they needed tools to create their dream vacation.

With this in mind, we set out to make the updated site a planning tool as well as providing vacation inspiration.

For Visit California, it's all about building trust and delivering the best digital customer experience for users who are ready to travel again, and with their new user-first website, planning this year’s travel memories is easy.

What felt unique about taking part in The Annual?

We’re inspired by our clients and our people-inspired strategies and solutions help them stay ahead of evolving customer expectations. Our teams are endless innovators, constantly looking for new ways to connect the dots and connect people. Taking part in The Annual is a positive and fun way to recognize our team for their hard work and build on our culture of recognition, teamwork and excellence. 

If you could name one reason that made you choose to enter this year, what would it be?

The Annual provides a unique opportunity to connect with and really involve the creative industry and marcomms professionals globally, especially with The People’s Choice vote. 

How do you plan to display your award?

We plan to have our award on display at the front entrance of our head office - a testament to our teams that are working hard every day, inspiring possibility with our clients. 

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Will you enter again in 2022? If so, what are your hopes?

Yes, definitely! We will enter again with another round of creative and engaging work we’ve done with our clients. 

What advice would you share with other agencies and individuals looking to grab an award?

I would encourage anyone to apply for The Annual and take the opportunity to showcase the creative successes of your agency and your team. 

Bringing together creativity, aesthetics and superior user experiences inspires loyalty in your customers during every digital touchpoint. Something as subjective as design still translates into measurable business improvements - so knowing that your work unites experiences and tells a unified story, both linking to your brand’s core promise and living up to your customers' expectations.

How does winning awards such as The Annual impact your business?

Being recognized among the best in the creative industry helps us and our clients stand out from the crowd! The recognition serve and that we’re driven to continuously innovate and deliver people-inspired digital business solutions. 

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This year’s winners are a testament to the power of creativity in hardship. How did Covid restrictions influence your winning projects and how did you approach these new challenges?

The site launch for Visit California was in the midst of a global pandemic that has had an unprecedented impact on travel. The new website enables Visit California to adapt during these ever-changing times by showcasing the local communities that are open for business, promoting road trip content, supporting the needs of in-state travelers and amplifying user-generated content that is produced and developed by other travelers.

COVID-19 has required our employees to work from home since February 2020, but even before the pandemic, our global teams were set up for virtual work. We adapted and remained agile, as we made adjustments along the way to keep the process efficient, delivering the best possible experience for our clients. 

What are your hopes for the industry in 2022 and beyond?

I think we’ll continue to see a focus on personalized, experience-focused projects, bringing together creative design and data to get more personal, always thinking about the user experience first. 

Design is all around us, whether we notice it or not (and many leading designers believe one of the key functions of good design is that it’s not noticed). The best creative design connects the dots and tells a unified story, both linking to your brand’s core promise and living up to your audience’s expectations… whether they notice it or not. 

What is your most exciting project in the next year?

We have a number of exciting projects coming up that we can’t wait to talk about - but that will have to wait for next year’s entry! 

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