Event Microsite Redesign

content, ui

The Problem

Held int he fall of every year, the Texas Tribune Festival — a signature event of the Texas Tribune news site —  had grown from four event tracks in 2010 to nine in 2013 it had grown to nine event tracks and numerous related special events, meaning that the site’s landing page was overcrowded. In addition, the site was not originally designed to be responsive.

The Solution

This was a perfect opportunity for a content audit and forward-thinking design. Using sitemaps, I worked with the festival’s organizers to reduce the number of items on the front page. I also used a mobile-first approach to force content decisions. In the end, we came up with this simplified map.

The finished Omnigraffle sitemap.


Despite the content audit, the number of tracks was undeniably growing; in order to address this issue, I chose to employ an off-canvas menu I’d been reading about; I was particularly excited to by the minimal use of JavaScript and the fast performance of CSS transitions. Our audit, combined with the side menu, allowed the designer more freedom to pursue a bolder, module-driven approach to the visuals. Finally, we looked to the future, and recognized that the site’s branding would change from year to year; this meant that we implemented color variables to help make those changes as quick as possible.


The Result

You can compare the before and after of the two festival sites. The new structure and content strategy reduced the number of hours spent maintaining content. The modular styles had the same effect for the Art department; they could now switch out colors much more easily than before. Successive festivals have continued to use the new structure, as well as continuing to improve the content creation and maintenance process.