A couple years ago I was killing some time while waiting for a delayed flight by doing some walking and thinking.
As I walked, I began thinking of all the small resorts and businesses I cared so much about. Due to budgets, their websites lacked the polish of a professional job. But I started thinking of those little things – cleaning up colors, taking the hard edges off some elements, better fonts – that could be done without a rebuild or redesign, but rather just a bit of CSS.
I still think it’s not a terrible idea to explore, but I’ve since learned there’s an even simpler approach that gets you 80% of the way there.
I’ve gotta give credit where credit is due, because this idea was sparked when I happened upon Mount Southington’s website.
Let’s break this down a little bit by starting with their nav. It may not win any design awards versus a big mountain, but it’s got all the elements you need laid up in a nice, easy-to-use package.
Like other smaller mountains, however, the trick is often the hero image that sites below this nav. The initial heroes that are created look great. But as more and more images are created without the help of that designer, the visual quality of that hero eventually slides to where it fights against the rest of the site.
It happens all the time. But it didn’t happen with Southington.
This hero image has all those thoughtful touches and details a designer would apply. Things like:
Instead of the hero hurting all the effort the original designer went through, it enhances it.
Small Cost, Big Difference
I really do believe just a little extra design effort can go a really long way for a smaller mountain.
If you’re in a similar boat, make sure to keep this in mind when designing your next site. Perhaps you ask the designer for some photoshop templates or training. Perhaps you’ll need to hire one person instead of another for that snow reporter position. Maybe it’s finding a local freelancer with affordable rates or one who wouldn’t mind a free pass in trade.
However Southington pulled it off, I love the effort and the overall effect is has on the the resort website and brand.
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