Cameron Balloons is the biggest hot air balloons manufacturer in Europe and is a well loved brand from Bristol.
Their website hasn't been improved in 8 years and has grown disorganised over the years with information spread over more than 200 pages. The style doesn't match the identity of high end manufacturer Cameron Balloons and their expertise and the site is difficult to update.
Let's provide a website where experienced and new balloonists can compare products, specs and prices, easily find support documents and manuals and find out more about the great culture and stories of the factory!
Starting on paper, we gather our ideas, identify the current problems and inject some fun in concepts. After defining user types, flows and objectives, we realise we need to review the site map as well as drastically reduce the number of pages and steps to access to the products. Once our priorities sorted, we switch to the visual aspect.
Cameron Balloons did some work on their part to unify their branding guideline. So the deal was to create a style that could highlight and create consistency through their online identity.
Originally, I see Cameron Balloons as a great storyteller bringing inspiration to their customers through memories and exploration. However, they want a bold and energetic identity, focused on achievement and adventure in its competitive approach more than in its poetic aspect.
Communication back and forth is here a key : it will take quite a while before we get on the same page and agree on an approach which will compliment their craft and expertise.
Brandon Grotesque is my first choice, because of its legibility, elegance and warmth. It matches the storytelling theme and gives a poetic tone to the content.
However, Futura will be the final choice. Its geometric characters and functional shapes brings a bold message : efficiency and forwardness.
Pictures are the huge part of this image-driven website. Most of them will be used as backgrounds with text on top so their layout needs to match some requirements.
We'll spend an afternoon to take cool and detailed shots showing the daily expertise in the factory, working from preliminary drawings. Others will be taken in various balloon fiestas that are happening during the project.
Cameron Balloons have so many stories to tell! Using great imagery, animation and videos, each story gets its own page with an unique layout. The conception of a balloon follows a thorough process which takes months and goes through many people and departments. It appeared to me the best solutions would be to create a very long page, simplifying these steps and injecting explanations and fun facts.
Inflatable Me is now one of the most visited page of the website. It features a great video and shows the user a walthrough of this project from concept to flight. It's also an awesome case study for potential clients looking for an advertising balloon as well as being fun and accessible to everyone.
It's an awesome project to work on as well as a great opportunity to expand in the future: an engineering website and a load calculator for pilots have previously been mentionned. The website content should be continously improved.
We've also worked on some existing layout to provide a more flexible structure for content that hasn't been planned on the earlier stage of the project, slowly adding new features and correcting obsolete ones.
As a retrospective, I wished we work more with the content earlier in the process because there are always unexpected situations and the deadlines don't allow to solve them in the best way. Huge reduction of pages also presents a risk : adding up progressivement everything that was present before and lose the users in a sea of unusable or midly useful features. This can also be avoided through user interviews and testing during the conception phase. I would liked to see the layout A/B tested in order to provide a comprehensive guide and tool for aspiring balloonists and balloon owners.