New Website for Overland Summers

We designed a big, beautiful website for people who design big, beautiful adventures for kids.

Our client, Overland Summers, provides summer adventures around the world for 4th to 12th graders. Young people can take life-changing trips to places like Peru, Tanzania or France that focus on biking, hiking and other skills. Kinda makes you wish you were 13 again, right?

With 49 trips available to exotic locations around the world, Overland has high standards for their website’s content and organization. When we began working with them we saw two distinct challenges – successfully communicating with a discerning audience and organizing sprawling amounts of information.

Overland’s summer trips are for kids and teens between 11 and 18 but they aren’t the ones making the purchase – mom is.

Even though our inner 13-year-old was fantasizing about a hiking adventure in Alaska we had to approach the design of this website through the lens of our mom. Unlike our teen selves who would focus on rad mountains and no parental units for thousands of miles, our inner moms cared about very different things. Safety was at the top of the list.

The Overland website’s audience is only going to consider investing in a summer experience for their child if they feel confident in the company and its staff. And the site’s design factored into this. We created a framework for Overland’s web content using a traditional color palette, large unobstructed images of kids and group leaders, and a straightforward design that reinforces the safety and reputability of this 30-year-old company.

The site also needs to operate like the retail experience that it is. That means striking a balance between the aspirational element of each trip with the ability to find practical details such as costs and application information. We managed the aspirational side by featuring stunning photography on nearly every page and providing a variety of ways to browse the trips. The practical information on the site is never hard to find – trip duration, costs, applications, and even packing lists are readily available.

Big websites require big organization.

One of Overland’s advantages is the variety of trips they offer. Their website required a trip-specific page for each of their 49 adventures and each page included specific photos, packing information and more. Additionally, we built a biography page for each of their 200 trip leaders and the company’s 20 permanent staff members. Without proper site organization the sheer volume of information could overwhelm, rather than inspire Overland’s audience. We created consistent styles throughout the pages so helpful search and filtering tools were easy to find and use.

From a workflow perspective, our internal process had to be well-organized or the amount of information would overwhelm us, too. Luckily, we were able to rely on Overland’s previous website as a jumping off point for the content organization. After reviewing the previous site we prepared detailed wireframes to show structural examples. We then held a mammoth kick-off meeting with the client and used that time to review the wireframes. This meeting got major hurdles out of the way early on and allowed us to focus on designing cohesive custom frameworks that would work for all of their trips.

Working on large scale websites can be opportunities for budgets or timelines to unravel. We’ve learned that doesn’t have to be the case as long as you have a smooth process, consistent communication with your client, and a strong internal workflow.

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