State of Maryland National Road Travel Site

The Historical National Road web site was designed by Ryan during his leadership of Sway. The primary goal of the Maryland Office of Tourism and Development is to get travelers to spend more time in Maryland and to spend more money while they are there. To this end, one of Marylands new initiatives is to educate potential tourists about all there is to see and do along The Historic National Road, the Nations first federally funded highway that runs for 140 miles through the state. TBC Advertising, Marylands agency of record, asked Sway to develop a web site that helps get users excited about traveling The Road. The primary challenge Sway faced was how to dimensionalize the road as a tourist destination when few people are actually familiar with it, In addition, the database of information about The Road that was available was structured for use by phone operators - not for use on a travel site. Because the Office of Tourism and Development is a government agency, the interface also needed to comply with Section 508 federal accessibility guidelines. Sway met these challenges by designing a unique layered interface that pushes all key content and functionality to the surface of the site. This makes it immediately apparent that there are lots of trip options along The Road. Users can initiate a search, browse restaurants, jump to trip ideas, check events, etc. from any page on the site, without having to drill down to a page dedicated to that feature. The interface also recognized that consumers use travel sites to find things they didnt previously know existed. To aid this discovery process, Sway re-packaged the existing database structure so that content could be accessed in multiple ways; the same restaurant might appear in a search by city, by cuisine or within a Trip Idea. To comply with Section 508, Sways design made careful use of standards-based HTML layouts, JavaScript-independent page functionality, images and text in interface design (especially for active interface elements), proper document type and HTML language tags, and universal ALT tags for all images, and more. Another objective Sway addressed was designing the site so that it could be easily used as a template by other Maryland scenic byways, not just the National Road. Without knowing anything about those byways, Sway achieved this by leveraging the color palette from Scenic Byways books and maps, and by ensuring the site required a minimal amount of original content creation. The site draws heavily on content in Marylands database of everything that exists in the state – Maryland can simply change the geography from zip codes along the National Road to zip codes along another scenic byway and the site will be populated with completely new content.

National Road Website
A consumer travel website created for the State of Maryland

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