The Word on the Street Logo

Cinderella story: Re-designing The Word on the Street

The Word on the Street is Canada’s largest book and magazine festival, taking its celebration of the written word to five cities across the country annually.

The organization approached us to re-envision their online presence, which didn’t properly reflect the festival’s status as the country’s preeminent book and magazine event. The site was also complex to maintain, making updating the site with an ever-growing, ever-changing roster of authors, books, and events — every year a cumbersome affair.

Our mandate was to revamp the website (the main site and the 5 festival sites) from the ground up, refresh the organization’s brand, and deliver a fully responsive user interface that would support desktop, mobile, and tablet devices. We were also tasked with providing a unified, simplified content management system that would allow all five festival teams to easily input, update, and integrate author, book, and event information.

Working on an ambitious timeline, we performed a full UX audit and redesign. We highlighted opportunities for The Word on the Street to provide a more unified experience for its users. For the design, our approach was to let the authors, books, and events take centre-stage with an emphasis on rich, immersive content. Finally, we built a custom WordPress template that made content-entry, content-linking, and updates a snap.

WOTS Home Page
WOTS Schedule

Key user experience features:

  • An easily navigable site that’s browser and device agnostic
  • A new interactive festival schedule with venue, event times, and genre search
  • A new experience showcasing authors and their books
  • New sponsor and partner highlights
  • New friend and author donation form
  • New online volunteer form

Key design features:

  • A full redesign of the website, featuring an imagery-driven approach that lets the festival and its participants shine. The design also increased visual space to highlight informational hierarchy and infused more brand colours throughout.
  • An open, friendly approach to integrating social media, that encourages users to join the conversation on Instagram and Twitter
  • Fully responsive design

Key technical features:

  • Fully custom WordPress theme, which allows The Word on the Street to manage their national and five festival sites on one CMS. Furthermore, each festival has a database independent of its content and users.
  • WordPress CMS, which simplifies content entry and publishing. The CMS implementation also allows for author, book, and event linking, all of which are crucial to cross-promotion and user discovery.
  • Custom event schedule, with smart filters and deep linking
  • Structured and relational data for events, event sponsors, venues, authors, books, and book genres

View Live Site

Visits to the events schedule 34k

Increased mobile page views ⬆6.1%

Rapid 3-week content creation and entry for all 6 The Word on the Street Festivals