Venture Taranaki

Custom Website

The Challenge

Regional Economic Development agency; Venture Taranaki came to us to improve the usability and simplify their existing website. Their website was comprised of a combination of sub-sites, and was structured in a complex way that found users and employees struggling to find information. The website had approximately 6000+ pages of content, and a total of 6 sub-sites which spanned across the two brands; Venture Taranaki and “Taranaki Like No Other”.

Management of information, including duplications of content and having to remember where to look for things, alongside not having the facility to automate some regular tasks were key issues from the administration side. From a user experience side, the data was hard to find and presented in a structure that doesn’t work for today’s audience and didn’t translate well on mobile.

The new website needed to be engaging, easy to use and maintain. Further cost-saving benefits were accomplished by having the conversations about day-to-day activities and the impact they had on the wider organisation. This is often overlooked when developing a website of this size. Done well, this can bring even more benefits to the organisation, which in this case we achieved.

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The Process

Our first step involved a workshop with the client to detail an MVP list of requirements. Our brainstorming went beyond simply what the website would say, but to include additional opportunities where it could improve their day-to-day business requirements. It was crucial that the solution included automation of tasks and as an economic development agency and regional tourism operator, a number of integrations with local and national systems of choice.

In order to fit the client’s brief, we were to focus efforts on both the front end of the website, (ensuring for a seamless, user-friendly customer experience), and also the back end (ensuring an easy-to-manage and use experience for VT staff.) This was made possible thanks to Silverstripe and it’s handy block functionality.

The Solution

With end user experience at top of mind, our solution was to combine the website into one, whilst featuring dual branding. The dual branding would highlight the two separate sides of the website, however it was crucial that these two brand identities worked as one.

When first visiting the website, the homepage acts as a gateway to each brand.

From here, all Venture Taranaki pages are branded with VT and all out of region facing pages are branded with “Taranaki Like No Other”. Above this, the user at all times, would be presented with a seamless opportunity to toggle between the two brands. 

The website operates off three domains; one for the landing page, one for Taranaki Like No Other, and the last for Venture Taranaki. This not only assists with user navigation but also gives Venture Taranaki the ability to keep all marketing URLs tidy.

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Konduit - Destinations Database

A significant addition to VT’s new and improved website is their ability to create web pages for a variety of activities around the region, as well as options for accommodation, eateries and events, making their website the perfect destination for attracting people to the region. This is where Konduit comes in. Konduit is a database system which feeds all various listings to the website. These are a combination of listings which are manually added by the client, as well as listings which are pulled through from Tourism New Zealand and EventFinda. Konduit has been the most valuable addition to the new website and with it’s customisation abilities, the perfect tailored solution for the client. Some of Venture Taranaki’s new customised features include:

1. Favourites - users now have the ability to ‘favourite’ and store listings for later. This makes planning a breeze for the end user, encouraging them to return

2. Discovery map - Feeding all the listings through to a map of Taranaki, gives users the ability to browse listings depending on where they are located in the region.

3. Itinerary builder - By far, one of our favourite features! Wanting to plan a trip to Taranaki? VT’s itinerary builder has you covered. This easy-to-use tool is an effective way to plan out what you’re going to do, see, eat and stay during your trip. Simply select your dates and start your planning by filling the corresponding slots with listings from your favourites or from the directory.

4. User logins for business events - Many local businesses host their own events which they request to be featured on the Venture Taranaki website. With thanks to this new feature, local businesses can now log in and load their own events. Once submitted, Venture Taranaki can go in, check and approve the event, making it live on the website.

For more information about the Konduit portal side and how it can connect to your regional tourism website visit the link below

Visit Konduit's website

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Job Vacancies

Venture Taranaki needed to display a full list of available jobs in the region on their website. To do this, we integrated the jobs listed on Trademe using their API feed which sends the jobs straight to the website. The user is then taken to the Trademe listing when they click on the job. In addition to this, we created a login area for users to be able to sign up and load their own jobs into the website which Venture Taranaki must approve. Venture Taranaki now also have the ability to load jobs manually themselves in the back end of the website, making their website one of the most comprehensive job search tools in the region.

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Taranaki Stories - Custom Blocks

All Smokeylemon websites are built using elemental blocks. Blocks are the best way of allowing our clients to lay out content in an easy way which is in keeping with the website's design. At the start of the design process, our designers craft the look of the blocks which are most commonly used. However, VT required some blocks which we haven’t used before. At the same time as developing a new website, Venture Taranaki were working on the Taranaki Story. This was a series of narratives which promotes seven different aspects of Taranaki. Each story has a video, written narrative, images and case studies. Our challenge was coming up with a set of blocks which could display each of these assets as well as a landing page for all the stories to live on.

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Taranaki Food Database

On the completion of the website, VT came to us with a new brief. They required a food and fibre directory that aimed to develop the region's value chains and products. This addition to the website needed to shine a light on just how many food producers there are in Taranaki, and help encourage connection and collaboration.

Using the existing database, we created a new listing type for the food database. We redesigned the listing landing page to fit the criteria for the database and added a block to the pages where providers could showcase what they are looking to collaborate on.

In addition to the directory, we upgraded the discovery map to work with these new listings and created a search function which only crawled through the Food database and not the rest of the website. This meant that the food database focused on the food sector, and wasn’t mixed in with the other sectors which feature on the Venture Taranaki website.

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Calendar booking system

Venture Taranaki have weekly start up clinic appointments in New Plymouth, and monthly start up clinics in Hāwera and Stratford. They asked if we could automate the process for them so users could see and book available clinics each week. Our answer - no problem! We set up a calendar where the client could load both recurring and one-off workshops, with a set number of available slots for each. This meant that once a time slot was full, other users couldn’t come along and join in themselves. All the information is stored in the back end of the website for Venture Taranaki to download on the day, plus email notifications set up to remind everyone of the upcoming event and their to-do list. 

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So… what didn’t you do?

We could write a book on this website with all the cool things we brainstormed and executed. So why don’t you come in and hear all about it? 

Venture Taranaki were great at talking us through their challenges and now they have personalised digital solutions. Their new website has made their day-to-day tasks much easier across the business. 

Check out Venture Taranaki's website

Is there something we can help you with that would have the same effect?

We’re all ears! Come in and have a chat with us.

McGregor, Mandy

Mandy McGregor


Want a new website? Get in touch