Routes to Roots: Discovering Southwestern Pennsylvania

Thursday, July 25, 2013

ZAP Solutions is very happy to announce the launch of the Routes to Roots website. This site was built in conjunction with Little Kelpie design studio and Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area. Little Kelpie worked with the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area on the design and content strategy for the site, and the ZAP Solutions custom development team stepped in to provide technical direction and code development to bring Little Kelpie's designs to life.

The Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area's mission is to conserve, interpret, and develop historical, cultural, and recreational resources throughout western Pennsylvania, linking modern day life with the area's colonial and cultural heritage. The Routes to Roots website delivers on this mission in a very real way. This website links the user to pre-planned routes, maps, historical sites, local events, and the history behind the destinations. The Routes to Roots website can be used as a trip planner, or as a virtual tour and history lesson of southwestern Pennsylvania.

The ZAP development team always enjoys building sites with Little Kelpie's creative team because Little Kelpie always makes a conscious effort to stay on top of trends in order to deliver a highly interactive and visually compelling final product. The Routes to Roots website features a series of customized Google maps to guide the user through the various sightseeing routes and destinations. The largest map features all five historical routes, with clickable location pins for every point of interest on those routes. When clicked, the pin displays a quick view detail for that location. Clicking through the quick view brings the user to that point of interest's informational page, which features another clickable map, linking the user to driving directions.

When searching for a point of interest in the website, the user has the ability to sort according to location, interest, and town. This sorting allows for maximum flexibility in navigating the Routes to Roots website. The sorting not only enhances the search functionality, but it also allows for alternative navigation when a user gets deep into the website. For example, on a point of interest detail page, the user can navigate to similar and nearby locations. The Little Kelpie team did an excellent job in designing this website to account for varying user's decision-making processes. They took a complex concept - guiding users through several routes and dozens of locations - and delivered an intuitive and fun website to communicate that message.

Once again, the ZAP Solutions team had a great time working with Little Kelpie and their clients. The ZAP crew eagerly anticipates the next opportunity to work with Little Kelpie's stellar creative team.