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The making of the Tryon Farm Guest House website
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The making of the Tryon Farm Guest House website

Kruegelisms (Michele Kruegel) designed, developed and produced this site based on the updated needs of Tryon Farm Guest House.

One of the usability problems with the previous site was that desired information was unintentionally "hidden" to general users. To increase ease of use, it was essential to reorganize content to make its location more intuitive and consequently easier to find.

We also wanted to elevate the role of the testimonial. As a Bed and Breakfast, visitor experiences are a key component to increasing interest and attracting more guests. Since Tryon Farm's guests are very loyal customers, many who make return trips, it was important to highlight their testimonials throughout the site.

Tryon Farm Guest House is unique in it's child-friendly atmosphere, where children are encouraged to enjoy the natural surroundings. They even take part in the farm with morning chores (ie, gathering eggs from the chicken coop). The new Kids Space page highlights these experiences by sharing artwork by Tryon Farm's young visitors. Families looking to visit can get a sense of the wonderful ways kids interact and enjoy the Guest House and surrounding environment.

Welcoming dogs is another way Tryon Farm Guest House is rare in the Bed and Breakfast community. A special section was created to explain the policies and special treats the Guest House has for a man's best friend.

A primary long-term goal was to create a website that is easy to manage via Adobe Contribute. Continually maintaining and updating content such as events and attractions allows potential guests to better plan their visit. There was also an interest in sharing all that Michigan City and the Indiana South Shore has to offer: wonderful shopping attractions, world class casinos, Lake Michigan, national parks, hiking trails, and a zoo all within easy access to this quaint, quiet and comfortable bed and breakfast. Not to mention, all of this is situated between Chicago and west Michigan, a short drive from either.

After solving many issues, including the ones mentioned above, the key to this redesign was to give Tryon Farm Guest House a unique, welcoming and eclectic feel that matches one's experience with a visit to this wonderful Bed and Breakfast. On top of being a charming place to stay, there were plentiful resources and assets to work with - beautiful photography, a great logo, and most of all, a fantastic location.

Visual Assets

While, Michele Kruegel's photographs are also part of this site, the majority of photographs used were taken by two very talented photographers:

  • Carolyn Cavanagh of innvisions.com took most of the interior shots and a few exterior shots of the property.
  • John Hines is also to be credited for a number of the beautiful shots of the barn, the Tryon Farm sustainable development and the surrounding area.

The background pattern is pulled from ava7 patterns, a great website with a multitude of fantastic patterns.

Typography

Lucida Grande was used for body copy. Lucida Grande was chosen for it's humanist sans-serif type face which was created to increase legibility. Georgia was used for titles and headers. As a serif font, Georgia was chosen to compliment to the font used for the logo. A combination of French Script and Garamond were used in the logo.

Technical

Adobe Photoshop and TextMate were used to design and hand-code this site. The site is authored using structural XHTML, and complies with the 1.0 transitional web standards as set by the W3C. This web site validates as CSS level 2. It also uses SSI technology for universal content.

AJAX scripts used for the image galleries seen throughout the site and the rotating testimonial on the home page are courtesy of other people much smarter than myself who selflessly share their work. Lightbox v2.03a and Rotating Includes were created by Dynamicdrive.com.


Bg Testimonial

Designing this site with Claudia has been a wonderful experience. I was lucky to stay at Tryon Farm Guest House and agree with the many heartwarming testimonials I read during my visit. Claudia is a wonderful host, and a fantastic client to work with. It has been a joy working with her. And I can say that my family can be added to the long list of loyal visitors to the Guest House."

Michele Kruegel
Oak Park, IL

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