Logo of the Tennessee Aquarium

The Tennesse Aquarium

Website Design, Website Development & CMS Integration

Case Study

Project Description

The Tennessee Aquarium, located in Chattanooga, Tennessee, is one of the largest freshwater aquariums in the world and has received the highest customer satisfaction ratings several years in a row. The Tennessee Aquarium's River Journey and Ocean Journey buildings are home to more than 12,000 animals including fish, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, birds penguins, butterflies and more. We were contracted in 2009 to completely redesign the website experience.

Challenges and Objectives

This website had a small web team behind it that had been managing static pages since 1998.  One of their objectives was to move to a CMS. We had several vendors demo their products and chose Sitefinity, this would be our first Sitefinity project. We wanted to create a very custom design utilizing the most current web strategies. The aquarium itself is the centerpiece of downtown Chattanooga, part of our objective was to attract Tennessee residents as well as drive traffic from Atlanta and the southeast as a vacation destination.

The Solution

Prior to a three day workshop I had done a speculative design, the design itself hit the mark and we spent our time refining and defining navigation and content to migrate as well as how to migrate their ecommerce. The site build was a challenge, but resulted in several customized AJAX modules, video streaming and webcams, making the site very interactive. We launched the site with several viral campaigns at the site time to boost visitation.

The Results

The Tennessee Aquarium website won an ADDY award for design in 2010. The goals of the site to encourage and increase local and national visitation, educate and entertain it's public were significantly achieved from previous benchmarks. In 2011 we created a mobile website version powered by the CMS and are currently working on an iPhone App. In January of 2012 I worked with their web team to make site customizations based on user feedback and wish-list items they had internally, giving the site a functional and design facelift.

Creative Direction, Information Architecture, Website Design, HTML/CSS /jQuery Prototyping and Template and Standards Development, Project Management
Primary Contact:
Janie Shipley, Web Project Manager
Timeframe: Phase I: 6 months, Phase II: 2 months