Vancouver Convention Centre Website

I attended a conference at the Vancouver Convention Centre recently. It was my first time actually going inside the building. I had driven by a couple times and taken quick glances at it but have never gone close or into the building.

After the conference, I was really impressed with the convention centre building. It’s beautiful! I regret not going to take a look earlier. It’s been there for a good while already.

It’s right on the water, it’s got an amazing iconic green roof, uses a ton or reclaimed wood that was incorporated into the design beautifully, the spaces inside are grand and functional, and the views from inside the building are spectacular. Just take a look at some of these photos:

and here’s their corporate video which shows off many aspects of the building:

Just to give you a bit of perspective on how big this place is, they’ve got almost half a million square feet of space and can accommodate a banquet for 6000 people.

Naturally, after my increased intrigue about the building, I wanted to see if they had a website to check out if they had any more cool stuff to see and if their website lived up to the impression that the building gave me.

They in fact do have a website: VancouverConventionCentre.com.

Unfortunately, when I first landed on the website, I felt a rather large disconnect. I didn’t feel like the website did the building justice at all.

There’s a lot of great content on the site, but something about the site just felt weird.

Take a look at these screenshots for reference:

Here’s a short numbered list rant about the Vancouver Convention Centre website:

1. LAYOUT

The landing page is confusing. It feels like there’s too many options. Links on top, on the side and on the bottom. Don’t get me wrong… links on the top, side and bottom are pretty common. For some reason here, it’s confusing.

It’s confusing because of the types of links they are. Some of the links at the bottom, I would normally expect to be at the top. The links on the side are fine I guess. My guess is that they figured out the top three functions of their website for the top three types of visitors, and stuck them there in plain view. Good on them. I think it’s a good call and I imagine it works well. However, where they go wrong with this is in…

2. THE MOBILE SITE

Take a look at the mobile site. There’s little resemblance to the desktop site, except for the background and logo. The entire menu is stripped down to 6 choices. The content is laid out completely different.

I understand that it might be a little overwhelming to have that many options on a mobile site, but it looks as if the content on the desktop site isn’t even accessible from the mobile site—at least that’s the way it looks at first glance. If I were a “Visitor” and wanted to book my public tour, like it has on the left of desktop site, I don’t see that there on the mobile site. Feels a little disconcerting to me, personally.

3. COLOR SCHEME

Sure, they have a color scheme going on. Things are a clean blue and white. BUT… there’s a thing called active colors and passive colors. It should be really clear to the user what can be interacted with or clicked on and what can’t.

It looks like their intention is that blue is their active color. This works and looks great on the left. It breaks for the top navigation bar, and the tagline “INSPIRATION STARTS HERE” is NOT clickable. The line just below it is a different shade of blue (weird?).

When I hover over the black navigation bar at the top, I get more menu items… sub menu items. I don’t have a screenshot of them, but the submenu items are white text on a dark navy blue background. Confusing and inconsistent if you ask me…

This is maybe a small thing, but the logo is a different shade of blue than the website’s theme blue.

4. LOGO

I can say with quite a bit of certainty that the logo and website were designed separately. It’s always a slippery slope when the design of an entire brand is a mish mash of visions. It’s important to keep everything under one comprehensive vision.

Maybe I was a little harsh on you, Vancouver Convention Centre website… For what it’s worth, you did pretty good, considering you’re a corporate website. There are plenty of corporate sites out there that are way worse.