Far More Than An Off the Shelf Design

21 January, 2016

As one of the largest literary festivals in the UK, Off the Shelf continues to draw household literature and media names to Sheffield each year.

The 2015 edition began in September; and encompassed over 200 events for people of all ages.

Designed to celebrate the written word and all ideas related to it, Off the Shelf has been a source of inspiration to Sheffield folk since 1991. Historians, artists and writers are just some of the many people you can converse with there; at venues ranging from real ale pubs to the Crucible Theatre.

Labelled as 'a festival bursting with innovation', it was only natural that the Off the Shelf team wanted to obtain a website to match their fantastic offering. When they approached our experienced team at Evoluted, we were only too happy to provide it to them.

The challenge for us was to produce a new online home for the festival, which had previously been part of the Welcome to Sheffield site. Due to impressive growth, this had been outgrown and there was a pressing need for Off the Shelf to have its own site again.

One of the greatest initial challenges for this website build was to ensure that the large programme of corresponding events would be easy for people to browse online. In terms of the needs of smartphone and tablet users, this meant designing the site to be responsive.

Developing this idea further, the homepage has been built to include a selection of upcoming events, making it easy for visitors to check start times and venue details. For the few months each year that there are no events, the homepage layout changes to remove the focus from this.

The 'what's on' section of the site has been designed to include a number of filters, which make it easy to sort and find different events based on constraints such as date and location. There is also a filter option to make it easy to find events that include disabled access.

Another feature which we included has made it simple for people to book tickets for an event. As tickets can be bought from a variety of locations at different points, this was particularly challenging to do.

Our solution was the development of a 'book now' button, which shows regardless of the website the tickets are being bought from. If online booking is unavailable, the page shows relevant contact information for the respective venue instead.

Following the build of the site, the Off the Shelf team only had a short amount of time to populate it with a large amount of events; so it was essential for us to make the CMS simple for them to add content to.

Following the launch of the website, Evoluted's Managing Director Ash Young said:

"Off the Shelf is a massive festival in Sheffield - and one with a great deal of history. We were delighted to work on this site and feel that the site we built led to another successful year for the event in 2015."

Upon completion of the project, the client was delighted with the final result. A particular highlight for them has been the CMS, which they've found particularly straight forward and easy to use.

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