Friendship Tours - Designing a Travel Website that Captures the Joy of Discovery

Travel is an incredibly sensory experience. Knowing this, Applied Art & Technology focused on creating a visually appealing website with a user-friendly design when working with our latest travel partner.

Country Travel Discoveries Website Design


Over 1,200 miles and nearly 20 hours of travel time was all that separated Applied Art from Friendship Tours | The Ship Shop, a travel company located in Bloomfield, Connecticut.


However, it didn’t take long to close that physical gap with a close, collaborative partnership.


It all began when the New England-based company reached out to Applied Art after seeing our work on the website for Country Travel Discoveries. Soon after, our teams were introduced to one another via phone and online meetings, at which point we went right to work.


As always, we began the process with a client survey, which helped establish end goals for the new site. Based on Friendship Tours’ responses, we agreed on the following four points as our guiding principles:

  1. Modern, mobile-responsive site design
  2. Restructured layout to help visitors discover what they want
  3. Professional imagery to establish credibility
  4. A more visually appealing design to increase bookings


Caitlin McTaggart, web team project manager, went on to conduct a site-wide audit of Friendship Tours’ existing content to help determine navigation and layout of the new site.


Clinton Olsasky, content specialist, assisted McTaggart in copy-editing interior page content and writing new page sections, all while incorporating SEO best practices for improved search visibility. This process involved optimizing keyword placement, image tag descriptions, and header classes.


To reflect the visual appeal of many of the tour locations, Nick Petersen, lead web designer, structured each page with a strong visual focal point, often in the form of eye-catching location photography.


Petersen also built a better UX design through new home page navigation. This new layout included a general menu at the top of the page for first-time visitors, along with a trip category menu on the left side for those who want to access their travel options right away. Petersen updated the site’s color palette, iconography, and typography, as well.


“The only thing we were keeping from the old site was the logo,” said Caitlin McTaggart, web team project manager. “Everything else was up to our interpretation to create and design.”


Perhaps the biggest change featured in the new site was the “Journey Finder” search tool. With intuitive search filters built in, the “Journey Finder” makes it easy for visitors to find their preferred trip, narrowing searches by name, type, length, and departure location.


Throughout the development phase, we also tested the new site’s functionality on different screen displays to ensure full responsiveness on mobile devices.


We provided CMS (content management system) training to the Friendship Tours team before launch, as well, making it easy for them to edit and add content to their new site. Having the most up-to-date content on your site is extremely important for SEO purposes, as Google tends to prioritize newer web pages in their search rankings. A user-friendly CMS makes the process of adding and updating site content that much easier.


With an eye for visual design and emphasis on ease of use, Applied Art successfully created a beautiful and welcoming travel site that put the user experience first.


Click here to check out our new website for Friendship Tours | The Ship Shop.



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