Agribusiness – conference website

The Agribusiness conference website brings together news, social media, and conference material into one place.

AIC is the leading trade association in the agrisupply industry, and Agribusiness 2015 is the latest in a series of annual conferences run by AIC for that industry. The brief for the website was simple – take the traditional conference brochure and turn it into an accessible and bold website. Like a traditional brochure, the website needed to act as both a promotional tool to garner interest in the conference and source of information for attendees.

The website design is based on the print brochure that had already been put together for the conference by the design agency Ware Anthony Rust.

Brochure cover

The Agribusiness 2015 conference brochure, on which the website was based.

The website incorporates the bold colours and the snapshots of the AIC logo that were used in the brochure to create the basic framework of the page. This includes the green branding across the top of the page along with the arrow with the conference slogan at the bottom of the header section. It can also be seen in the section of the AIC logo in the footer of every page.

Agribusiness 2015 Conference - Footer

The footer of the Agribusiness 2015 website, including the a section of the AIC logo on the right.

Like the brochure, the website includes images from previous conferences to give an indication as to what attendees might expect – in this case in a scrollable gallery across the top of every page. This use of photographs is more structured than that in the printed brochure, primarily because from a usability perspective the web medium continues to place more constraints on design than print. It remains much simpler to flick through a printed brochure to find the required information than it does a website, which generally needs to operate within a more coherent navigational framework.

The homepage of the site is designed to encompass most of what the conference is about at a glance…

For the same reason, the homepage of the site is designed to encompass most of what the conference is about at a glance – it includes the key dates, a welcome section, information about how to book, and all of the conference speakers and sponsors, as well as the latest news relating to the conference. Additional information that is not available on the homepage is clearly signposted in the main (and only) navigation section at the top of every page.

A website can of course offer much that a printed brochure cannot. It is ongoing source of new and updated information – from relevant news items to the updating Twitter feed of all events tagged with the conference hashtag (#agribiz2015) on the homepage. In addition, the location page includes an interactive Google Map to show the location of the conference; and the agenda page includes a downloadable agenda in iCalendar format, so that attendees can add all of the conference events to their calendar with one click.

Agribusiness 2015 Conference - Location

An interactive Google map helps attendees find their way to the conference venue

Because attendees may well want to access the site during the conference, special attention was made to ensuring that the design of the site worked on mobile and tablet devices.

The conference website was designed from the outset to work well on mobile devices.

The conference website was designed from the outset to work well on mobile devices.

When the conference is over the site will become an archival resource, and will include notes on all of the presentations. It will also be used to gather feedback using an online form for conference attendees.

Technical Details

The Agribusiness Conference site runs on a linux debian server, using the latest version of WordPress. The WordPress theme is based on my own NewsClean theme and incorporates custom gallery code for the images.

Update: 4 January 2016

Agribusiness 2016 Conference homepage

The updated Agribusiness 2016 conference homepage, with the new look and feel

The Agribusiness conference site was updated for the 2015 conference – Agribusiness 2016. Using the same approach as last year, the look and feel of the latest conference site followed the design of the brochure produced by WAR (Ware Anthony Rust). Again like last year, the homepage retained the at-a-glance design with all of the key information about the conference displayed there; and the same clearly signposted navigation for additional conference details.

Now that the conference is over, all of the presentations are available on the site; with the addition of videos of the presentations this year (hosted on the AIC’s YouTube channel). All of the core information from last year’s conference has also been retained in an archive page with the look and feel of that year’s conference. The intention is that the site will continue to act as conference brochure and source of information for attendees; but also become a useful archival resource.