Yosemite Challenge

Product Design, Web Design


In late Feburary I traveled to Yosemite National Park for a design conference in the mountains - it was my first time ever going this west and that high up! The conference hosted a desgin challenge in which one of the prompts was to design a site layout to encourage more visitation and donation to Yosemite. I got started on this on the last day, so with about 6 hours to the deadline I got started! Going into this I had one question in mind:

How can we make people more likely to give to a landmark?


With a short amount of time to plan and build, I jumped right into figuring out what compels people to give and what project I could build (within a short timespan) to increase donations. I had brief conversations with anyone I ran into at Yosemite, asking questions like "If you donate, where do you usualy donate? Why?" and "What about this cause or organization compels you?". I also asked about their time at Yosemite and how they were enjoying the park.

Key Findings

After speaking to people visiting Yosemite I learned the following:

  • Visitors who have been here before tend to form an emotional attachment to specific sites (which are named and have reputations of their own.)
  • Newcomers to Yosemite don't really know what to do in the park unless someone shows them around
  • It might not even occur to people that a park this large needs smaller donations

Based on all of this I aimed in created a site page that would convey a personal experience, build interest for the Park and highlight individual giving.


Sketched out some thoughts for layout in my notebook in between conversations (really rough/sloppy but it helped me think!)

Making personal connections with individual sites

One thing I learned through talking to others was that Yosemite has different sites withn the park with names and trails. From asking people I learned that different sites (such as a peak) have reputations and that people who visit Yosemite occassionally tend to form an attachment to these sites. From digging more I found that you can donate directly to a site if you ask, so I designed an experience for people to learn more about the specific places in Yosemite and donate directly to the places they are interested in.

I designed a sample layout of a sample page to highlight a specific site. I used Yellow to draw attention where needed, and made the different parts of the page close together (except for the landing and meeting John, I wanted more focus there) to make the flow of the page obvious and viewers more likely to scroll.

Pulling viewers in with the Landing

I made a highly-visual landing page to encourage those who are thinking of visiting to explore. The Headline is personal, introducing the site (El Capitan here) in a friendly tone, and offering a little background before offering more info and encouraging to donate.

Highlighting John Muir

People who love Yosemite and know the history fully appreciate the work and efforts of John Muir, an activist who was pivotal to its preservation. To increase the depth of the park and personal value, there is a section that introduces visitors to John and highlights how the contribution of one person can impact a whole park.

Full Page Layout

Key Takeaways

  • Talk to as many different users as possible-So much of this project was based on the experiences of others. I learned so much from taking in other perspectives and having in-depth conversations I couldn't have gotten from the internet alone. Plus I made some cool new friends!

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