This is the third year Substantial has built the web presence for Internet Week New York, the festival celebrating New York's Internet and technology community. For this year's season, the IWNY staff decided that they wanted to focus on two specific efforts, modernizing the overall site aesthetic and improving usability on the events schedule.
In earlier years of Internet Week New York, the theme was very digital, executed through a pixelated visual approach and a very bright, neon color palette. The event has matured, warranting some rethinking on their overall presentation. Under the hood, administrators have always clamored for more content flexibility, allowing them to adjust their messaging throughout the IWNY season. The "8-bit" aesthetic has been removed for 2012, replaced with a cleaner, more muted set of typefaces and colors. By pulling back the amount of "pop" on the page itself, the admin-uploaded content from IWNY is given prominence, lending visual importance to IWNY's various calls to action.
One of the most utilized portions of the site is the schedule. Internet Week NY has an open model, allowing the public to sign up as partners and throw affiliated events. This leads to hundreds of events throughout NYC, posing a challenge to attendees looking to organize their own itinerary. As part of the older aesthetic, there was a set of colors and category iconography, which wasn't always the clearest for users to discern. While the colors remain, the iconography has been removed, easing comprehension for new and returning users. Additionally, the updated typography and layout lend themselves to better skimming without having the wealth of content become overwhelming.
For those of you looking for the technical details, the Internet Week New York site is written on a Rails stack with a custom CMS.
But enough talking about the site. Check it out for yourself: Internet Week New York.