8 Ways Web Design is like the Iowa State Fair

The Iowa State Fair is almost here! Our team is eagerly discussing what new foods to try, which bands we’re going to see at the grandstand and, of course, if the butter cow will look as great as last year.

These conversations got us thinking - the Iowa State Fair is similar to web design in many ways. Curious to find out how? Check out our list below!

 Trending Concert at the Iowa State Fair

1. There is Always Something Trending

Every year, the Iowa State Fair promotes new attractions to keep attendees excited and engaged; web design is no different. The goal is to keep up with industry news to continue producing fresh, modern designs that attract as many people to your website as possible. In a creative industry, trends are in a consistent cycle, which means what people find appealing changes season to season, year to year.

It’s our job at Blue Compass to do the research for you. Current trends we’re seeing this summer are an enhanced mobile navigation structure that improves usability, smaller social icons on an organization’s homepage and full-screen images or videos with minimal text displayed. 


Outside of the Box Foods at the Iowa State Fair

2. Sometimes You Need to Think Outside the Box

What is the food you’re most looking forward to trying at the Iowa State Fair in 2017? For me, it’s a toss up between the pancake taco or thanksgiving balls - or both. The new foods always get my attention when fair season arrives, and each vendor tries to invent the “must-have” food of the year.

Every web design is unique. From the kick-off meeting to launch day, there are customized steps along the way that are best catered to the client’s specific brand and voice. Sometimes, the solution is to propose an unorthodox element to a website design that checks each box on a client’s wish list.

Have you noticed that some food vendors at the fair have thrown out the “on a stick” mentality? I’m sure it was limiting (or “inside the box”) thinking that was preventing their food from getting noticed by following the expected.

In my opinion, the winner of the, “2017 food that best thought outside the box”,  is the all-new “Bruschetta Sundae ‘Mt. Vesuvius’”.


Enjoying Opening Day Entertainment at the Iowa State Fair

3. Opening Day is like Launch Day

For some, opening day at the Iowa State Fair is a long awaited, and it’s their favorite day of the year. Promotions surrounding opening day are in full swing, growing excitement and anticipation in soon-to-be fairgoers . This is the day the whole staff comes together to ensure a successful kick-off.

Website launch day for Blue Compass is similar. We promote the new and improved website design and see an immediate increase in visitors - everyone is eager to enter the website and see what’s new. On most projects, every department at Blue Compass touches the project along the way; sometimes every team member will contribute!


Riding the Lift at the Iowa State Fair

4. The Moment Before a Ride Starts is Like The Moment Before a New Website Launches

Roller coasters, tilt-a-whirl, “kiddie” rides - everyone has a favorite! We all love jumping into a ride’s seat and knowing it’s about to be a great time. However, there can be some nerves and a little fear of the unknown - will something happen with the mechanics of the ride? Will we get stuck at the top?

Once the process of strategy, design, and development are completed, a site is ready for testing. Just like riding a ride at the state fair, there is the initial excitement that the project is almost complete, but there can also be some concern that a piece of code will be broken or not function properly. Being in our 10th year of business at Blue Compass, our mechanic-minded development team has tackled many code errors. They always come prepared and amaze everyone with their extensive knowledge and positive attitude.


Ribbons at the Iowa State Fair

5. Competing for Awards

Winning a blue ribbon at the fair is the ultimate goal for attendees, many of whom prepare for months. These ribbons are available in categories such as Iowa Family Living, Fine Art & Photography, Open Class Livestock, Horse & Pony, 4-H, FFA, Pets and more.

Earning awards at Blue Compass is no different. We enter our projects, employees and results to win awards hosted by organizations all over the country, and we have humbly accepted awards that could only be earned through our incredible team. Some of our highlighted awards include:

  • The Platinum Award for our Blue Compass Blog, presented by the Hermes Creative Awards in 2016
  • 1st Place for our B2B Twitter Account, presented by the Hashie Awards in 2016
  • The Gold Award for the Des Moines Christian School Website, presented by the Horizon Interactive Awards in 2016
  • Several certificates of recognition for employing outstanding women in the technology industry


 Crowded Iowa State Fair

6. Appealing to the Masses

At the Iowa State Fair, there are countless attractions in such a variety that nearly everyone attending can find something they will enjoy. From food to concerts, agriculture to art, the fair doesn’t disappoint. The goal is to cater to the masses - just like with web design.

Everyone is online now. A study conducted by comSCORE this year found that mobile devices are the primary device used across the globe every day. 71 percent of the U.S. population utilizes phones; more than tablets, laptops, or desktops.

Therefore, our team is tasked with creating fresh, modern designs that are intuitive to navigate for all demographics and ages on all devices. Our User Experience (UX) research team consistently conducts studies that show us what innovative designs work well and what areas need improvement by using heat mapping and other analytics tools.


 Kids Trying New Food at the State Fair

7. Searching for the Perfect Food/Font

One of the most popular reasons to attend the fair is - you guessed it - the food! The hype surrounding the unique foods on a stick every year is brilliant word of mouth advertising. Every vendor wants to invent something more creative than their competition in order to attract more business to their booth  and thus, a deep fried stick of butter was born.

Many people spend hours walking through the fair and trying these bizarre food creations until they finally find their favorite (and go back to eat it again and again). This concept is similar to the path a designer takes when finding the perfect font for a project. Some fonts are well known for their beauty, like Helvetica and Roboto. Others are notorious for reasons similar to the deep fried stick of butter, such as Comic Sans and Papyrus. Once a designer finds their favorites, they will continue to use the fonts in many of their projects; that is, until the following year when new fonts are created.


Butter cow at the Iowa State Fair

8. It’s All in The Details

It’s 5’6” feet tall, 600 lbs and has been around for 106 years - it’s the infamous butter cow. Like the butter cow, a website has to be carefully constructed to ensure nothing breaks, especially after launch day.

Though the body of the butter cow is supported with wood beams and wiring inside, the ears are said to be at risk of falling off entirely. Working with code in the development phase is also a fragile process; a mere extra space or semicolon can break a whole section on a website. Our developers have an extensive checklist system to ensure our projects are secure.

How is your industry like the Iowa State Fair?

Like this blog? Check out others like it:

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