About the project
CoNZealand, the 78th annual ‘Worldcon’ sci-fi and fantasy convention, was due to be held in Wellington in late July/early August 2020. 1000s of attendees were due to come to New Zealand for the event. Then Covid-19 happened. Rather than cancel the event, the organising committee made the decision to move the convention online- the first time Worldcon had ever done this. This meant a new website was needed, exclusively available to CoNZealand attendees, which would bring together information about the convention and serve as a jumping-off point to the various platforms being used for the event, including Grenadine (for scheduling), Discord (for conversations and hangouts), The Fantasy Network for panel recordings as well as the CoNZealand film festival, a custom-built 3D virtual ‘exhibition’ hall, and of course Zoom for panels and talks.
The decision to move online was taken in around April, and the website build project began in June. With a tight turnaround time, I had to make use of my excellent skills in empathy and harmony to get stakeholders across the organisation on side and on the same page, and collaborate with developers and others to make sure the backend work was robust.
Built the convention’s hub website in 6 weeks, bringing together stakeholders from across a large organisation with colleagues in the countries around the world, getting their sign off and delivering on time and budget. Ensuring the look and feel was appropriate for a sci-fi/fantasy convention, and that content was comprehensive and accurate.
- Designing and building the WordPress hub for the virtual convention in collaboration with the Experience and Exhibits teams.
- Developing a design concept for the site (a spaceship dashboard) in collaboration with the Experience Chair, getting sign-off on this from across the organisation, and implementing it on the site.
- Working with Area Heads across the organisation (including several in other countries) on key information for attendees from their area of responsibility, to ensure the information on the site was comprehensive.
- Working with external developers at The Fantasy Network as well as the internal IT team on the login functionality, including co-writing UX content for the login screens.
- On hand during the convention itself to fix issues, and create pages of recordings from panels for attendees to watch after they had happened.
- Sourcing imagery to use on the site, including appropriate stock imagery.
- Sourcing tourism collateral from Tourism New Zealand to create a ‘tour’ of key spots in NZ.
- Managing team of content writers for CoNZealand (World Sci Fi and Fantasy Convention) website, ensuring the website is updated/enhanced in a timely manner.
- Content creation, building new pages in WordPress, content auditing, optimising content for digital.