West Coast Art and Frame Expo Adds Visual Appeal to a Powerful Platform
The West Coast Art and Frame Expo (WCAF) serves the multi-billion dollar art and custom picture framing industry. The annual trade show features products from approximately 190 exhibitors and welcomes over 4,000 attendees representing independent and specialty retailers, home décor stores, museums, designers, art galleries, photographers, and art material stores. The conference also offers over 100 educational sessions. In 2015, after a massive platform upgrade, a2z worked with the WCAF Expo staff to redesign the event’s website. The results were a digital work of art.
Transforming the operations
WCAF Expo owners, Hobby Pubco of Freehold, New Jersey, have been a customer and fan of a2z’s event management platform since 2007 when they moved from Excel spreadsheets and an Access database to a2z’s web-based system. Over the years, the WCAF Expo added various modules including online exhibit sales, conference management, and sponsorships and was very pleased with how the tools completely transformed their event management processes. With a2z’s most recent platform upgrade though, it became obvious that the next step would be to redesign the customer-facing components of the WCAF Expo operation.
Developing an integrated website
In addition to the comprehensive and powerful collection of tools powering the event, a2zShow introduced WCAF Expo to responsive and adaptive web design with the ability to deliver consistent user experiences across multiple devices—desktop PCs, laptops, smartphones, tablets, and kiosks. In addition, with a website built on the a2z platform, changes in the back end system are automatically reflected in the public-facing web site in real-time. The website is aesthetically appealing and provides visitors with a very easy way to perform specific tasks: register, buy a booth, book a hotel room, and view the floor plan.
Leveraging open-source software
The new website was not only well designed and functional, but easy to build as well. “We had a lot of fun setting up the site this year with the new framework on the public side,” Coughlin says. a2zShow’s latest version incorporates Bootstrap, an open-source framework for building responsive web interfaces. In the past, the WCAF Expo built the event site from scratch using a combination of software programs including Dreamweaver, Access, and MySQL. With Bootstrap, they chose a theme, added graphics, and the site was basically ready to go since it automatically integrated with a2z’s platform.
Building on success
Going forward, Coughlin and the WCAF Expo team will continue their strong relationship with a2z. The group has been using a2zShow for nine years and is experiencing the platform’s continued evolution. “I think they did a great job building on top of a framework that is being used by everyone. As they upgrade on this platform, it will take them pretty far into the future. It is a solid framework and they made a great choice implementing it,” Coughlin says.