institution: Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, Inc.
category: Marketing and Promotion
Eastern State Penitentiary’s Historic Site and Terror Behind the Walls, their haunted house attraction, are operated by the same staff at the same location, but they have very different audiences. To balance staff needs with audience expectations, Interactive Mechanics designed the two websites separately but with parallel structures that connect to each other and balanced the haunted attraction marketing with the goal of establishing the Historic Site as an institution that facilitates dialogue on contemporary issues.
An interactive HTML map for each website with a custom overhead graphic of the prison was created so that visitors can preview the on-site experiences from anywhere around the world (https://www.easternstate.org/explore/online-tour). Terror Behind the Walls Attractions page features preview videos of each unique attraction within the haunted house (https://www.easternstate.org/halloween/preview/the-attractions). We embedded Indoor Google Street View panoramas of the prison interior on the Historic Site Online Tour, along with summary text for featured stops.
At Terror Behind the Walls, mobile ticket sales keep box office lines short, and allow for VIP upgrade options before visitors enter. We designed around the mobile experience, prominently featuring ticketing options and creating menu navigation that’s easy to use on mobile, and that also works well on desktop for a consistent, familiar user experience.
Visitors, staff, and colleagues routinely comment that the website is beautiful and easy to navigate. It provides a large amount of content in a clean, simplified, organized fashion, and makes great use of visuals to highlight the building which is a main selling point—for both daytime prison tours and the seasonal haunted attraction.
Interactive Mechanics did a fantastic job understanding and finding the delicate balance between distinguishing Eastern State’s two dissimilar brands and yet establishing a singular institutional voice across both sites.