Joel Elizaga

5 Charms Travel

Design & full-stack development transformation for a premier travel agency

🚧 While the design of 5 Charms Travel is complete, the site is currently a work-in-progress.

5 Charms Travel is a travel agency specialized in organizing custom, one-of-a-kind adventures.

I was tasked with redesigning and rebuilding the agency’s flagship point-of-sales on the web,, in order to boost conversions, improve accessibility, implement a new sales funnel-based marketing strategy, and develop a novel and fun experience for clients that would carry into their vacations.


Home Page

Home page highlights:

  • Prominent and consistent calls-to-action.
  • Distinctive branding and visual design, improving ease-of-use through consistency, usage through novelty, and evoking the headspace of travel, opportunity, relaxation, optimism, and adventure.
  • Sorting of content in order of importance and relevance to users, with adventures at the very top.
  • Adventures carousel, highlighting the suite of customizable adventures proferred for users to explore and consider.
  • Testimonials, showcasing the experiences of happy clients.
  • Consistent IxD grammar, reducing cognitive load.
  • Skeumorphic fun: Instant-film photographs and dog-eared sticky-notes, creating a sense of memorable tangibility.
  • Generally adventure-focused above-the-fold header image, in order to cater to a wide demographic (non-Disney-specific).


Form highlights:

  • Progressive disclosure: The UX principle of progressive disclosure is used to reduce fatigue and form bounce rates. By dividing the Book Adventure form into five distinct and labeled steps, users are propelled by a sense of accomplishment with each successive ‘section’ completed.
  • Conditional logic: Depending on the adventures selected, the form adjusts to collect relevant details. Say you’re going to Disneyland: the new Book Adventure form will collect Disneyland-specific preferences with regards to accommodations and activities.
  • Recognition > recall: Adventures options are represented with the same images and labels as they are elsewhere on the site, minimizing the effort of identification and selection.
  • Zero redundancy: The original site had 3 forms, all with the same purpose; the redesign has 1, which every call-to-action points towards.


Blog highlights:

  • Blog post → adventure associations: Allowing users to filter blog posts to read about the adventures they find most compelling.
  • Persistent newsletter sign-up call-to-action, in service of marketing and maintaining brand visibility.
  • Related blog posts posted at the bottom of each post, improving low funnel marketing and suggesting further posts for users interested in specific adventures and similar content.


Adventures highlights:

  • Visually-rich and modular components effectively illustrating the activities, accommodations, amenities, ambience, and opportunities of adventures.
  • Adventure-specific testimonials.
  • Effective UX writing heuristics, improving the legibility and scannability of content.




The original was a WordPress site designed by GoDaddy design services and hosted on

I decided to rebuild the site with a headless CMS:

  • A good headless CMS is easy for non-developers to use. Content can be effortlessly authored and updated by the client and their employees to fit business needs and the evolution of the market. Rapid changes are possible without the intervention of a web developer.
  • A headless CMS decouples the content from WordPress’ schemas and the plugins required to fit it into reusable components, optimizing ease-of-maintenance: There’s no plugins to update or keep an eye on for stagnant development.
  • Pulling content from a headless CMS to a static site frontend reduces vulnerability ‘surface area.’
  • A headless CMS makes establishing relationships between content (say, a blog post → adventure, and testimonial → adventure) possible via a relational database. This content and its relationality can be leveraged in the future, if needed, to add more complex features.


I built the frontend using Astro and SolidJS.

Both were chosen for close-to-raw-JavaScript speed, since the site is graphically ‘heavy’ with high-res pictures, and the longer it takes a page to load, the greater the bounce rate and the worse the search engine rankings.

Astro is perfect for static sites, as the developer experience is similar to popular reactive frameworks, but it’s geared towards building static multi-page applications instead of SPAs.

A SPA wouldn’t be appropriate for, as the site uses blog posts and content to draw traffic, and a virtual DOM wouldn’t be so awesome for that. Well-structured, plain HTML is better for SEO.

Headshot of Joel Elizaga.

Joel Elizaga

Joel Elizaga is a UX engineer based in the Pacific Northwest.