“Long overdue” overhaul of Park District website to focus on better registration experience


Wilmette Park Commissioner Ali Frazier consistently asserts that she approaches park board decisions with the mindset of a mother and regular user.

So, on a proposed redesign of the Park District website, Frazier’s comments were backed up by experience.

” I can not wait. It is long overdue,” she said. “…The community demanded it. This is the first step in a long series of measures aimed at remedying communication problems. »

Frazier’s board peers joined her on Monday, October 17 to unanimously approve a 12-week, $38,500 project that will transform Wilmettepark.org.

The work was awarded to OnPoint Web Design, of Massachusetts, one of nine bidders during the RFP process. Park District executive director Steve Wilson said two bids fell short of OnPoint’s – one was rejected for not meeting the scope of the project and the other, at around $22,000, in due to his limited ideas and flexibility in his designs.

Park District staff, he said, were impressed with OnPoint’s innovative ideas and open-mindedness about how best to engage with Park District users.

Commissioner Julia Goebel, a technology marketing professional, expected the project to be priced higher.

“It’s a very reasonable price for what you’re going to ask for,” she said. “After reviewing the proposal, I am very confident. … I like the approach they have of not pretending nothing has happened. You’re not only considering what a good park district (website) experience would look like, but you’re competing with the latest best (user) experience.

“It can be a very good experience for the users we have and that is due to them.”

The Park District website was last redesigned five years ago, and Wilson said it belonged to its designer, which limited the capabilities of Park District staff. The new site would use a more open-source (ownerless) design and run on a WordPress content management system.

Park District staff and stakeholders will play a major role in the redesign, one of the top priorities of which, Wilson said, is to improve the digital registration process for Park District programming. The district also wishes to favor communication with the inhabitants.

“Over the past year and counting, we have tried to create a better customer experience when browsing and registering for our courses, but we always hear consistent feedback about how our residents would like to see more improvements,” Wilson wrote in a follow-up email. “To that end, it’s one of the goals of this redesign as well as a better way to keep the public informed about district plans and matters before council.”

The approved 12-week contract includes eight weeks of development time and four weeks of follow-on support. According to OnPoint’s schedule, the new site could be ready by the end of 2022. Wilson said the park district’s goal is to have the site operational in January 2023, before camp registration. summer.

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