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2013 AASHTO TransComm Skills Contest . 9. Website/Technology Category a) Website/Internet with Consultant . The Situation .

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2013 aashto transcomm skills contest

2013 AASHTO TransComm Skills Contest

9. Website/Technology Category

a) Website/Internet with Consultant

The situation
The Situation

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) partnered with its Marketing and Communications Consultant, PRR, to revamp its existing website for their DC Streetcar Program, which will beginoperation again in the city in late 2013. Among the challenges:

  • Momentum challenged internally

  • Public skepticism, distrust, and misunderstanding towardsthe project

  • Public misinformation and not enough real information about DDOT’s plans and vision

  • As a public entity, DDOT haslimited resources and staff devoted to updating and maintaining website

Existing website
Existing Website

The existing site was a Weebly (free) site created for public engagement and awareness. Basic information about DC Streetcar also existed on DDOT.gov pages. The challenges were numerous:

  • Program team members had to request to have content uploaded

  • Content was buried and often embedded in graphic files

  • The site was not 508 or ADA Compliant

  • Finding content, such as newsletters for example, was not intuitive

  • The site had un-intuitivedesign and a lack of rich functionality

  • The site had a poor connection to DDOT’s social media assets

  • The platform used a complicated content management system

Approach to new website
Approach to New Website

  • The DC Streetcar website is user friendly with relevant information to help audiences understand each phase of the project. This website is the primary electronic resource for information about the project.

  • All marketing and PI materials push audiences to the DC Streetcar website for greater information, and the opportunity to provide their public inquiry or connect with the team.

  • The website is integrated with Facebook and Twitterfor social media participation to provide information and opportunities. Flickr and YouTube accounts were created to publish images and video related to the project.

  • The website was designed to have better integration to the project’s stakeholder database and Mail Chimp email marketing program.

  • The website presents current information first, but also serves as a repository for past communications and as a way to reach out for additional information.

  • The site is Section 508 and ADA compliant (meeting federal and DDOT standards), and conform to general web best practices. The site uses HTML 5.0 standards and avoids when possible the use of JavaScript or Flash. Screen reader-friendly code and the use of live text was used to allow for SEO and for future translation potential. Attention was made to keeping reasonably high contrast between background and text.

  • The site uses a translation tool per DDOT’s requirements and standards.

New website design
New Website Design

  • The design is well-designed, featuring a clean user interface with a clearly delineated structural hierarchy, intended to easily navigate the user to the information they are seeking. The design strategy goal was for clean lines, crisp images and clear messaging.

  • Functionality Details

  • Dropdown navigation was used for

  • easy access to appropriate sub‐categories

  • Any JavaScript incorporated into the

  • website utilizes the jQuery tools library

  • The website was built using W3C

  • standard compliant .xhtml, to ensure

  • consistent viewing for all web‐enabled

  • devices

  • A Google map was used to aid users in planning their DC Streetcar experience as well as provide them the ability to submit geographically relevant feedback on the site

2013 aashto transcomm skills contest

  • ADA Compliant

  • Translation Tool

  • Robust SEO and CMS

Content management system
Content Management System

  • The original site was run as a simple Weebly site. While easy to use, the platform had limitations and was not practical for the project’slong-term growth. A much more robust CMS was proposed, specifically WordPress.

  • WordPressallows for easy content management by a variety of people, with a minimal amount of training. There can even be different access levels to allow certain users access to only portions of the site.

  • After design approval, a WordPress theme was developed for DC streetcar featuring designed template pages. As new content is added, new pages take on a template based on the type of content the page is intended to display.

Search engine optimization
Search Engine Optimization

  • Basic SEO was implemented as part of project scope. A Google-compatible site map is part of the architecture containing links to all pages in the site and to improve Google rankings. Images and pages will be named with SEO in mind.

  • Google Analytics is incorporated into the page structure to provide statistics and analyze the traffic that is visiting the site.

  • PRR worked collaboratively with the team to choose appropriate keywords (meta data tags) for the SEO integration.

    Supported Browsers & Operating Systems

  • The site was developed to support internet browsers and operating systems in use by the majority of internet users. Every reasonable accommodation was made to support modern browsers.

    Internet Browsers

    • Internet Explorer 9 & later

    • Mozilla Firefox 3 & later

    • Safari 3 & later

    • Chrome 4 & later

    • Opera

      Operating Systems

    • Windows

    • Mac

Measurable results
Measurable Results

  • Phase I of dcstreetcar.comlaunched in February, 2013

    • Press release

    • Social media

    • DC.gov and DDOT.gov web banners

    • Covered in a number of local blogs and news outlets including Greater GreaterWashington, WJLA TV, downtowndc.org, and the AASHTO Journal

  • STATS (2/27/13 – 6/24/13):

    • 16,854 (unique) people have visited the site 

    • The site has received 22,320 visits

    • The site has received 84,305 page views

    • On average 3.78 pages will be viewed per visit

    • Visitors spend an average of 3:08 on the site

  • Phase 2 scheduled to launch in September, 2013