Over the past 6 months, the Arlington Parks and Recreation Department has been working on a new website design to better fit the needs of their users. With more people accessing content digitally, the department recognized the need for a more efficient means of communicating online.
In 2012, a new marketing team was formed to improve the department’s print and digital communication efforts. The new design of NaturallyFun.org, which went live on Thursday, May 30, 2013, and the recent redesign of the print publications were two of the major projects the team accomplished in their first year. The website functionality includes social media integration, a park amenity finder and maps, an interactive blog, digital calendar of events, and a responsive design that reformats to iPhone, Android, and tablet layouts.
“With social media becoming one of our primary means of communications for the department, we felt the need for new website functionality that would be compatible with our digital initiatives,” Electronic Media Specialist Justin Snasel said. “The new design allows our staff to submit their own content, which makes it easier to publish department news more rapidly and accurately. With the addition of social integration, this content can be engaged with on the website through a user’s social media profile without having to login or create a new account through the website. This allows for better communication with the public concerning events, programs, department news, and provides a more efficient means of receiving customer feedback.”
Within the City of Arlington, 90 parks offer a wide variety of settings, features and amenities. The Parks and Recreation Department realized there was a disconnect in the minds of park-goers relating to what the individual parks offered. The new website functionality solves this with an interactive “Park Finder” page.
“Most people are only aware of a fraction of our parks, and the amenities within those parks. Our goal with the map was to help people visualize where the numerous parks and facilities are located and allow them to drill down into the details of each park or get driving directions,” Marketing and Enterprise Development Manager Ryan Hegreness said. “The purpose of the park finder is to help people find and explore new parks that have the activities and amenities that meet their needs. We hope these tools are used frequently to help our users explore more of what Arlington has to offer.”
An important functionality requirement of the new NaturallyFun.org website was responsiveness to mobile devices. The website’s chief developer, APRD Marketing Aide Jason Torres, said “the new design formats itself automatically to an array of different mobile devices. Nothing is worse than a website that looks tiny on an iPhone, Android, or tablet. Our new website recognizes the dimensions of the device you are using and automatically changes to fill the required space. This makes mobile browsing extremely easy.”
The Arlington Parks and Recreation Department emphasizes the need for innovation within the public sector, and the new website design is part of the result. Take a look at the new design at www.NaturallyFun.org and connect with the parks department on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ArlingtonParks and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Arlington_Parks to tell us what you think!