How United Experts Helps Reston Community Center to Better Serve the Community
Reston Community Center (RCC) is a vibrant hub that brings the community together through a wide range of enriching experiences. From Arts and Culture to Offsite and Collaboration, Aquatics, Leisure and Learning, and Facility Rentals, RCC has something for everyone in Reston, Virginia. With a mission to enrich lives and build community, RCC has earned accreditation from the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA), a prestigious mark of excellence in leadership, management, operations, programs, and services.
To help RCC achieve its digital goals, United Experts was selected to build a new website, integrate a state-of-the-art Web Content Management System and provide digital transformation services that streamline back-office integration.
At the heart of our work with RCC is a commitment to leveraging technology to promote transparency and citizen engagement. The new website has enabled seamless access to information, enhanced services, and fostered a stronger connection between RCC and the Reston community.
A Solution Built with
Collaboration & Community
The new website was a collaborative effort between United Experts, RCC leadership, staff teams, patrons and community partners. Users are invited to provide feedback for RCC and United Experts to use to continue to improve the website as the community experiences it. Such colaboration has ensured that the project is successful in supporting RCC’s mission and vision to enhance the quality of life for all people living and working in Reston.
People-Centric Design for a Diverse Community
To ensure that the new RCC website is truly people-centered, the design team at United Experts conducted extensive testing to understand the needs, preferences, and behaviors of the RCC community’s diverse population. Creating a website that is intuitive and easy to use for a large and diverse group of people is a significant challenge, but one that we took on with great care.
We conducted user testing with a wide range of individuals to understand how they interact with the website, what they find confusing or difficult, and what features or content they find most valuable. We used this feedback to inform our design decisions and make adjustments to the website’s layout, content, and functionality to ensure that it meets the needs of all users.
Our testing and design process was not a one-time event but an ongoing effort. We continue to gather feedback and make improvements to the website, ensuring that it remains a user-friendly and accessible resource for the entire RCC community.
Thoughtful Content Architecture That Considers the Way RCC's Users Interact with Information
The RCC Media Team and United Experts have implemented a comprehensive restructuring and reorganization process for the RCC website’s content. The new approach involves sorting the entire website content into three main categories: Things to Do, Info, and Facilities. These categories are now easily accessible at the top level of the navigation bar, each with a well-organized “mega menu” that provides direct links to relevant sections and sub-sections.
Moreover, each major topic now has its own landing page, which consolidates all relevant information in one place. A landing page serves as a mini-website within the larger website, dedicated to a specific content section. For instance, the Swim Landing Page includes critical swimming-related notifications, links to swim-related content, FAQs, highlights, and news updates.
Leveraging Data to Provide Contextual Information
Compared to the previous version, the new RCC website goes beyond static pages featuring text and images. The revamped design now leverages the full potential of the data it presents. Take the FAQs section, for example. While in the past, it was just a list of questions and answers displayed on a webpage, each question and answer is now treated as a data item with specific data semantics, adding further meaning to the content. This allows for a dynamic presentation of information on multiple web pages based on the context of other data.
Incorporating 26 smart and context-aware data content types, the new website takes a modern approach that delivers more relevant content to users. Gone are the days of plain pages; with the new RCC website, users can access a wealth of information that is tailored to their specific needs.
Powerful Search and Filtering
Fast search producing relevant and accurate results is essential for a great user experience. The new website features multiple search and filtering tools. General search is available through the website’s header and searches through the entire website content. The search interface pops up with one click and presents results as users type in the box. PDFs and other document archives are now fully searchable. The website search module can search within them.
Separate search and filtering tools are optimized for each content type. For example, the Events Calendar has its own search and filtering tools enabling visitors to filter by event type, location, age, day of week, time of day and cost. Similarly, other content types like documents, staff members and publications have their own search and filtering variations.
Vibrant Events Calendar
A brand-new Events Calendar is at the “Center Stage” of the website. Some feature highlights include:
- Powerful event search and filtering by event type, event series, location, age, day of week, time of day and cost;
- Multiple Event Calendar views: photo, list, month, day, week, and map;
- Event filtering by a date range or a specific day;
- Stylish presentation of event details which features an overview of key information and action buttons, such as registration and ticket buying;
- Multimedia-enhanced event presentation which supports additional event content in the form of videos, image galleries, attachments, links, and multiple artist-related source content;
- Listing of related events based on selected event types, event series, venues, organizers, event categories, and dates;
- Convenient functionality, such as adding an event to a user’s calendar or subscribing to RCC’s Calendar which supports multiple applications and formats, such as Google Calendar, iCalendar, and Outlook 365;
- Support for recurring events which provides users with the convenience of easily viewing all events with a regular schedule or part of an event series;
- Faster user interaction with the Calendar and improved user experience due to the embedding of the Events Calendar as a web app;
- Event microdata featuring a computer-readable code which ensures that events are treated as events and not as just another web page.
Help Center & Knowledge Base
Another convenient path to information for RCC patrons is the newly built Help Center and system for handling FAQs and How-To-Guides. This knowledge-based system is designed to make it easier for patrons to find information independently, without having to ask for help.
The main Help Center page serves as a home page for help, featuring powerful search functionality and quick links to most popular FAQs. Additionally, FAQs are context-aware which means they appear on other relevant web pages.
With the new website, RCC has started the digitalization of some of the paper/ PDF-based forms. Patrons are enabled to conveniently fill in digital forms on their computers and mobiles. The form data is automatically made available to appropriate RCC staff.
United Experts has built a solution for form digitalization which supports multi-step forms, complex form data validation, and workflow automation.
Digitalized Documents and Publications Archives
The RCC website’s search functionality has been enhanced to provide an efficient and user-friendly experience. The search module can now scan PDFs and other document archives, making the content fully searchable. Moreover, the system can enrich each document with relevant metadata, providing users with additional context and making the search results even more precise. With these upgrades, finding specific information within documents on the RCC website is now easier and more intuitive.
Web accessibility is the inclusive practice of ensuring that there are no barriers which prevent interaction with, or access to, websites by people with physical disabilities, situational disabilities, or with socio-economic restrictions on bandwidth and speed. The new website follows ADA guidelines for 50 success criteria factors from all applicable technical standards.
The website content is optimized for specialized accessibility software and browser tools.
To accommodate RCC’s non-English speaking patrons, the new website features a powerful translation tool. At the click of a button, the tool translates all content and the user interface via an Artificial Intelligence-powered Google API (Application Programming Interface). Simply put, the tool provides convenience for the user by fully and seamlessly shifting the language for all text to the one selected by the user.
Calendar Partner App for Event Submission and Management
The new RCC website boasts an exciting feature that has long been promised to users: the ability for calendar partners to submit and manage their events. The newly launched “Community Calendar” is designed to enable RCC’s Community Partners to post information about inclusive community-oriented events.
With this user-friendly calendar web app, the entire workflow involved in event approval, quality assurance, and collaboration between RCC and calendar partners has been streamlined. Now, event submission and management are more straightforward, making it easier for RCC to work alongside their partners to showcase their events to the broader community.
Back Office Integration: Event Synchronization with RecTrac
RCC uses the RecTrac software system as an event management and registration back office. The new website integrates with RecTrac by synchronizing event data. Yet, the RCC’s website team can still make unique event edits and content enhancements which improve web users’ experiences, for example, by embedding an event-related video in an appropriate web format.
The synchronization between the events’ back office and the website improves the quality of the provided information and the speed of event updates and publishing.
Enpressa: The Powerful CMS Behind the New RCC Website
At the core of the new website is Enpressa, a robust CMS (Content Management System) created by United Experts and based on enterprise-grade WordPress. While the technical details may not be of interest to most users, the CMS serves as the heart, muscle, and brain of the website. It provides RCC staff with an entirely new approach to content management, allowing for further improvements to the website’s design, functionality, and content.
One of the primary benefits of Enpressa is its ability to empower non-technical users to easily manage content and design. With this advanced CMS, the RCC Media Team can perform tasks that were previously only possible for developers or technical staff. This not only saves time and costs, but also ensures that content is published faster and is of higher aesthetic quality.
By leveraging the full capabilities of Enpressa in everyday website content maintenance, the website will continue to improve over time. Future content will be optimized to take full advantage of this advanced CMS, resulting in an even more user-friendly and visually appealing website.
Built for The Future
The new RCC website is a dynamic and data-driven platform that provides an enhanced user experience with advanced search and contextual information. Unlike the old website, which relied on static pages, the new website uses a data-driven approach that enables the presentation of content based on the context of other information. This approach benefits all users by providing relevant and meaningful information while laying a foundation for future developments.
One of the key benefits of this new data-driven approach is that the website is now ready for integration with other applications and websites via API (Application Programming Interface). This means that developers can leverage the website data to create new modules and applications that can seamlessly interact with the website. In addition, the new website is designed with OpenAI in mind, which opens up exciting possibilities for future developments. With the ability to integrate with advanced AI technologies, the RCC website is ready for the future of digital content and services.
Visit the RCC Wesbite
We invite you to visit the RCC website and experience it for yourself.
If you have any questions about the RCC website or if you require assistance in building a similar site, please feel free to get in touch with us. We are always happy to help and share our expertise in any way we can.