Summary: The client wanted to expand its popular annual event to reach new audiences, but its old website couldn’t handle the new job. We built a new site that helped the client net event registrations from almost 1,000 schools in all 50 states. Program participants are walking and biking their way to healthier communities.
Project Case Study: Website for National Walk to School Day and National Bike to School Day
Client: National Center for Safe Routes to School (Chapel Hill, NC)
Challenge: After 15 years of the successful Walk to School Day event each October, the client was expanding to launch its first annual Bike to School Day. No one was sure how many registrations the site might get the first year.
Previous walking events attracted thousands of student and adult participants at over 4,000 locations. However, the old site was difficult to use, and it handled only walking event registrations.
The client needed a new site that could handle promoting both walk and bike events, as well as provide information during the winter “off-season.” And they needed it to launch in just a few months, in time to promote the first Bike to School Day on May 9, 2012.
Solution: My employer (hesketh.com in Raleigh, NC) created a new information architecture (IA) and system architecture to handle the new events.
We built the site in the open source Drupal CMS so that the client can switch between featured events with minimal programmer involvement. We imported thousands of old events so that past users don’t have to re-enter their information each year.
We used a modern “meganav” menu navigation to make the site easier to navigate, with four main sections that provided easy, intuitive access to tertiary sections. To preserve the client’s search engine rankings, we used Google Analytics results to set up 301 redirects, for whitehat SEO as the client switched domains.
In addition to the public-facing site and the free “For Members” event registration section, we built an administrative dashboard to help the client’s staff members review submissions before publishing them to the site. The admin section also lets the client run custom data queries and get custom analytics reports to help measure success.
Result: The new site launched in time to promote the first Bike to School Day, helping the client register almost 1,000 schools in all 50 states in the event’s first year — far beyond initial registration goals, and equal to about 200,000 student participants.
After additional training and some Phase 2 updates, the client successfully switched the site to start accepting Bike to School Day registrations.
My Role as Web Project Manager: I managed the website project from planning to design to development to launch, as liaison between the client and agency teams. I continued to assist the client in a post-launch Phase 2, with additional training and site enhancements.
Project URL: http://www.walkbiketoschool.org/