Vancouver Park Board
The Vancouver Park Board was looking to either upgrade or change the recreation management system (RMS) they had. The old system did not integrate well with a freshly redesigned city website and the Park Board had been hearing some complaints about registering through the old system.
Vancouver Park Board
Vancouver is known as the birthplace of Vancouverism an urban planning and architectural phenomenon that cities around the world are starting to copy. Along with that comes a vibrant parks and rec program, over 400 hectares (1000 acres) of park space, 24 very well used community centres, and hundreds of classes and programs all ultimately managed by an elected Park Board, the only municipality in Canada to have one.
To help meet the ever increasing demand, make registration for programs and classes easier and make management more efficient, The Vancouver Park Board, was looking to either upgrade or change the recreation management system (RMS) they had. The old system did not integrate well with a freshly redesigned city website and the Park Board had been hearing some complaints about registering through the old system.
As a part of their process for deciding what RMS they should use, and how much customization might be required, the Park Board wanted to have some user research done into the why behind the what of the complaints, understand how Vancouverites wanted such a system to work, and make sure whatever new system was chosen would deliver on those needs.
The Park Board looked to Analytic Design Group Inc. (ADGi) to do this research and analysis and make recommendations for customization.
After several discussions with the Park Board team we suggested that we talk to people registering in-person (on site) and online (by telephone) to understand problems and issues with the current online registration. We also did an in-depth analysis of the new registration system they had chosen to help them implement it with users in mind.
Through interviews with current and new customers and a review of best practices, we identified that:
- Of all the features included in a typical RMS, search is of primary importance. A robust, intuitive search will make or break the user experience of such a site.
- Much like e-commerce platforms, asking users to sign in, create an account, manually get off a waitlist, etc will result in a drop in usage of the online system.
- The expectation that an off-the-shelf solution will suffice without any customization is misguided. To work well in Vancouver’s dynamic context, any solution will need some level of customization. The question is more where to focus effort to get the biggest impact.
Armed with these key findings and detailed suggestions on how to customize the new registration system, Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation was confident how to proceed with integrating their new online registration system.
A technique where researchers observe and interview people in their natural environments. It is a more indepth form of research that involves observing what people do as they go about their activities—not what they say they do.
A comparative analysis is a side-by-side comparison of other sites/products/software in a similar space to see what your competitors offer and how they offer it.