Website Update Report 3-Months Post-Launch

Read about our key fixes and upgrades since we launched the new website on May 5. Learn about what's on deck for development improvements, and how we are working to prioritize volunteer and member requests.
Martinique Grigg Martinique Grigg
Executive Director
July 30, 2014

Nearly three months ago we launched our new website - Mountaineers.org 2.0 - culminating a process that began almost three years ago. The new website allows us to take a more holistic approach to how we use technology to make the most impact for the most people. The technology we selected is more flexible and adaptable than our old system, which means it allows for continuous improvement. Gone are the days of building a website and then leaving it to month ball. We have a budget and new processes to make continuous improvements. And while as a nonprofit we don't have unlimited resources, we are proud to make the most of what we do have and to be as efficient as possible in serving you!

We made it through the initial "bug fixing" stage and are now working to prioritize new and planned improvement requests. Read on to find out what we've accomplished and how we plan to prioritize incoming requests.

Categories of Improvement

We have two categories for improvements: Tickets and Stories.

  • Tickets: a technical fix that can be done in 10-60 minutes.
  • Story: a process fix involving multiple actions, often taking more than 60 minutes.

Since launch, we have closed 135 tickets, and currently have 49 open tickets, 47 of which are high priority. Since the beginning of our project, we have opened 787 tickets and closed 738 of them.

For larger story items, we  identify the amount of work (hours) that will go into completing each story, then we identify the source of revenue to pay for these fixes. Sometimes getting revenue approval involves our Board or Branch Leadership.

ENHANCEMENT PROCESS

We carefully plan each of these bugs and improvements and develop a plan to execute, a process we are working through as quickly as possible with a small but mighty team.

Our internal web team is led by Jeff Bowman, the Website Project and IT Manager, who is our first line of defense. He manages our relationship with the contractors to fix any bugs we can't fix in-house. We are committed to continuously improving the website so we have a monthly budget which supports 15 hours per month or small fixes and then we have an annual budget that supports 5-6 major enhancements each year.

COMPLETED FIXES AND ENHANCEMENTS

Each week we are making our list of completed and planned enhancements public through our Website Enhancements Page. Please peruse that list any time you like for an up to date perspective on our top projects. Here are a few highlights of improvements completed since launch:

  • Roster improvements for our leaders
  • Infrastructure built to reduce staff time spent responding to requests
  • Created process for leaders to create a new Route/Place
  • Increased reporting capabilities
  • Improved Leader's Permission settings
  • Fixed rendering issues for Badges
  • Designed and launched new internal calendar reservation system
  • Added additional options to the drop down header
  • Make registration open and close dates public
  • Improved closing an activity process

In addition to these fixes, we have seen a growth in traffic to the new site from Search Engine Optimization (SEO), an important piece for which our website was designed. Since launch on May 5, we have been closely monitoring the behavior patterns of our site visitors. In total, the site has received over 1,000,000 page views by 45,000 unique individuals. Overwhelmingly, the pages with the most visitors are our activity pages, receiving nearly 12% of our total page views.

We then compared with the numbers from the previous website. From February 24-April 30 (11 weeks, same length of time as May 5-July 17), the old website got a total of 548,000 page views by 37,000 unique individuals. The huge increase on the new site page views and visitors (46% increase to page views and 18% increase to unique visitors) already shows how much better the new site is at introducing new people to The Mountaineers.

We will continue to monitor behavior and usage patterns on our new site to help inform our decisions of where to spend the most time on development.

Current Priorities

To maximize the development time from our partners, we do as much as we can in house. You can see these on our Website Enhancements Page and read about our triage process in the Website Triage Fixes & Enhancements blog. Right now, our Triage team has determined our top priorities to be:

Tickets:

  • Volunteer tracking solutions in Salesforce
  • Import donation history
  • Verify magazine list
  • Finalize membership reports
  • Automate email responses
  • Update safety report process

Content Development:

  • Badges - add additional course and skill badges
  • Course overview - build information about our robust course offerings

Future Planned Enhancements

In addition we are making plans for our future enhancements for next year. This list is prioritized by our team and then reviewed by a board committee comprised of board members and volunteers. Here is a draft list of enhancements for 2014-2015.

FUTURE Enhancements:

  • Import activity history (V, #)
  • Improve carpool systems(V,#)
  • Improve course & instruction registrations (V,#)
  • Create better roster management solutions (V,#)
  • Automate (UI) process pay membership by check and refunds (E)
  • Design campaign page (Donations) to include donation designation (R,E)
  • Create & design skills Badges (spring)
  • Accounting Reports – important, dependent on Chart of Accounts (COA) simplification (E)
  • Branch Websites - calendar

Criteria for Prioritization OF FUTURE ENHANCEMENTS

  • Priorities are ranked ordered by:
    • (V) Impact to volunteers
    • (#) # of people impacted
    • (R) Revenue driver
    • (E) Cost expense reduction, efficiency, accuracy
    • (T) Increase traffic to the website

Requesting a change

We are always seeking feedback to the site so we can continue to improve. Please send questions, comments, and feedback via email to our Member Services Team at . We use this to queue all of the requests and link by similar type, which helps us prioritize importance.

While it is our job to work with our contractors to prioritize and develop solutions, we want to make sure we understand requests, what is driving the request, capture it adequately, and prioritize across the organization with the resources we have. Your feedback is important.

Thank you for your support and enthusiasm for our new site. We are committed to making our new website "home" the very best it can be.


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Chris Ensor
Chris Ensor says:
Wed, Jul 30, 2014 2:41 PM

Regarding the statement comparing activity use "with the numbers from the previous website. From February 24-April 30 (11 weeks, same length of time as May 5-July 17), the old website got a total of 548,000 page views by 37,000 unique inpiduals. The huge increase on the new site page views and visitors (46% increase to page views and 18% increase to unique visitors) already shows how much better the new site is at introducing new people to The Mountaineers." I'm not wishing to dispute there is an increase, but is a comparison based on what might be a less busy outdoor earlier period valid? Would it not be more valid to compare the same 3 months of 2013?

Martinique Grigg
Martinique Grigg says:
Thu, Jul 31, 2014 10:40 AM

Comparing June 2014 to June 2013 we've seen an increase of +30% in sessions

Douglas Whalley
Douglas Whalley says:
Wed, Jul 30, 2014 8:43 PM

This report is absolute gibberish. Who, in the real world, "closes tickets"? All I know is it takes me three times as long to find and sign up for a hike I might enjoy.

Doug Whalley

Eric Linxweiler
Eric Linxweiler says:
Fri, Aug 1, 2014 8:51 AM

Hi Doug,

I actually find it useful to know just how many things we've been able to "fix" since launch. Closing tickets is normal, and actually a tracked statistic for most help desks - to ensure they are responding and resolving issues in a timely manner.

I would like to know more about why it's taking you longer to find hikes than previously, as most feedback has been the opposite. Maybe you've found something we haven't?

Joe Osowski
Joe Osowski says:
Fri, Aug 1, 2014 6:43 AM

Nice work, the new website is a huge improvement. Writing software is hard, keep it up!

Eric Linxweiler
Eric Linxweiler says:
Fri, Aug 1, 2014 8:54 AM

Overall the website is better than I could have imagined - looks amazing, the faceted search is awesome, and the navigation is intuitive. Even though there are still lots of opportunities to continue it's evolution, this is a great leap forward in connecting members and supporting volunteers. Great work!