Case Study

Florida State Parks

The Florida State Parks encompass the majority of the lands that fall under the authority of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. This includes 175 locations, including nature reserves, recreation areas, and historic sites. Several of state parks were formerly private tourist attractions purchased by the state of Florida to preserve their natural environment. 

Forum One worked with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to redesign the Florida State Parks website in Drupal 8. The primary goal of the new site is to serve visitors with a visually-stunning and user-friendly design that encourages more people to explore the state’s natural and cultural resources firsthand. Since the launch in the fall of 2018, FloridaStateParks.org has helped nearly 600,000 visitors make 1.5 million ”virtual visits” to its state parks every month.

From clear navigation and content structure to mobile-friendly interactions and seamless integrations, Forum One designed every element of the new site to help visitors quickly and intuitively find inspirational and practical information for planning a visit. The new site helps visitors to quickly access high-priority  information, such as park hours, directions, entrance fees, and activities. 

Live Site

Florida State Parks

Data-Driven Insights to Simplify Complex Content 

After conducting a discovery workshop with Department stakeholders, we led a detailed heuristic review of existing desktop and mobile versions of the site to recommend improvements in line with best practices for usability and human-centered design. We also developed personas for the site’s key audiences, which include local residents, tourists, and hobbyists. In addition, we conducted a content inventory of the site’s more than 20,000 pages of content that was mapped to analytics data on key measures of site performance to inform our updates to the sitemap and content model.

Designed to Get Visitors Out and Exploring

At every stage of the redesign, we incorporated insights from real audience members to help inform user-driven recommendations to improve the site architecture, content strategy, and design. We performed internal and external audience interviews, conducted user surveys, and conducted usability tests with representatives from key audience groups. We also conducted a tree test to improve the findability of content under the new site structure and navigation. 

Visitors to the site can now easily find parks, events, and volunteer opportunities by name, location, and activities offered. The homepage for each park clearly highlights high-priority visitor information like hours, fees, directions, and activities. The site also integrates with the events calendar and campsite and cabin reservation system, making it easy for visitors to take the next step to RSVP to an event or plan a trip.

Balancing Consistency and Customization

The new site provides both visitors and content managers a unified and consistent experience with the Florida State Parks brand and digital properties while giving each park the flexibility to feature its unique offerings. Using Drupal 8’s scalable platform, the department can easily feature particular parks or upcoming events they want to highlight on the homepage from parks across the system.

The website’s visual design features bold photography that highlights the park system’s natural beauty, creating a sense of place that encourages and inspires residents and tourists alike to enjoy the state’s 800,000 acres of diverse natural and cultural sites. The new site was also  developed to perform seamlessly and beautifully across devices.

Engaging Audiences with Tailored Experiences

A key goal of the redesign was to move visitors to become guardians and champions for state parks. The new site lets the department feature its ongoing engagement campaigns like the “Every Stamp is a Story” visitor passport program and measure success with improved analytics tracking and reporting. We also engineered a custom integration with Salesforce, so Department staff can better manage their campaigns. 

The site also offers customized email notifications and aligns with the park system’s social media feeds, helping content managers reinforce brand messages while helping visitors keep up-to-date on events and share their experiences with their networks.

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