Lowell Telecommunications Corporation ([url removed, login to view]) has an existing legacy Drupal website which will be completely overhauled from the ground up. [url removed, login to view] would like to increase the features for the new site while maintaining its core purpose: to provide universal access to info and ideas produced via video and other media forms by both [url removed, login to view] and its members. The new site will require a robust and extendable CMS(content management system); a bold new design; and the new site must integrate with [url removed, login to view]’s existing program playback server technology, Telvue.
About [url removed, login to view]:
[url removed, login to view]’s mission is to provide open access to information and technology for the distribution of free ideas, community development and personal empowerment for people in Lowell and beyond. Our theory of change is, if members of our community come together to create, share, and discuss issues through local media, we will break down barriers of understanding for members of our diverse community and support richer civic engagement for people of all backgrounds.
LTC operates several core programs to meet this mission:
Public Access Programming – Free access to the tools needed to CREATE media (TV studios, field equipment, editing equipment), a distribution channel to SHARE and WATCH these programs. Our locally created television programming in English, Spanish, Khmer, Portuguese and Greek are created by our members and available to Lowell residents via cable tv and anyone in the world via online streaming.
Government Access Programming – LTC staff record, air, and archive local government meetings, studio programming with local government and business representatives, and recordings of other pertinent local events to help people stay civically engaged and create an accessible public record of these events.
Greater Lowell Media Archives - LTC created a new initiative in 2013 to archive current and historical local media for Greater Lowell. This media will be hosted on [url removed, login to view] (a public archiving site) but we would like to create a portal to this resource from [url removed, login to view]
Open Source Tech Education – Weekly classes and one-on-one tutorials in a variety of technical areas including using a Mac, utilizing open source technology, using social media, digital video production, non-linear editing, sound recording, and more offered on sliding scale from $0-$75 for anyone.
[url removed, login to view] is actively using social media, specifically Facebook (/LTCLowell), Twitter
(@LTCLowell), and YouTube (/LTCLowellMA). We also have accounts on LinkedIn and Pinterest, although these are used less regularly than the other three.
Products and services provided through the above initiatives
In addition to the member services explained above we also offer:
Sponsorship opportunities for businesses and other organizations
A televised “community bulletin board” offering free or low cost spots for local announcements
A physical art gallery showing local artists’ work (free of charge)
Event and meeting space for anyone in the community (small fee or free with membership)
Professional equipment rentals and video production services (for non-members doing commercial productions)
Like Organizations/Comparable websites
[url removed, login to view] is a community media and public access center. Other organizations providing like services include NewTV ([url removed, login to view]), Chelmsford Telemedia ([url removed, login to view]), and Manhattan Neighborhood Network ([url removed, login to view]). Each of these websites gives some insight into things we would like to see and would like to avoid in the revamped [url removed, login to view]
Similar to NewTV, we would like our homepage to be a useful portal. However, Lowell is a more diverse and urban community than Newton, and we would like the design to reflect our City’s population.
Chelmsford Telemedia uses the Televue server as well, and has designed program pages using the Telvue JW player.
Manhattan Neighborhood Network is a robust, urban access center with a diverse membership and viewership and has an interactive interface where members can sign up for classes, watch with one click, and search the site from any page.
As a community media organization, the new website must be in service of providing media to the public. It must be easy to navigate and understand for a range of age groups and ability levels. [url removed, login to view] is aiming for the new website to be more interactive and have some content generated not just by staff, but by its member producers as well. The CMS chosen to run the new website must allow for users of differing levels of permission with regards to content generation and approval.
[url removed, login to view] has several long-term goals that our website can help us achieve:
Become a respected portal for alternative sources of information for Lowellians
Be a leader in the local and state discourse on how we communicate and how technology shapes our lives
Attract a variety of local businesses to sponsor [url removed, login to view] programming (similar to PBS and NPR models)
Ensure that all Lowellians have an opportunity to learn about and utilize new technologies that can benefit them
The new website must comply fully with Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) practices, and be at least minimally responsive for smaller touch screens like smartphones and tablets.
We are targeting the following types of visitors to our website:
[url removed, login to view] members
Prospective members - anyone interested in learning media
Lowell residents and [url removed, login to view] viewers in other geographic locations
Lowell businesses and non-profit orgs
Prospective sponsor agencies
Professional producers seeking rentals
Our users vary between very tech savvy and beginner tech users, so we want to make sure the site is easy to navigate for everyone, but also reflects that we are a place to learn about, use, and become expert in all types of media and technology.
Overall, we average about 384 unique visitors with 2,636 hits per month to LTC.org. We hope to increase this with our new site. Additional detailed data can be provided upon request. We haven't yet defined all our metrics for success for this project, but we hope to do this in collaboration with our vendor.
Site Structure and Content
[url removed, login to view]’s major programs and mission are not changing, so some site content will stay the same. We have the ability to create and edit new copy on staff. However we’re looking for assistance in organizing and presenting what we do in as intuitive a way as possible for our site visitors.
[url removed, login to view] has an existing logo, a brief style guide, and a minimal color palette with which to start. However, the existing website is outdated and does not comply with the style guide. We are looking for a design overhaul, incorporating the LTC logo and colors, but we are also open to new ideas. An update or improvement of our existing style/brand guide may be requested as a result of this design process, to help us conform other design practices with the new website once it is launched.
We would like the site to reflect the diverse population of Lowell, and the diverse membership of LTC.org. As we are about community development as much as we are about technology we want to see this idea represented clearly throughout.
High Level Functionality
Here are some of the core functionalities the site must have:
Homepage will be a portal for most relevant information with links to dig deeper.
Keep and improve the most used features of the current website, including: video archives, live streaming, and social media integration
Ability to create bilingual versions of selected pages
Robust site-wide search and filter function
Adherence to W3C accessibility practices in both site design itself and when generating content
Minimally responsive design for smaller touch screens
Way to feature a show or video on the homepage
A clear place for viewers to give feedback on technical issues and content
Programming calendar that allows viewers to see programming up to a month in advance
Staff and producer bios and information
A way to purchase DVD or downloadable copies of our programming
A page dedicated to an orientation for new members with interactive payment options and a link to contact our Member Services Manager
Better branding and site flow for people interested in membership, professional rentals, sponsorships, and space rental.
Below is a representative idea of the types of things we would like to do pending cost. When including these features in your proposal, please itemize costs for each function:
Portal for registered members which includes: ability for producers to edit their own show pages, get viewer feedback via email, post news, edit metadata for each episode.
A way for members to request/reserve equipment (cameras, microphones, tripods) or space (studio, edit suite, conference room) online using our rules and policies (see [url removed, login to view] for more info on rules and policies)
An interactive calendar for classes offered by LTC
Ability for person to sign up and pay for class online
Limit sign ups to a particular number of slots
An interactive calendar for free, public events happening at LTC
We plan to spend $7,500 - $10,000 on this project. Lower cost is preferential. We would propose doing this project in phases, with an initial redesign and introduction of basic features as Phase 1, and the optional features (like a member log in, etc) in Phase 2, after the soft launch of the site. If the optional features are above and beyond the $10,000 budget, we would postpone them until funding is acquired for a Phase 3.
Vendor Selection Criteria:
When selecting a vendor for this redesign project, LTC will be evaluating on the following criteria:
Demonstrated knowledge of W3C accessibility practices
Knowledge of responsive design
Experience with proposed Content Management System; LTC will be asking for a small demonstration of the CMS in proposals chosen as finalists
Experience in sites which integrate video and social media as well as interaction and building communities
Experience with user testing, working with testing volunteers prior to launch
A strong, modern, clean web design portfolio; strong consideration given to experience with other nonprofit websites
User-centric philosophies in web design and architecture
Two references of your (preferably non-profit) customers
High preference for local designers so that we can meet in person (Lowell/Greater Boston area)
We would like to begin this project in May 2014.
We would expect initial design and development would be reviewed, edited, and completed within 3 months, and would plan a soft launch of some of the initial features. If [url removed, login to view] chooses to include some of the optional features we would work this into a second phase and would anticipate a timeframe of an additional 2-6 months to complete these features.
We recognize developing some of the add-on features could be a time-consuming process, and would work with the designer to determine an appropriate schedule.
Please direct all responses to this RFP and/or any questions to:
Jessica K. Wilson, Executive Director
Eric Sack, Director of Technologistics
[url removed, login to view]
246 Market St.
Lowell, MA 01852
Email: jwilson@[url removed, login to view]
We would like to have all proposals by no later than May 5, 2014 at 11PM.
We will contact people for interviews before May 12, 2014. A specific vendor will be chosen by May 19, 2013.