Livable City Year

Marketing Strategies for Bellevue Parks and Community Services

2018-2019 Livable City Year – Bellevue

City Project Leads: Colin Walker, Parks and Community Services
UW Instructor: Michael Ervick, School of Business, UW Bothell
Course: B BUS 491, Business Consulting

Project summary:

Bellevue’s environment and population base are shifting. As more technology businesses settle in the area, and new housing developments crop up to meet the needs of a growing workforce population and their households, the once-suburban area, cast in the shadow of Seattle, is quickly becoming an urban center. As the needs of the area change
and as a younger population demographic blossoms, Bellevue seeks to develop new tools that more closely align with the expectations of its residents.

In light of the changing needs of the Bellevue community, the City would like to shift away from using physical brochures to register for services and activities to the use of a web page system. By phasing out the physical brochure, the department will be able to more effectively utilize its limited marketing budget. However, the current web system is not without significant limitations. While registering for programs, many users experience problems in navigation and systemic bugs or crashes. Bellevue seeks to increase client usage and satisfaction when using the Parks and Community services web page to register for programs.

This project’s scope of work has included market research, targeted surveys, and an in-depth analysis of Bellevue’s web software and the corresponding user experience. Through this research process, the team of students identified opportunities and challenges, and, informed by these findings, created a full strategic plan to address all objectives. The recommendations provided in this document are intended to improve the user experience of software, services, and other recreational needs for the residents of Bellevue.

Key issues identified during the first stage of the project involve Bellevue Parks and Community Service’s software system. Although the software program was recently upgraded, the user experience and functionality are still lacking. By navigating the site ourselves and surveying past and current website users, our team found the current web page to have the following primary issues:
1. Difficult navigation
2. No login option on the home page
3. Login necessary before user can navigate site
4. Confusion with search filters
5. Lack of simplicity in overall design

With rapidly evolving software options, we recommend that the City of Bellevue update its web experience to maintain client use of both the Parks web page and, ultimately, the department’s facilities and services.

Guided by Bellevue’s objectives for its web system, our team has developed two different options to simplify the user experience. First, given that Bellevue switched software platforms recently, we recommend giving the pre-existing system an extensive redesign. Our team has identified a few key components to increase client traffic and satisfaction if this recommendation is chosen. Our second recommendation would guide the City to switch its software. Although many new software options are available, our team has concluded the best option is Wild Apricot. This software platform is cloud-based and serves as an innovative option for sharing and storing data. Wild Apricot is also used by approximately 100 Parks and Community Services departments in the US, and it is the top- rated software for customer service and user experience.

Marketing Parks project poster

Part of the 2018-2019 Livable City Year partnership between the University of Washington and the City of Bellevue.

See all Livable City Year projects in Bellevue that UW students and faculty worked on during the year-long partnership.

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