Chesapeake Conservancy with partner organization NPS

The new Find Your Chesapeake (FYC) website created a gateway for visitors.

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Who?

Chesapeake Conservancy and principal partner National Park Service (NPS) Chesapeake Bay.

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What?

Chesapeake Conservancy and NPS maintained an array of siloed assets and information on the web.

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Why?

With a wealth of information across multiple unrelated web assets, our client had no single gateway destination for visitors to the Chesapeake Bay region.

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How Big?

Millions of people visit the Chesapeake Bay region annually and spend time on the web looking for information before and during their visits.

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Our Role

Solspace built, configured and customized a new responsive ExpressionEngine (EE) "uber" user gateway website for the Chesapeake Conservancy in partnership with NPS Chesapeake Bay.

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The new FYC site was a roaring success, with mobile device users embracing the new resources and interactive maps, and increased national visibility including high-profile viewers and funders.

Our clients are partners in access and conservation

Chesapeake Conservancy is a non-profit organization based in Annapolis, Maryland that believes the Chesapeake Bay is a national treasure that should be accessible for everyone. They work with the National Park Service and others to create parks, trails, and public access sites to enhance outdoor recreation and appreciation. The Conservancy is also a pioneer in using new technology and partnerships to accurately assess the location of pollution and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of conservation and restoration efforts.

The National Park Service (NPS) Chesapeake Bay collaborates with partners in conservation efforts and provision of access to important places and resources related to the natural and cultural heritage of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

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A gateway to opportunities and engagement

The Chesapeake Bay region is at the center of our nation’s story. These special places are filled with a rich history, marvels of nature, beautiful scenery, and hundreds upon hundreds of opportunities to explore and enjoy. Set within the 64,000 square mile Chesapeake watershed are 54 units of the National Park System, scores of state parks and wildlife refuges, historic trails, national heritage areas, more than 2,600 miles of designated water trails, and much more.

There was a wealth of information on multiple unrelated web assets, but no single gateway site to provide a coherent context for everything, or to inform and direct visitors to the region so they could take full advantage of the natural and cultural heritage of the Chesapeake Bay, its rivers and the watershed.

Additionally, many visitors to the region only used mobile devices to access the websites, and because they were not in a responsive format, the experience was poor and frustrating. At the time there was a Chesapeake Explorer App that worked on mobile, but it was a very limited experience. Now with mobile-friendly Find Your Chesapeake, it no longer exists.

Building a solution that prioritizes delight

All development work was in mobile-first responsive mode, so page views adjust automatically to the computer screen or mobile device being used. Solspace did all development work with the existing Chesapeake Explorer App in mind, which was ultimately replaced by the fully responsive site. Solspace prioritized the retention of backward compatibility with the existing Smith Trail Site and Chesapeake Explorer App and preserved shared functionality across the sites (MSM). The new build deliverables optimized experience and performance as much as possible. The pre-existing area map with limited interactive aspects, which was built in EE, was replaced with a platform-agnostic responsive and interactive map with an upgraded user experience.

The timing of the build, testing, and launch of the upgraded sites was a critical component of the project. It was important that all of the site work was completed in advance of the NPS Centennial, to support the pre-promotion initiatives and Centennial-related activities.

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The new gateway site connects people with experiences

FindYourChesapeake.com now helps visitors to the region find a personalized and optimal way to experience the Chesapeake region.

All of the Chesapeake Conservancy and partner sites and all of their combined resources now have a home within Find Your Chesapeake. Visitors can navigate their way through a wealth of information about available trips and activities, find interactive maps, plan customized trip experiences on land and water, enjoy virtual visits and utilize onsite webcams, and access educational resources. And the mobile-first design now allows visitors to access the information they need, when they need it, wherever they are.

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