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Downtown Committee Seeking Proposals for Website Redevelopment & Creative Design

Monday, March 11, 2019

Syracuse, NY - The Downtown Committee of Syracuse, Inc. is seeking proposals for the redevelopment and redesign of its website to improve functionality and the overall user experience. The Downtown Committee envisions both technical and creative services will be required to produce the desired outcome.

Proposals & Guidelines:

This is an open and competitive process. Submissions to this RFP should be in accordance with the Scope of Services, guidelines, and terms included herein.

Prices quoted should be inclusive. If prices exclude certain fees or charges, a detailed list of such fees with the complete explanation of their nature must be provided. Please also include a timeline for website development and launch.

Submissions, should be sent electronically to Alice Maggiore, Director of Communications for the Downtown Committee of Syracuse, at amaggiore@downtownsyracuse.com with the subject line “Website Proposal from (your company name),” and should be received no later than 5:00 pm on Monday, April 1, 2019. Please provide a list of up to five relevant website links designed by your company to reach a similar audience, or designed with a similar scope of services detailed below.

The Downtown Committee reserves the right to accept or reject any or all of the proposals received. Bidders may be required to participate in an interview/presentation with the Downtown Committee to present their proposals and answer any questions the Committee may have. The Downtown Committee reserves the right to add more specifications and requirements at any time.

Contract Terms:

The Downtown Committee will negotiate contract terms upon selection. Project will be awarded upon signing of a contract, which outlines terms, scope, budget, and other necessary items. All contracts are subject to review by the Downtown Committee’s legal counsel.

Purpose & Objective:

The Downtown Committee’s website was established to be the most up-to-date, respected, comprehensive, interactive, and useful source for information related to Downtown Syracuse and the Downtown Committee. To thrive to its full potential, the existing website needs to be upgraded in function, structure, and the presentation of content. From a functionality perspective, the website needs to incorporate the latest technology and industry-standard best practices to improve the overall user experience. From a creative design perspective, the website upgrade should incorporate visually pleasing, inviting, interactive and creative changes, while remaining safe and secure – to deliver a quality experience to all who use the website and interact with Downtown Syracuse. The overall site design must reflect the energy and vibrancy of Downtown Syracuse. The layout of the homepage and subpages must be easy to navigate.

In addition to seeking requests for proposals related to a website overhaul, the Downtown Committee is also pursuing opportunities to update its current Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System. It is imperative that the new website be compatible with the CRM as the two entities will need to work together. The website must be compatible with an existing and future customer relationship management system (database) that allows Downtown Committee staff full access – and the ability - to maintain and manage all content and data including maps, business and building listings, unlimited photos, news, the number of pages, etc.  *Should your company have any suggestions as to how to seamlessly and effectively integrate a CRM system, the Downtown Committee encourages inclusion of this information in your proposal. 

Audience:

Routine users will likely access the website through a combination of high-speed (broadband) and mobile devices.

The website’s target audience includes:

  • Individuals who wish to facilitate a visit to Downtown Syracuse by accessing maps and information on parking, shopping, dining, events, experiences and more
  • Potential downtown business owners seeking real estate, demographic and statistical market data information
  • Potential residential tenants in search of available housing
  • Current tenants (both residential and commercial) seeking information on where to go for various services, events, activities and experiences happening throughout Downtown Syracuse, as well as how to access Downtown Committee service offerings.
  • Office employees seeking information on where to go for various services, events and experiences unique to Downtown Syracuse
  • Individuals who wish to be informed of the latest Downtown Syracuse real estate developments, activity, and news 
  • Potential participants, guests and sponsors for Downtown Committee events such as the Syracuse Arts & Crafts Festival, the Downtown Farmers Market, the Downtown Living Tour, and the Downtown Committee’s Annual Meeting, among others
  • Members of the media

Scope of Services:

1. Navigation & User Experience: The website structure must be easy to navigate and intuitive to the user experience. There must be a site-map and each page must have a clear purpose. To achieve the optimal user experience, the Downtown Committee would like to see the elimination of drop-down menus, vertical listings, double headings and hovers from all sub-pages reflected in proposals received. 

  • The homepage should be visually attractive, and feature an all-encompassing menu that’s small, clear and easy to find. This menu should be accessible from all sub-pages, or at the least, there should be an obvious home-page link on every sub-page.
  • Each sub-webpage should condense navigational content (what exists now as the left sidebar), omitting the need to hover to access pages. Information should be organized and presented in a logical manner, and require a limited drill-down (less than three levels) for the user to find the desired information.
  • The website should provide intuitive search capabilities using keywords, word tags, or phrasing that will turn up relevant content within the site, in line with SEO best practices.
  • The website should efficiently store and organize pertinent directories, event dates/times, image library and other detail-oriented information. 
  • To drive content and format, visually attractive landing pages are vital to the user experience. On all pages, all primary images should be clear and the formatting should allow those images to be unobstructed by text.
  • The new website should clearly distinguish among items related specifically to “Downtown Syracuse,” and programmatic items/services that the “The Downtown Committee of Syracuse” provides. The domain name, as it exists, places emphasis on Downtown Syracuse, the place, and many users refer to the website as a place to get information. The Downtown Committee would like to uphold its reputation as the go-to-resource for all things related to Downtown Syracuse, while also drawing attention to its services and programs. *The Site-Map and content flow needs to be regrouped, reorganized and presented in a logical manner, requiring limited additional clicks.

2. Downtown Map: A new map must be created, which would be interactive, functional and made more userfriendly, providing the capability to be sorted/filtered by business type and other criteria. The Downtown Committee will work with the company selected from the RFP process to reduce the categories currently represented to improve the user experience.

3. Structure & Features: The website must follow SEO best practices including dynamic site map and well-structured URLS. Site formatting and layout should be compatible with – and able to adapt to – various computer screen resolutions, smartphones and tablets. The site should be responsive across all formats, look visually pleasing, and contain printer-friendly pages.

  • A mobile version of the site, with all or most of the same function, including mapping capabilities, should be upgraded as well.
  • Site must integrate a new database-driven system (customer relationship management) that will include business listings and relevant details. It is imperative that the site reflect business listings in relevant details, pulling from current data storage. Additional details related to the CRM are provided above, under “Navigation & User Experience.”
  • Site must integrate a searchable real estate database, conveying similar information to the current website’s “Business / Real Estate” function that will display relevant real estate opportunities available. If possible, the new website may also include a portal to allow leasing agents to submit details of relevant properties to this website for display. Information submitted through this portal would also need to be searchable and integrated into the overall Real Estate database information and mapping functions. 
  • All pages must have user-friendly URLs that make sense for the content depicted on each page, and intuitive to website users.
  • Social networking should be available site-wide. As the site currently exists, there is a widget on the homepage that displays the Downtown Committee’s Twitter feed, which was “trendy” during the most recent design. The Downtown Committee welcomes suggestions as to how to maintain social media relevance in the present-day.
  • Google Analytics should be utilized site-wide.  The website should also contain a “comment box” where users may directly contact the Downtown Committee, and an opt-in to subscribe to the Downtown Committee’s digital newsletter. 
  • The website should continue to be compatible with existing Community Calendar component, as this communicates with calendars that appear on Visit Syracuse and CNY Arts website. The current configuration displays the calendar as a widget, accessible from the Downtown Committee homepage. This same display does not need to be reflected in the new website design, but the connection piece must be in place so that the Downtown Committee calendar can continue to “talk to” the system that displays calendars on the Visit Syracuse and CNY Arts websites, so that the information that’s already being collected can continue to be communicated. 

If you have any questions, or seek further information, please contact Alice Maggiore, Director of Communications by email at amaggiore@downtownsyracuse.com, or by phone at 315-470-1953.

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