Site Demo

Yesterday we got to see a demo version of our website for the first time! While the functionality is still limited, it is great to see months (ok, years …) of work beginning to come to fruition. The home page is streamlined and easy to navigate, and the internal pages have a significant increase in options from our current site such as seamlessly embedding video, adding “people” blocks to identify individuals involved with certain activities, ability to enter almost unlimited photos in an easily viewable format, and more.

We’ll be posting more information soon!

Data Migration/Import

One of the big “to-do” list items for the new website and database is getting our data organized, updated, and into a specific format for OMBU to upload into the Salesforce database. Once the data is uploaded into Salesforce it will be linked to the new website, and will be accessible in a variety of ways to users.

Since our data is currently located in a bunch of different places AND much of the data we want to enter into the new system has never actually been recorded, this job is easier said than done. Thankfully, we have a dedicated group of volunteers helping to not only input old data, but source data from the internet, books, and other information sources.

Places

A good relational database is organized around tables of data that are linked together through the usage of primary keys. One of the many important tables we have in our new system is a table for places. We want to include every place the Mazamas could have an activity into the Place table. By adding places to this table, when we add activities we can link to a place, thereby allowing someone searching our site to see everything that takes place in a single location.

What does this mean for you? If you are interested in everything taking place on Mt. Hood, you’ll be able to search for that!

Activities

As you know, the Mazamas host a number of activities. While the term activities may be new, this encompasses climbs, hikes, outings, classes—some are shorter, some are longer, but they are all activities.

In order to make the system work, we have to create a table that contains all of the POSSIBLE activities we could schedule. We are doing this by going back through old records to try to locate all the activities we have done in the past and using this to start populating the table. We then add a bunch of new data to the table, things such as latitude and longitude, external website links, badges earned, and more in order to capture everything we need to know about the activity.

As you can imagine, this is a BIG job!

What does this mean for you? When you use the new site, if you look at the route description of Mt. Hood South Side or Table Mountain, you’ll be able to view a variety of information all in one place AND see the upcoming dates of that activity (if there are any), as well as past dates.

Participation

This is probably the hardest piece of the puzzle. Because the new system will heavily utilize Badges as a qualification for activities, we want to populate as much past participation info as we can. The problem is that information is not centralized. It lives with previous class coordinators and instructors, and sometimes it lives on paper sheets that are “filed” in a box somewhere. That said, we have reached out to all the committees to try to get any data they do have on participation. We also have climb participation in our internal database. By utilizing those information sources we are attempting to build as comprehensive of a profile for people as we can for the last FIVE YEARS of participation in activities with the Mazamas (specifically classes and climbs). This data will be imported into the new system and visible when you first login.

Do you think you might have some data to add to our data migration process, such as class, climb, outing, or hike records? Then please get in touch! Email sarah@mazamas.org.

A New Way of Doing (Almost) Everything is Coming Soon!

by Sarah Bradham, Mazamas Director of Marketing & Communication

We have completed the build of the new database (CRM) that will power the new website experience, completed our first round of data migration (importing data into the new system), and signed off on the new home page design. This project update provides you with a high-level timeline as well as details on some of the new website features that we will all be able to utilize starting in early 2018. At the end of the climbing season, you should start rounding up any old climb cards, because we will not be using them in 2018!

Streamlined

Your new Mazama website experience has been completely redesigned for simplicity. Four main navigation options on the home page align with what we do at the Mazamas: Education, Activities, Community, and Get Involved. Subnavigation on the homage page will lead you directly to other important topics, such as Volunteer, Membership Info, About Us, Calendar and Search.

Full Event & Activity List

All activities and events at the Mazamas will be viewable in one location and will be easily searchable. Interested in climbing Mt. Hood in June? You can search for that. How about going on a hike in the Gorge in July with kids? You can search for that too. Our homepage will have a short list of upcoming events, and you’ll be able to dive into a full list of opportunities with one click.

Search

A robust search feature will allow you to quickly and easily search the entire Mazama website and see your results sorted by topic, such as: Education, Activities, Volunteer Opportunities, and more.

Volunteer Opportunities

Interested in volunteering with the Mazamas? On our new site you’ll have the ability to add your volunteer interests and skills to your personal profile. You can then explore the volunteer opportunities available and sign up for volunteer shifts through the website. You can record your volunteer hours. The best part? We’ll be able to tally up all of the hours Mazama volunteers are donating to the organization AND recognize you for your contribution. Participant Profile All Mazama Members and anyone who participates in a Mazama activity can create a participant profile. This profile will include basic information such as contact information, but will also contain more detailed information—think the types of things you currently include on a climb card or outings application—and the user will have the ability to customize what data is public and what data is private.

Mazama Badges

Mazama Badges are going to be a visual way for you to track and display your involvement with the Mazamas. From activtity badges to skill badges to award badges, you’ll be able to earn badges for just about anything you do at the Mazamas! Badges will not only allow you to track what you do with the Mazamas, but they will also unlock opportunities for you within the Mazamas. For example, a certain climb might require a certain skill badge. If you have the badge, you’ll be able to apply for the climb. If you don’t have the skill badge, you’ll have the opportunity to apply for the badge.

Activity Registration

NO MORE CLIMB CARDS!!! You will sign up for all Mazamas classes and activities through the Mazama website. You’ll complete your Mazama profile so that all required data for a class or activity is already on file. When you are ready to apply for an activity, you be prompted to provide some activity specific information, but there’ll be no need to repeatedly enter your basic information, such as contact info, class history, and activity history into the system. Anything you do with the Mazamas will automatically be a part of your profile. AND, you’ll have the opportunity to enter relevant external training and activity history into your profile.

Activity Tracking

When you sign up for an activity—a class, climb, hike, outing, etc …—you’ll be able to see your status in your online profile. If you are accepted, you will receive all the relevant information through links on your personal profile. Once you complete the activity, your status in that activity will be recorded on your profile.

Let’s Talk About Badges

by Sarah Bradham

If you have been following along with the Mazamas new IT Project and website you have probably heard the word badges. But what are badges and how are they going to be used? And why do you care?

Badges will be front and center in our new website and will drive much of the way you interact with the Mazamas moving forward. They are designed to be not only extremely functional but a fun way for you to track your involvement at the Mazamas and share your skills, education, and awards with others.

Types of Badges

There will be a variety of types of badges. Currently, we have Activity, Awards, Education, Leader Education, Outside Course, Qualification, Recognition, and Skill Badges.

How do you Get Badges?

Badges will primarily be earned through Mazama activities and classes, but they can also be earned by taking non-Mazama courses that are relevant to Mazama activities, as well as more administrative tasks such as completing a required form.

How will Badges be Used?

There are multiple objectives to employing the badge system:

  1. It lets you, as the site user, track your involvement with the Mazamas
  2. It lets the Mazamas verify that you have the skills for a certain activity or class
  3. It lets the Mazamas track that you have completed required tasks, such as leader training or volunteer training

That’s the nuts and bolts of it, but I’m sure you are all wondering how will this really work in practice? Let’s start with a couple of examples:

Applying for a Climb

Let’s say someone wants to climb Middle Sister. A Middle Sister climb is on the climb schedule and the prerequisites indicate that you need the Basic Snow (Skill Badge) badge in order to apply for the climb.

  • Case 1: Joe Smith took BCEP several months prior and as a result was awarded the Course: BCEP (Education) badge as well as the Basic Rock (Skill) and Basic Snow badges. Since Joe has the required badge he can apply for the climb.
  • Case 2: Jane Doe hasn’t take BCEP with the Mazamas, but she took a beginning mountaineering course with NOLS. She sees the Middle Sister climb on the calendar but it is greyed out as she doesn’t have the required skills to apply. But she sees an “apply for badge” link. She clicks on that link and applies for the Basic Snow badge because she feels the NOLS class provided her equivalent experience. Her application is reviewed and she is granted the Basic Snow badge. Jane can now apply for the climb.

Qualification Badges

Activities and volunteer roles also require other, more administrative, qualifications in order to participate. We are also tracking these requirements through badges.

  • Waiver Badge: To participate in any Mazama Activity you must sign a Mazama waiver. Whether it is a hike, climb, course … a waiver is required. You probably are familiar with signing a waiver every single time you do an activity. But no more! To participate in a Mazama Activity you must have an account on the new Mazama website. When you go to sign up for your first Mazama Activity, you will be asked to review and sign the Mazama waiver. Once the waiver is signed, you can then register for an activity because you will have the Waiver Badge.
  • Volunteer Orientation: All Mazama volunteers need to go through a Mazama Volunteer Orientation in order to sign up for a volunteer shift. Once you complete that orientation you will receive the Volunteer Orientation badge which will allow you to sign up for a volunteer shift.
  • Background Check: If you want to volunteer for an activity that involves kids, you will have to have a background check. Once the background check is complete, you will receive a background check badge (this is one of the only badges that will always be private, i.e. it won’t show up on your profile even if you make the badges portion of your profile public)

Involvement

Volunteerism: When your volunteer hours tick up past a certain number, we can award you badges, such as 100 hours, 200 hours, 500 hours, 1000 hours. It’ll be a great addition to your profile.

Awards: Have you climbed the Guardian Peaks with the Mazamas? Or hiked 250 miles? Based on your Mazama Activity history we will be able to award you these pages when you reach milestones.

Leadership: If you are a Mazama hike, climb, or outings leader you will have the appropriate badge on your profile. These leadership badges will allow you to do certain things, such as schedule a climb or hike.

There is a lot more to it than that, but this provides you with a broad overview of how the badge system will work. We have designed it to be flexible enough to allow for individuals outside of the traditional Mazama system to be able to easily participate in our activities by providing documentation of their training level. As well as to track your entire history of involvement with the Mazamas so you can quickly look back and see what you have done.

Questions? Please ask!

June 16—Update from Sarah

It has been a very busy couple of weeks, and we are thrilled to be making some major progress on the project.

CRM, Data Migration, and Home Page Design

We have instituted a new sign off policy so that all phases must be signed off by the Mazamas and OMBU. These three key phases were completed on June 9.

  • OMBU completed the minor tweaks that were needed for the Mazamas to sign off on the CRM Phase. CRM Phase is now complete.
  • OMBU completed a second data migration to test the new scripts. This data migration was 90% accurate and we signed off on the Data Migration with several defects noted that will be fixed on the next round of data migration. [Note: We will have three more rounds of data migration prior to launch]
  • The Mazamas reviewed and signed off on the second version of the Home Page comps. This allows work to proceed on finalizing the home page design and beginning the process of designing the internal pages.

Heroku Connect: How our Salesforce CRM will sync with our website

When we had initially scoped our project, OMBU was going to build a custom tool that would sync our CRM with our website. At the time this custom solution was our best option, and although somewhat expensive to build and maintain. However, over the last few months OMBU became aware of a Salesforce product called Heroku Connect that does exactly what they were going to custom build for us. The benefit of going with this Saleforce product is that it will be maintained directly by Salesforce. Although we will be charged an annual fee to go with this solution, over a five year period the cost for this solution is on par with what we would pay OMBU to keep our custom solution working. We have made the decision to move forward with Heroku Connect and are working on the final contract now and should have it signed by the end of the month.

Project Timeline

With a project manager change, a delay in our CRM Phase, and our rejection of the initial Home Page comps, the project schedule is getting a little behind. We have impressed upon OMBU the vital importance of having our Class Registration fully operational by the time BCEP 2018 registration is ready to get underway. They are aware of this very important deadline and will be presenting us with a revised schedule on June 27. It is possible we may need to launch the project in two phases, with Class Registration coming online a little earlier than Activities Registration. We will know more by next week.

 

 

June 1—Update from Sarah

Sprint 9

Sprint 9 is one of the smaller sprints we have reviewed. This sprint largely focused on Mazama Badges and how they would be displayed on the website and mobile site. In addition, this sprint also contained a workup of the “Who We Are” section of the new site. On this page we will have the ability to highlight the people that make up the Mazamas—our board, staff, activity leaders, instructors. This will be a great new feature on our website.

We had very little feedback on this sprint and it accepted it as is.

Visual Design

We had a very productive meeting with OMBU on May 18 regarding our feedback on the Home Page comps. Our feedback centered around the fact that all along we have felt that the wireframes were right on target with regards to the look and feel we were hoping to have for our site. We left the meeting with the Mazamas agreeing to go through the wireframes and to send OMBU additional photos and suggestions of where they should go in the wireframes. OMBU would then take the original wireframes, add in new photos and the colors from the mood board palette, and present us with a new Visual Design. The new comps are due on June 7.

Data Migration

The first round of data migration was completed in mid-May. Peter and I went through a checklist to determine if the data from the data migration templates had been migrated correctly into the Salesforce CRM. Overall the data migration was pretty clean, but there were a few problems with the data. We reported our findings to OMBU and they will be working to revise their data migration scripts and redo the data migration to test the new scripts.

CRM Acceptance

We are still working through a few minor issues that are holding up CRM Acceptance. We are hoping to sign off on the CRM in the next two weeks.

May 16, 2017—Update from Sarah

Over the last few weeks we have reviewed Sprints 7 & 8 and started into the Visual Design phase of the project.

You can review the scope of Sprints 7 & 8 here: http://mazamasitproject.org/index.php/2017/04/21/update-from-sarah-april-21-2017/

Sprint 7 Notes

  • Social Login: We are including social media login options for our new website; however users will be encouraged to create a standard account
  • Waiver: When a user signs up for their first activity with the Mazamas they will be directed to sign the universal Mazama waiver. This waiver will be in place for one year and will apply to all Mazama activities/education programs.
  • Join Process: We are streamlining our Join process to be more automatic with a double-check of criteria on the backend.
  • Pro-Rated Memberhip: We are reviewing the option of pro-rated memberships.
  • Renewal: When a member is logged into the site and they are getting close to the membership renewal period, they will get a visual indicator on the site that they should renew now.
  • User Profile: All site users, i.e. anyone who creates an account, will have the opportunity to create a user profile. This profile will include:
    • Contact Information
    • Personal Bio
    • Non-Mazama Training and Activities
    • Mazama Badges Earned
    • Mazama Activities
    • Mazama Volunteer Hours
    • The user will be able to determine which of these fields are publicly vieweable to other site users; an activity leader will always be able to see the user information that is relevant to the activity regardless of whether the information has been made public

Sprint 8 Notes

  • The Home Page is designed to heavily utilize photography with a large “hero” image.
  • We will have a What’s Happening section just above the fold that will allow us to highlight timely information
  • Climbing Education, Mazama History, and Stewardship & Advocacy will all be highlighted as you scroll down through the home page
  • We are tweaking the donation pages to provide a very streamlined, easy to use donor experience for anyone interested in supporting the Mazamas
  • The site search feature will be very robust and will provide your search results by category to make it easier to find the answer you are looking for.

Home Page Comps

The initial comps of the Home Page design were presented on May 10. This was our second presentation within the Visual Design phase, with the first focusing solely on the mood boards, i.e. colors, fonts, etc … The initial comps for the Home Page were not in line with what we had been hoping for with regards to our new website presence. Visual Design feedback was due on May 17, but we provided feedback on May 12 as we knew this rejection of the first round of comps might add extra time to the project. We are meeting with the OMBU team on May 18 to go over Sprint 9 and also to provide very detailed, in-person feedback on the home page comps to get us steered in the right direction for our new design.

 

Update from Sarah: April 26, 2017

Today we had a conference call with OMBU to go over questions we have regarding our staffing change. Our goal is to ensure a smooth transition of the project from our current PM to the new PM. In order to do that we brought together our team to have a conversation about potential challenge points.

Attendees:

  • Peter Tung, Mazama IT Project Manager
  • Danielle Kulczyk, OMBU Project Management Lead
  • Martin Rio, OMBU Principal
  • Sarah Bradham, Mazamas Director of Marketing & Communications

Questions covered:

  • How dos the OMBU team work together at OMBU for UX Development Phase? Goal: To better understand how the UX lead, visual lead, and project manager work together during this phase, and who to report information to from the Mazama side.
  • What feedback is critical that OMBU would expect from the Mazamas during the UX phase? Goal: To nail down exactly what OMBU needs from the Mazamas during each sprint of this phase.
  • What is the Beta Test Process for UX Development Phase? Goal: To better understand how beta testing releases will happen during the UX phase.
  • What is the OMBU transition plan for getting the new PM up to speed on the project? Goal: To better understand OMBU’s internal process for onboarding the new PM, and to understand the timeline of when the project will be transitioned to the new PM. Also to identify the reporting structure during this time of transition.

This call was successful and the Mazamas feel cautiously optimistic as we move forward with our transition plan and reporting for the UX phase.

 

 

Update from Sarah: April 21, 2017

We are moving our way further into visual design and functionality of the new website. OMBU decided to combine Sprints 7 & 8 as the elements of these sprints naturally fit together. This meant a bigger than normal set of wireframes to review, but a significant amount of excitement around where we are headed with the site.

Sprint 7

The wireframes for Sprint 7 focused on the how to log in, sign up for a user account, join the Mazamas, renew your Mazama membership, and user profiles. The highlights of sprint 7:

  • Anyone who wants to participate in a Mazama event or activity will need to create a user account.
  • Required information for a user account will be email address, first name, last name, and a password
  • You will have the option to create a user account by utilizing a social login if desired. This means you can choose to login with Facebook or Google if preferred.
  • Once a user creates an account they will be encouraged to complete more of their user profile, and, if they request a glaciated peak badge and are not yet a Mazama member, they will be encouraged to join.
  • Creation of a user account is a two-step process to ensure security. A new user will sign up and then will need to confirm their email address via a link that was sent to their email. Once they click on that link they can complete the account creation.
  • To join the Mazamas, a user will be guided through a three-step process: create a user account, verify summitting a glaciated peak, and then select a membership type and pay.
  • When a current Mazama member logs into the new site they will no longer see the Join option, instead they will see a Renew tab. Clicking on this renew tab will show the member the status of their membership, including their join date.
  • When the membership renewal period approaches, the Renew tab will become more prominent and a member will be guided through the renewal process.
  • All users will have profiles. Profiles will contain contact information, join information, badges earned, volunteer information, activity history, and upcoming activities/classes.

Sprint 8

The wireframes for Sprint 8 centered around the home page design, the donate/give user experience, and search results.

  • In designing our new home page we are working to ensure we have an engaging and active experience for the user.
  • The main tabs on the home page will be: Education, Activities, Community, and Get Involved.
  • Additional high level navigation will include: About Us, Calendar, Search, Join, Give, Volunteer, and Login.
  • Further down the page we will include a What’s Happening section to show the user what is coming up with the Mazamas.
  • We’ll have a section to do a callout of certain high-level events/activities.
  • Education will have a presence further down on the home page, followed by history, and community and stewardship.
  • The end of the home page will entice the user to join the Mazamas.
  • The giving experience is designed to be easy to use and will have the option of monthly giving.
  • Search results are going to be pretty amazing. When you search you will be able to filter your results by type: All, Activities, Events, Education, and groups.

That wraps up Sprints 7 & 8. We will be reviewing the wireframes and providing feedback, with a deadline of May 3 to have all feedback submitted.

IT Project: Quarterly Project Update

by Sarah Bradham, Director of Marketing & Communications

The past few months have been extremely busy as work proceeds on schedule for the IT Project. To recap the project for those who are just joining us: A major part of the Mazamas 3-year plan, adopted in 2015, was to reinvent our IT systems to catch up to twenty-first century technology. The database solutions we have been using are antiquated, and much of the data that flows through the Mazamas is not captured in our current database. Data such as class registrations, hiking participants, outings participants, and nonmember interactions with the organization are not tracked in one connected system. This project will solve those challenges by creating a database and website that are connected, in which all activities, courses, and membership information flows through one centralized location.

As you can imagine this is a BIG undertaking. We started this process in 2015 by hiring OMBU Web to work with us to determine our system needs and define the project scope. That process involved listening sessions with committees, discussions with key volunteers, and staff interviews. Through those meetings we built a framework for our new system. Once the framework was developed we set work building the new system. The build will be completed in three phases: CRM & IT Tools, Website, and Activities & Multi-Part Activities.

CRM & IT Tools

CRM stands for customer relationship management. The Mazamas will be utilizing Salesforce as our CRM solution. The benefits of Salesforce are significant. It is an extremely widespread CRM tool that receives constant updates and revisions. It is heavily used by nonprofits as it has incredibly competitive pricing for the nonprofit sector. OMBU has built out the Mazamas Salesforce platform with the custom specifications and features needed to manage our broad organization. As the CRM is the brains of the entire system, it was very important to get it built just right. OMBU is currently fixing some of the last few bugs in the CRM.

Website & User Profiles

Now that we have built the brains of the system, we are beginning the work of redesigning the Mazama website. A website is more than just a static way to get information to a reader. Websites these days need to be dynamic, with up to the minute data, easy accessibility and navigation on mobile systems such as smartphones and tablets, and a customized experience for the user.

We have created a new site map that better reflects what the Mazamas does as an organization. This new design will allow a user to quickly and easily find what they need on our site. Our site map is organized around four main buckets of content—Education, Activities, Community, and Get Involved—as the main menu. An Involvement menu will provide direct access to important points of visitor engagement, including joining the organization, volunteering, and logging in to the site, with a utility menu providing quick access to a fully faceted calendar, site search, and About Us functionality.

Whether it is searching the classes we are offering, finding an activity for the upcoming weekend, or learning about the Mazamas history, the information will be quickly accessible.

Activities & Multi-Part Activities: Connecting the dots

This will the last part of the system to be built, and it involves connecting the CRM & IT Tools and Website & User Profiles to create a robust user experience for everyone who interacts with the Mazamas.

With the new website, a few of the things you will be able to do:

  • Create a profile
  • Manage your Mazama membership
  • Update your contact information
  • Sign up for classes and activities
  • Sign up for a volunteer project
  • Track your volunteer hours
  • Get all information about your class or activity

View your entire history of interaction with the Mazamas (membership history, climb & hike history, education history)

Class Coordinators & Activity Leaders will be able to:

  • Manage activities
  • Manage courses
  • Source volunteers
  • Manage a committee/team members

Propose email communications to a segmented group of people (i.e. email everyone who has taken Advanced Rock in the last year)

This is just an overview of some of the things a user will be able to do on the new Mazama website. We are excited to keep moving this project forward and deliver a great product to Mazama members, volunteers, and the larger community of people who participate with the Mazamas.