What was the scope of their involvement?
We initially met with Neon Rain Interactive and had them look at our existing site so they could advise us on how to improve the CMS. Websites often become this great archive of many years worth of content, so Neon Rain advised us how to best streamline many of the existing assets we were trying to bring over. Basically, they told us what content was relevant and the best way to migrate it.
They also agreed to do site mapping and wireframing of the site, and were very courteous about working with our graphic designer. We liked our designer’s aesthetic, so we submitted an idea of what we wanted our site to look like to Neon Rain, and they did a fantastic job matching that for us. They asked a lot of questions during the process regarding UX, and everything that we requested, they were able to achieve. We were never confined to the normal parameters of other companies that make government websites.
Being able to handle e-commerce was something our previous site lacked, which was frustrating because we have five elected offices that use different vendors. System integration was also important to us, including the ability to upload functionalities and interactive maps that required different file types. The payment feature was the most important aspect, as well as integrating a lot of data we get from our field operators.
Now, we can begin putting together those comprehensive subsites, like an e-permit center, which will allow people to apply and pay for job site permits. People can look at maps we’ve created for projects in the area, including code compliance and complaints. Being in government requires a lot of different software packages that are used in different departments for various functions. Having the ability to plug all of those in and use the data to create pages, rather than link to another website, is something we didn’t have before.
We are working on multiple subsites currently, including one for the animal shelter and adoption center for humane purposes. The subsite for the county fair is already completed and running. We have a spaceport license that we’ll most likely get, so we’re trying to plan for that as well.
What is the team dynamic?
We have a really great team that brings both their humor and experience to the table. They’re really fun to work with, and they want to get you to a place where you’re happy with your site. We’ve kept our own spreadsheet of ongoing minor fixes, and at the time of launch, we had around 60-64 fixes which they scaled down to two within a week and a half. They were very responsive both during launch and in subsequent months, and made sure any issues were addressed within 24 hours. They were even nice enough to give us the rate that was agreed to, even though it had gone up $20 more an hour. They’ve been very fair and honest.
How did you come to work with Neon Rain Interactive?
We have an IT department here, so we liked the idea of having an open source, but that was not the only reason we wanted a Drupal based site, and we had WordPress folks that were high on this as well. We went with Neon Rain because as a government, we do go with a competitive bidding process through an RFP.
Neon Rain had produced work in a similar space for a school district, including subsites for each of the schools within that district. This was the same format and model we were seeking, and they are based in Colorado, so we have the benefit of being able to have face to face meetings if necessary.
How much have you invested with them?
The original contract was around $70,000, but there have been additional budget amendments to allow us to buy modules that we’ve needed for some of the subsites since then. We’re close to $100,000 now.
What is the status of this engagement?
We started working together in December 2015, and the relationship is ongoing.