National Park Service

“Charged with the trust of preserving the natural resources of America” – the National Park Service is an agency of the United States federal government that manages all U.S. national parks, many American national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties.

National Park Service Common Learning Portal, WordPress, BuddyPress, WebDevStudios

National Park Service: Common Learning Portal

The U.S. National Park Service Career Academy for Cultural Resources offers an innovative distance learning program, as well as access to courses and workshops to cultural resource specialists and related disciplines.  National Park Service employees are located across the United States, and some areas are quite remote, so they required a platform that enabled them to share resources, knowledge and store important data and documents in real time. WebDevStudios built the platform using WordPress as their content management system of choice, along with BuddyPress to expand the community aspect of the program.  This project was built as a private intranet for employees of the National Park Service to enable them to share knowledge and resources, remotely.

Knowledge and Resource Libraries

The overall goal of this project was to create a portal for a massive knowledge and resource share amongst National Park Service employees and partners.  The value to this organization is massive and provides solutions that existed, internally, of being able to share these resources quickly and efficiently.  Now, no matter where in the nation an employee is, they can login to the National Park Service Common Learning Portal and find the exact information they are looking for from events, articles, contacts at other parks, policy documents and more. It’s right at their fingertips with the solution we built for them.

  • Learning Center

    Allows National Park employees to explore offered online and face-to-face courses, as well as trainings offered by National Park Service partners.

  • Program Areas

    Allows employees to browse Clearinghouse resources, trainings, and Commons content specific to your discipline.  Integration with Elastic Search enables employees to quickly drill down and find the program areas they are interested in.

  • Help Center

    Gives employees support for a variety of questions through these centers designed around specialized topics.

  • Careers Center

    Employees can explore what cultural resource employees do and search for internship opportunities within the National Park Service.

  • Clearinghouse

    Members can explore a number of vetted reference materials – from books to videos, handbooks to podcasts, and much more.

  • The Commons

    Employees can join the Commons, as members, to connect and engage with their colleagues. The Commons connects all of the members via BuddyPress. Each member has an extensive customizable profile and can join and participate in a number of organic user groups.

Data & Design

Custom Design

The custom design work we did for the National Park Service Common Learning portal was large part of this project, requiring several phases of discovery, feedback and iteration before finalized design comps were approved and completed.  Our process starts with sketches and wireframes to determine the layouts and presentation of the vast quantities of information and resources available with the goal being ease of use and responsive design to ensure anyone can reach the information they need on any device.  And while every project we do passes standard accessibility practices, this federal government project had very strict requirements around accessibility to ensure everyone had the same level of access to the intranet.  This project fully complies with WCAG 2.0 and Section 508 accessibility standards.

Data Visualization

The CLP also establishes social networks focusing on communities of practice and provides libraries that can be organized by topics and competencies—plus the capability to link directly to online courses found within DOILearn.  The project took 12 months to complete, starting with the data visualization and taxonomy process which will establish the way information is arranged and displayed.  Our team attended kickoff planning and taxonomy workshops on-site in Washington D.C. at the Stephen T. Mather Training Center location.  These sessions were attended by more than 40 individuals from the National Park Systems and Enterprise Knowledge to map out and visualize the data flow, taxonomy structure and architecture and determine a finalized data mapping of how each program area, resource and knowledge base would be structured.

National Park Service: The Commons

The Commons area of the National Park Service utilizes a custom build-out of the BuddyPress plugin for WordPress.  The Commons establishes social networks focusing on communities of practice and provides libraries that can be organized by topics and competencies.

The BuddyPress plugin for WordPress provides a strong framework for building community features including: Member profiles, creation of interest Groups, Friendships, Community Activity Feeds, Private messaging, and more.  The National Park Service chose to leverage the power of WordPress + BuddyPress to build a dynamic and useful portion of their site that enables social activity, community sharing and growth.

National Park Service Commons - BuddyPress
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