Web Modernization and eGovernment Solutions

About the Client

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The mission of the NRCS is to promote the conservation and protection of natural resources by providing technical assistance to private landowners.

 

Situation

NRCS released a Request for Proposals (RFP) to obtain support services for the redesign of its public web site, including the migration of all web content (4,000 pages) to a central location, the delivery of training on Internet technologies, and the design/deployment of a web server environment for development. The RFP also requested that training and coordination with stakeholders be addressed in the redesign of various sections of the web property.

NRCS web information was dispersed across multiple server platforms and national locations, making the management of the NRCS web property a challenging proposition. As a result, NRCS wanted to consolidate its web content to a central location to facilitate its web management activities. NRCS was also under a mandate to re-modernize its web presence to create a more user-centric environment, and most importantly, to comply with the requirements of Section 508 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act.

TeAM's Solution

TeAM created an implementation plan for developing a NRCS web site for internal and external use. TeAM coordinated information gathering efforts with the Chief and Deputy Chiefs of the agency to facilitate the creation and modification of NRCS web content. These efforts involved one-on-one interviews with the executive team to compose requirements for the project. The web site re-modernization project featured accessibility modifications, user centric design, server implementation, and training. The project took five months to complete.

Accessibility

TeAM coded each web page to ensure that the web content met the guidelines established by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. The web pages were tested utilizing some of the industry's leading accessibility tools and browsers, such as SSB Technologies (InFocus), Crunchy (PageScreamer), IBM (Home Page Reader), and Freedom Scientific (JAWS) to ensure Section 508 compliance.

User Centric Design

To produce a user centric web environment, TeAM conducted work groups for stakeholders and customers of the NRCS to gather requirements for creating an effective solution.

Server Implementation

To support the web site, TeAM deployed a Windows 2000 Server running Internet Information Server 5.0. In addition to creating a production/development environment, TeAM also deployed a workflow process for publishing content to the web site, which assisted in managing user access to the server environment.

Training

Understanding that the NRCS was moving in a different direction for modifying, publishing, and managing content for the new web environment, TeAM was involved in extensive training of NRCS staff. The training included:

  • Server maintenance and utilization
  • Accessibility (screen reader overview, what to look for, and coding tips)
  • HTML (coding and debugging)
  • Page conversion and style guide integration
  • Security
  • Process writing

TeAM's Benefits and Results

The new web site facilitates inter-departmental sharing of information, which allows for improved content architecture and better organization. It meets the requirements of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and is now accessible by all persons requesting information. The new site promotes a consistent NRCS presence and brand across the web.

See the NRCS web site at www.nrcs.usda.gov.