Digital Activity Calendar - Western Sydney Parklands and Parramatta Park

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Western Sydney Parklands (WSPT) is a place for people of all backgrounds to meet, celebrate, learn, play and appreciate the environment. Likewise, Parramatta Park is a World Heritage Listed park and since 2010, has been known for being a great place to picnic, celebrate family milestones, get active, explore our history or attend one of the many events and festivals that are often visited by more than two million people each year. Internetrix are proud to say that Western Sydney Parklands and Parramatta Park (WSPT) have been long term clients.

After Internetrix completed two successful website redesigns in 2016 along with a custom built booking system for both sites, we were engaged to create a Digital Activity Calendar (DAC) to help make the task of managing the parks various spaces and associated events or tasks much simpler.

The motives behind the calendar were its many benefits which includes; reduced time spent for staff completing tasks, an avoidance of double bookings or clashes, integration with the existing booking system and potential for increased revenue by booking and handling more events and activities. Another benefit of the system, was that it would have the ability to help in the rare case of emergencies by flagging extreme weather conditions or disaster warnings, and displaying staff schedules that would ultimately impact the parklands.

After stakeholders at Western Sydney Parklands and Parramatta Park agreed there was a need to move to a Digital Activity Calendar, they briefed Internetrix on their requirements; Import bookings from the existing custom built booking system, have logic in place to stop double booking,

The system needed to be a web based application so that staff could access it easily, have multiple access levels and user permissions, automatically issue emails and notifications, produce reports and importantly the system needs to be robust and accurate so that staff have confidence in the data.

For the interface, the new system would need to be accessed on a range of devices and called for mobile first responsive design. Visually, the calendar required to appear like a standard calendar, but it also had to flexible and dynamic enough so that it could be viewed by not only date, but by the sought after location. This meant, that the interface would need the ability to filter the calendar entries.

After initial meetings, Internetrix Interactive Designers completed some rapid prototyping and delivered wireframes. After some revisions, they went to work on completing the interface which Included custom made svg maps with individual elements created for each location and precinct - so users could click to zoom into various park precincts.

The front end development was built using React JS, so the large amount of data could be rendered and delivered to users much faster, and custom SASS with the styling being unique from the parent websites but within the brand guidelines.

Now DAC is no ordinary website - it's a web application that requires complex interactivity on a large set of data. Our developers ended up producing a React javascript application to drive it. (It's the same technology that the Facebook and Instagram ecosystems use.) Data for the DAC is fetched and stored in the Parklands' SilverStripe CMS as normal, but the user experience is managed by the React application. It was important early on to marry-up existing data & systems to the new equivalents in DAC, and that included things as banal as the taxonomies of their parklands, but DAC now fits on the site like a glove on the hand. It's not the first React project we've produced but it is the most discrete deployment yet.

To utilise access given to existing staff and to have a central place to monitor this access, the DAC system was installed as a subsite on the existing Silverstripe CMS that was previously built for Western Sydney Parklands and Parramatta Park.

The outcome for Western Sydney Parklands and Parramatta Park was that they were provided with much greater visibility of all activities and events happening across their many spaces. This has reportedly reduced strain on staff and the previous reliance on manual data entry has reduced significantly. The number of double bookings has minimised by and a booking processes have been streamlined.

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