Request for Proposal - Website Creation

Organization NameJob CategoriesPosition TypeRegion and Location(s)Career LevelSalaryAd Online SinceApplication Deadline
Science Teachers' Association of Ontario (STAO)
  • Education: Teaching / Training
  • IT: Service and Support
  • IT: Web Interface / Design
Request for Proposal
  • Home-Office Based
Experienced (Non-manager)N/A2019-04-052019-04-29

The Science Teachers’ Association of Ontario/L’Association des professeurs de sciences de l’Ontario (STAO/APSO) would like to create a brand new website and bring all of its associated websites into one online web presence. STAO has three current websites that are operated by various committees in different content management systems. They can be accessed as follows:

The following Request for Proposal (RFP) includes a background of our organization and describes the purpose of launching a new website, its desired functionality, and specific requests relating to the proposal. We understand that details may be subject to change upon vendor recommendation and/or research of more optimal solutions. In your proposal, please feel free to suggest alternatives where appropriate.

Table of Contents:

  1. Guide to this RFP
  2. Project Overview
  3. Background
  4. Project Goals
  5. Proposed Sitemap
  6. Scope of Work
  7. Technical Requirements
  8. Budget
  9. Project Timeline
  10. Format and Proposal Details

1.    Guide to this RFP

STAO/APSO’s expectation is that this document will convey our vision for what a new website will feature as well as highlight specific challenges we are encountering with the existing website. It includes a background section about our organization, suggests an outline for organizing the content of the new website, and highlights desired functionalities of the new website. In providing these details, our intent is not to convey that we have all the answers in creating a new website; in fact, the ideal and preferred vendor will bring their own ideas and vision based on industry expertise, technical capability, and client relations, guiding us to incorporate our goals into that vision. A question and answer period has been built into the RFP process so that all potential vendors will have the opportunity to learn as much as possible about STAO/APSO’s needs prior to submitting a proposal. Please see Section 7, Project Timeline, for further details and contact information.

2. Project Overview

STAO/APSO’s vision is “To be the leading voice in the advancement of science education in Ontario”. As such, STAO/APSO’s online presence should be the first port-of-call for Ontario science teachers who need to know anything related to science education in Ontario. STAO/APSO search results on these topics should also be the first that show up in any Ontario science teacher’s Google search.

There are many different actions required on STAO/APSO’s part to fully achieve this mission, but one of the first requirements is to ensure that STAO/APSO is presenting an updated and more user-friendly online presence. The required updates and review of the website will allow STAO/APSO to better present itself as a leader in the field of science education in Ontario. It will provide a centralized location for anyone with interest in kindergarten to grade 12 (K-12) science education or in STAO/APSO as an organization to find all of the information they need related to the teaching of science in Ontario’s elementary and secondary schools. Without changes to the website, it will be difficult to market STAO/APSO as a leader, increase and diversify revenue streams, attract new potential partners and provide adequate levels of service to STAO/APSO’s membership. Specific opportunity costs for not launching a new website are discussed in section two, Finances.

The STAO/APSO website provides the public with access to numerous resources centred around the topic of K-12 science education. In addition, STAO/APSO members are able to access additional members-only resources on the same topics. The website also features an ecommerce section which provides STAO/APSO with three revenue streams:

  • The STAO/APSO Science Store which sells numerous STAO/APSO-developed resources as well as other items that may be of interest to science educators
  • Membership access which can be purchased by individuals, schools, school boards or customized to suit the needs of the individual or organization
  • Conference registration

The launch of a new website will position STAO/APSO as a key leader in scientific education in Ontario and will allow new features to be incorporated which align with the organization’s current Strategic Plan.

Upon completion of the launch, STAO/APSO will be in a position to better market the organization to potential members and partner organizations. This will result in increased revenue for STAO/APSO and an increased profile in the scientific community.

There are many other organizations who offer science resources for K-12 teachers at the provincial, national and international levels. In order to better compete with these not-for-profit and for-profit organizations, it is essential for STAO/APSO to evaluate its existing resources and determine which are suitable for today’s educational climate and to begin considering what needs to be done next to ensure we retain our market share. The fact that STAO/APSO is a provincial organization that can provide resources aligned with the Ontario curriculum specifically and has developed connections with so many organizations in its 100+ year history means that STAO/APSO is capable of making changes to adapt to today’s environment and that it is well-respected in the field. Leveraging the past while painting a picture of what STAO/APSO can do in the future is important in bringing in new members and continuing to advance Ontario’s science education curriculum.

The cost to STAO/APSO to implement a new website is projected to be in the area of $30,000. This does not include the monthly costs associated with the continual operation of the website but it does include all costs associated with reviewing and preparing the current material for transfer to the new website.

The primary responsibility for successful execution of the project will be held by the Executive Director with support from the Website Committee in particular. All of STAO/APSO’s committees will have crucial roles to play in ensuring that the website responds to STAO/APSO’s users’ needs and that content that is reflective of STAO/APSO’s goals is migrated to the new website.

Key dates for the launch of the new website include:

  • Finalization of this Business Plan (including Board approval) - March 22, 2019
  • Development of a transition plan to manage the transition from STAO/APSO’s existing website to the new website - March 22, 2019
  • Posting of the RFP - April 3, 2019
  • RFP submissions close - April 29, 2019
  • Interviews with top candidates - May 1 - 12, 2019
  • Selection of a website developer - May 13, 2019
  • Completion of a survey of user needs by STAO members and non-members - May 13, 2019
  • Creation of a flowchart for the new website - June 15, 2019
  • Approval of website design mock-up - July 1, 2019
  • Finalization of initial website content - September 1, 2019
  • Completion of the development of the website and testing of the new website begins - October 31, 2019
  • Official launch of the new website - November 30, 2019

Please note that all dates are subject to change based on the input of the chosen website developer, aside from the indicated launch date.

3. Background

STAO/APSO was established in 1890. It is registered as an incorporated non-profit organization with the province of Ontario.

The objectives of STAO/APSO are:

  • to stimulate and improve the teaching of science in Ontario,
  • to co-ordinate the activities of its members, and
  • to disseminate information related to science teaching to its members.

To achieve these objectives, the association has four strategic directions:

  • to provide professional learning opportunities and resources to educators;
  • to advocate for excellence in the development and implementation of the Ontario curriculum;
  • to recruit and retain a large, diverse membership, and
  • to develop and maintain relationships with partners.

STAO/APSO is made up of a number of volunteer committees who, with the full-time Executive Director, are responsible for all of STAO/APSO’s activities across the province. The governance and operations of the organization are overseen by a volunteer Board of Directors and Executive Committee. STAO prides itself on the hard work and dedication of its many volunteers, who will be an important part of the website launch process.

STAO/APSO’s current website is difficult to navigate for users and content is spread across three independent websites. There are a number of key issues which we are looking to solve with the launch of a new website, which are outlined below:

  • STAO/APSO’s online presence is currently spread across three independent websites
  • Navigating the website is difficult and the search functionality is not as easy to use as it could be
  • French navigation of the website is limited
  • Key data from membership purchases, conference registration purchases and website analytics are not being purposefully collected
  • The mobile version of the website is almost impossible to fully navigate in its current form
  • Key information such as membership benefits, information about what STAO/APSO does and our partnerships are not highlighted
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) are poor and STAO/APSO does not appear prominently in Google searches
  • New content is not prominently showcased
  • Overall look and feel of the website is not comparable to competitor organizations

4. Project Goals

In order to overcome the current limitations associated with STAO’s online presence, this project will accomplish the following:

  • Consolidate all of STAO’s current websites into one website (STAO.ca, STAOConnex, STAO Blog);
  • Provide users with the ability to easily search the website and find all resources relevant to their search terms, including expanding/contracting results by educationally-relevant curriculum filters;
  • Continue to offer paid services, including: membership, purchase of resources, registration for conferences and other events to generate revenue for STAO;
  • Provide a seamless bilingual experience for French users, including access to more STAO resources and a separation of resources into public and members only sections (currently all French resources are publicly accessible);
  • Provide users with information on upcoming events from both STAO and partner organizations;
  • The website has a fully responsible web design so the website appears correctly on any type of device used to access it;
  • Allow for easier posting of materials so that a select group of STAO staff and volunteers are able to make simple additions or deletions to the website;
  • Allow for simultaneous cross-posting of website additions to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.;
  • Automatically add those who purchase new memberships to the STAONews mailserv list;
  • Clearly show potential members the benefits of purchasing a STAO membership in order to increase revenue for STAO;
  • Allow for the integration of more advanced media and e-learning opportunities to allow STAO to accomplish its strategic goal of continuing to explore and develop professional development delivery models;
  • Highlight STAO’s current partnerships and make it easier for outside groups to consider partnership opportunities with STAO;
  • Provide easy access to website usage statistics which will allow for more informed decision-making processes to occur;
  • Improve Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) so that STAO results appear more prominently on Google searches and drive potential users to the website;
  • Incorporate interactive elements to encourage participation of website users, potentially to include: commenting, forums, Q&A sections, group discussions, etc.;
  • Highlight new content related to science education that STAO can act as an expert on, for example: everything to do with entering/running/judging a science fair, jobs for science teachers, including how to apply to the Boards, and non-traditional science teacher jobs (Example: the ROM, Science Centre, Science North, Scientists In School, etc.), how to write a science teacher resume, etc.;
  • Act as a platform to raise the profile of science education in Ontario;
  • Develop a smooth transition plan to transition website services from STAO's current webmaster to a new webmaster and to facilitate the working relationship between the current webmaster and the web site developers during the transitional period;
  • Dedicate a section of the website to acknowledging the contributions of STAO volunteers and to highlight volunteer openings within the association;
  • Add an events section that highlights upcoming STAO events and events of outside organizations;
  • Incorporate any additional recommendations collected as a result of member and non-member surveys;
  • Ensure that all resources found on the website are aligned with the current Ontario Ministry of Education curriculum documents;
  • Ensure that STAO fully complies with all AODA requirements; and
  • Ensure that STAO fully complies with all PIPEDA requirements.

5. Proposed Sitemap

STAO/APSO understands the importance of user experience and the overall sitemap. As such, we would like to work through this particular task with our chosen web developer team to ensure that someone with greater expertise is guiding the final outcomes. This will be a crucial step in the process which will take place shortly after the hiring process is completed. STAO/APSO will be undertaking a survey of members in an attempt to better understand member needs prior to the chosen web developer being hired.

6. Scope of Work

STAO/APSO recognizes that developing a website can involve a number of factors. To the best of our ability we have attempted to break down the scope of the work required for the website redesign:

  • Project management
  • Content strategy
  • Information design
  • Search engine optimization/Search engine marketing
  • Back-end coding (CMS, 3rd party APIs)
  • Mobile device optimization
  • Testing & quality assurance
  • Set-up of analytics software
  • Software training

Once a website developer has been chosen, they will work with STAO/APSO to create a detailed timeline and task list to ensure successful management of the project.

7. Technical Requirements

Additional specific technical requirements may be identified during initial meetings with the selected website developer. To the best of STAO/APSO’s ability, the following technical requirements have been identified:

  • E-commerce
    • The STAO/APSO Science Store which sells numerous STAO/APSO-developed resources as well as other items that may be of interest to science educators
    • Membership access which can be purchased by individuals, schools, school boards or customized to suit the needs of the individual or organization and allow access to separate parts of the website
    • Conference registration
  • Content management software
    • We are open to a new type of Content Management System (CMS) that suits our needs, providing the designer will include some type of training prior to the public launch of the website
  • Web hosting
    • We currently are hosted by BlackSun but are open to new providers
  • Integrations
    • We would like to integrate subscription to our MailChimp member newsletter into the user sign-up process
    • We would also like to include the ability to automatically post to our twitter/Facebook/Instagram accounts when new content is ready for sharing
    • There may be additional integrations required that will need to be discussed with our Administrative Assistant and STAOStore manager based on their knowledge of the respective membership and store systems
  • User accounts
    • Users fall into a number of different categories (e.g. Individual, School, School Board memberships)
    • During sign-up, we would like to ensure that we collect relevant information about our users that allows us to better track our data and make more informed decisions
    • There should be a feature which automatically deletes users’ data after they have stopped being a member for a period of two years (PIPEDA requirements and STAO/APSO policy)
    • Some of the content on the website is hidden to those who have not purchased membership. Ideally we would like this information to appear to show potential members what they might be missing out on by not being a paid member
  • Accessibility
    • AODA is very important to us, so ensuring that our new website developer can inform us on best practices in this area is incredibly important
  • Mobile responsive design
    • Ensuring our website is equally accessible from a mobile device as from a computer is a priority
  • Language requirements
    • The website will need to be available in both English and French. There will not be content available for each corresponding French page and so a message to appear on these pages will need to be created.

8. Budget

STAO/APSO has a maximum budget of $30,000 for this project. This is a maximum budget and, as a non-profit, we wish to spend less than this if at all possible.

9. Project Timeline

In March 2020, STAO/APSO will be hosting its annual conference. This is a big change for STAO/APSO, as conference has been held in November for many years. We would like to add to the excitement and the promise of changes within the organization by launching the new website in time for conference registration to open in November 2019. All functionalities of the website must be ready and fully operable at this time so that there are no mistakes happening during the online conference registration process. A rough timeline is as follows:

RFP posted

April 3, 2019

Submit any Questions about the RFP or Indicate Your Interest in Receiving Responses to Questions from all Potential Vendors

April 15, 2019

Responses to Questions to be Sent to all Potential Vendors Expressing Interest

April 18, 2019

RFP closes

April 29, 2019

In-person Interviews of Potential Candidates in Toronto

May 1 - 12, 2019

Selection of a Website Developer

May 10, 2019

Survey of Membership and Select School Boards to Help Identify User Needs closes

May 10, 2019

Site Flowchart Draft

June 15, 2019

Approval of Website Design Mock-up

July 1, 2019

Initial Website Content Prepared

September 1, 2019

Completion of the development of the website and testing of the new website begins

October 31, 2019

Testing of the Website Completed

November 2019

Official Launch of the Website

November 30, 2019

10. Format & Proposal Details

If you are interested in participating in the RFP process and would like to ask further questions regarding the RFP or the process, please send any questions to Amy_Gorecki@STAO.org by 9am on Monday, April 15, 2019. Answers to all questions received will be sent out to interested parties on Thursday April 18, 2019 by 7pm. Interviews will be scheduled in the Toronto area from May 1 -12, 2019 (including weekends) at a mutually agreed upon time for the selected organizations. A decision will be made and shared with all applicants the week of May 13-17, 2019.

To submit an RFP response, please email a PDF document to Amy_Gorecki@STAO.org by 11:59pm on Monday, April 29, 2019. Please do not submit hard copies of your proposal. Please include the following information in your response:

  • Names, titles, biographies of principal contacts during the design process
  • Further information about additional team members and any subcontractors used during the process, as applicable
  • Information about your organization - what do you value most in delivering work to your clients? What makes you stand out from the others?
  • A detailed budget for the work proposed with descriptions of the work involved in each line item
  • A detailed timetable for the work proposed, including key check-in points with the STAO team as well as the types of communication that can be expected
  • A description of the content management system to be used by STAO/APSO volunteers, as well as a description of the type of training and reference guide to be provided
  • Examples of similar work completed by your organization as well as contact information for a minimum of three references (name, organization, email and phone numbers)
  • Any additional information that may be helpful to the STAO/APSO team in making an informed decision as to your candidacy
  • An indication of how long the chosen developer will be available to support any post-launch issues
  • An indication of whether or not continued website support is being proposed following the launch of the website, as well as the costs of continuing support.

Please note: All price quotations and proposal responses must be guaranteed for 120 days following the specified RFP submission due date. Please ensure that all responses are fully complete and address each of the above areas fully in the order presented above. All correspondence should be directed by email to Amy Gorecki at the email address provided above. Please refrain from contact with any other STAO volunteers regarding this RFP.

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