The Olmsted Parks Conservancy (OPC) makes Olmsted-designed parks and parkways even better by preserving and safeguarding them. They bring nature and the community closer together and promote the well-being of residents. With the parks system growing, public interest rising, and substantial investment in new offerings, OPC needed their website to align with their goals, stay true to their values, and support their vision.
We set out to create a website that would prioritize the community, promote sustainability, and center accessibility. Our goal was to build a dynamic online platform that could serve as a hub for events, activities, and volunteer opportunities. We wanted to create a space where all park users could come to get informed and stay engaged.
"Radish Lab’s strategy enabled us to grow from simply showcasing our identity to engaging park users online. The team analyzed data about park users and built an inclusive, focused user experience that will inspire support for our Olmsted Park System."
We aimed to create a user-friendly map that provides park users with both an overview of the entire parks system as well as specific details. Users can easily see how many parks are available and their general locations. They can also drill down and get ultra-specific: Where’s the bathroom? Am I headed to the right baseball field?
Working from the users’ perspective, we mapped out user features first: Asking, “What data do park users need, and in what form do they need it?” The answers to this would guide the map’s technical build. Ultimately, we designed a wayfinding system to help a casual user, or someone in a specific time of need.
Working to balance the history of the parks, their conservation efforts, and the daily needs of the community’s park visitors was a critical consideration. Through workshops and discussions, we decided to touch on each of these parts of their mission, while leaning into a people-focused approach.
This decision meant that, as compared to before, users can now jump immediately into exploring and interacting with the parks, identifying routes, news, and events. Content focused on conservation work or the history of Frederick Law Olmsted (who also designed Central Park in New York) is still there, but it’s more strategically placed on park detail pages.
We wanted the look and feel of the website to mirror the look and feel of a park, across the seasons. We elevated lively, natural tones inspired by the environment and we featured OPC’s photography. The colors provide a cohesive look and feel, forming part of a design system that can handle a lot of content: events, volunteer information, a store, donations, and more. We even designed the menu to pre-set specific colors for each content type.
As part of refreshing the look and feel of the website to make it cleaner and more modern, we performed an accessibility audit. Accessibility is always a priority for us, and we design to WCAG A+AA standards. It was also front and center for OPC.
We wanted to ensure that the website met the highest standards for OPC’s park users who are blind and visually impaired. We paid extra attention to color contrast and font size. We designed a broad color palette with high contrast, and we reduced the number of rogue colors and inaccessible color combinations.
From exploring the map on the homepage, to a one stop for all of a specific park’s details, we wanted to design the website in a way that helps users go deeper. Now, when a park user comes to the website, they can engage by: learning more, becoming a volunteer, joining an event, or perhaps even by becoming a supporter.