Website Design RFP Issued By Non-Profit Lighting

The DesignLights Consortium (DLC®) is a non-profit organization that promotes the use of high-quality, energyefficient lighting and controls products in collaboration with utilities, energy efficiency program members, manufacturers, lighting designers, and federal, state, and local entities. Through these partnerships, the DLC establishes product quality specifications, facilitates thought leadership, and provides information, education, tools and technical expertise.  

The purpose of this RFP is for the DLC to solicit interested and qualified potential website redesign, development and Web Content Management solution Vendors to redesign the DLC website in 2020 to provide a better website user experience for each stakeholder group and easier website maintenance for the DLC.  Website redesign objectives are: 

• Provide a fresh, modern, clean new website design

• Create a more engaging, informative, and educational channel for all audiences to connect with the DLC platforms, programs, and activities.

This  may include video or animations or the means to host video or animations on the website

• Design intuitive navigation to relevant content for each audience’s needs so that they spend less time trying to find information 

• Simplify the way that content is displayed so that it is easy to understand and clearly conveys value

• Enable nimble content management by providing ready-made templates that can be easily modified by internal DLC staff

• Provide design that is optimized to be viewed on any computer or mobile device

• Create a framework that can integrate new tools in the future, such as dashboards to display QPL statistics and data visualization for website users, a tutorial platform for educating these users, and additional feedback channels for them to interact with the DLC The DLC encourages respondents to submit proposals for design and development services that meet the above criteria as well as suggestions for additional enhancements that meet the DLC objectives for communication with our varied audiences.   

Background:

The DLC mission is to achieve energy optimization by enabling interconnected solutions with a focus on quality for people and the environment. The DLC drives efficient lighting by defining quality, differentiating products and delivering tools and resources to the lighting market through open dialogue and collaboration.

1.2 DLC Technology Platforms Solid-State Lighting Program The DLC Solid State Lighting (SSL) Qualified Products List (QPL) is our core program and the leading public resource for high quality, efficient LED products for the commercial sector. The QPL currently lists nearly 600,000 products from more than 2,500 manufacturers in 70+ Primary Use Designations. These qualified products meet strict performance requirements for light output, efficacy, color metrics, and reliability and are referenced by hundreds of rebate and procurement programs throughout the US and Canada. Making these requirements and their implications easy for our member utilities, lighting manufacturers, and other stakeholders to locate and understand is paramount. Additionally, with over 500 product applications received each month, highly technical application instructions must be accessible and clear for manufacturers of LED lighting products who want to design qualified products and get their products listed.   

Networked Lighting Controls Program The DLC’s Networked Lighting Controls (NLC) Technical Requirements are based on control system capabilities and have a separate searchable, filterable QPL of control systems that meet these specifications.  Additionally, the program contain a set of supporting information, including research that helps validate energy savings, case studies, and training programs to enable widespread adoption of networked lighting controls in commercial buildings. The NLC requirements and QPL are quite different from SSL QPL requirements and the NLC section of the website must be easily differentiated for NLC QPL users, utility programs, and the controls manufacturers submitting applications for listing.  Horticultural Lighting Program The DLC’s Horticultural Lighting Program is the most recent addition to the DLC portfolio of programs. It includes a separate set of Technical Requirements specific to products designed to support controlled environment agriculture (CEA). The program includes its own QPL for Horticultural Lighting (Hort). The program currently includes Technical Requirements and supplemental guides that provide definitions and application guidance for the rapidly evolving horticultural lighting sector. This may expand to serve as a central resource for energy efficiency information on horticultural lightinge as the emerging science advances.  Horticultural products are evaluated using a different set of metrics than traditional LEDs and the QPL has a very different audience of utility end-use customers (growers) and manufacturers in addition to utilities and policy makers, so this section must also be easily accessed and differentiated from the other two technology sections.  Future Technology Areas The DLC is continually evolving as an organization. Therefore, our website must have the capability to be extremely dynamic and allow internal staff to manage content and add large content sections without having to engage a developer each time a change or expansion is needed.  

• Periodically updating Technical Requirements for QPL listing through a collaborative stakeholder input process to meet the needs of utility members and lighting manufacturers; 

• Ensuring that efficacy does not come at the expense of lighting performance by continually updating the Technical Requirements and information displayed on QPLs and by providing educational resources to our members and the lighting industry;  

• Expanding product categories or program areas to facilitate new product applications for different types of lighting; 

• Phasing out lower-performing and outdated products; 

• Encouraging innovation and identifying market leaders by offering Premium tier QPL listings; and

• Performing and publishing research studies and distributing the results through our various channels.

All of these activities involve the engagement of a variety of stakeholders to communicate proposals of highly technical changes, gather feedback through a formal, iterative stakeholder input process, and communicate the new requirements, resources, and tools to all of these audiences.  The website plays a critical role in providing the landing space for access to all of this information. 

Scope of Work:

Vendor shall, in a timely and responsive manner, provide website design and development services to redesign the existing DLC website with an emphasis on website user engagement, clean design, and intuitive navigation to provide easier access to relevant content packaged for specific audiences. This work will not include changes to the functionality of QPLs or AMS, but will include refreshing any page background design and integration of these items with the overall design. Expected timing for launch of the new website is between six and nine months from award of contract.  While the information in this section of the RFP is being provided to assist potential bidders, bidders are requested to propose their approach to meeting the project objectives, including their recommendations with respect to appropriate user research, design, development tasks and milestones, the schedule, budget, and possibly modified or additional tasks, given the project objectives. The DLC reserves the right to alter the Work Scope and Deliverables based on discussions with the Vendor.  

2.1 Task 1: Planning and Website User Story/Profile Development The redesign of the DLC website is focused on creating specific experiences for the different stakeholder groups noted in section 1.3 above, and UX/UI will play a significant role in this project. Utilizing stakeholder research surveys conducted by the DLC and market research and user profiles created for DLC by Cadmus Group, the Vendor shall define and confirm the needs of each audience and establish design goals for each group.  Other planning activities include a review of current website content areas, structure and organization, content management system (CMS) platform recommendations, hosting considerations, documentation of page design and template needs, etc. 

2.2 Task 2: Website Redesign

The DLC requires a design for the website that is intuitive, clean, clear, and engaging, and that supports the efforts and mission of the organization. The home page needs a modern look and easy-to-navigate redesign.  This design should provide clear direction to find content based on each website user group’s needs without losing sight of the primary needs of website users: finding listed products, getting a product listed, or finding supporting resources. The value proposition for each user group needs to be clear immediately when opening the home page and the intuitive next step to finding information must be provided.   The content structure should be organized so that website users spend minimal time finding the information they need and more time reading or downloading materials. New page templates that simplify content management for in-house staff and require little (if any) development but allow modification are critical. The website structure must be redesigned to provide more intuitive navigation, with information organized by website user/audience, and content developed to address these needs.   Additional features or tools that immediately engage website users, identify their information needs, and guide them to the specific content they are seeking may be integrated as sub-projects.  Member Portal (a passwordprotected portal for DLC utility members) updates that engage subscribing DLC members and provide access to tools and dashboards will also need to be integrated into the website structure.  The site search tool should be as easy to use as a Google search. News items need to be targeted, accessible to website users, and easily navigated but less cluttered. Ideally, relevant news items and other targeted content should appear dynamically based on website user type. 

Vendor should provide options for how user identification could happen.  Website Users utilize a wide variety of devices, including computers, tablets, and mobile smartphones. The new DLC  website should automatically detect the screen resolution of any device and respond with a view of the site that is optimized specifically for that screen.

The Vendor should ensure that all users will be able to view the DLC website, no matter what device they are using. In addition, the WCMS solution should be able to preview the mobile view across different devices and should allow the ability to design and customize a better user experience for mobile website users by allowing DLC Business users to move, hide, and reorder content to create an optimized mobile view of our website.    UX testing should be performed for all design elements.  In addition to the existing content areas listed in the sitemap provided in section X.x, the new design needs to include the following:

• New modern home page 

• Clean and focused design

• Optimized with SEO best practices

• Intuitive navigation with a clear path to the QPLs, Technical Requirements, policy development timelines, Member Portal, and application submission instructions.  This same design (look and feel) will be applied to the QPLs and Application Management system as well. 

• New website search tool (separate from the QPL search tools) that calls out any relevant documents or content on the website aside from the products info. 

• Content structure organization

• Page templates in CMS that can be managed/customized by DLC internal staff

• User engagement tools to recognize users and provide page suggestions, webinars, other engagements

• News item redesign/organization (dynamic) 

• All applicable content imported from the current site

• An internal location and mechanism for the blog that is available to website users, searchable, and easily updated

• Social media integration (share buttons, follow buttons, etc.) 

• Graphic design templates for each page type

• Set of icons for each program area (DLC will approve an icon library as part of the overarching design)

• Text and heading styles defined 

• Responsive and customizable mobile view: automatically detect the screen resolution of any device and respond with a view of the site that is optimized specifically for that screen

Due Date:

May 22

Address:

Stephen White Chief Operating Officer swhite@designlights.organd Liesel Whitney-Schulte Director of Programs (DLC) lschulte@designlights.org 

Agencies with strong relevant experience includes Zeno Group and W2O Group.