Website RFP: Design, Development, and Testing

107 Commonwealth of Learning color logo 3C98Bx


The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) requests proposals from qualified agencies or organisations interested in providing the services described within. This document outlines the information necessary to understand the requirements and selection process.


COL, as an intergovernmental organisation, maintains close links with a diverse range of stakeholders that include Member States of the Commonwealth, development partners, institutions, organisations, the private sector and civil society. COL’s website is a key platform for keeping its stakeholders engaged and enabling them to benefit from COL’s expertise and resources as well as expanding its reach and visibility as a thought leader in Open and Distance Learning, Open Educational Resources and Technology Enabled Learning. COL’s work is grounded in the conviction that learning is fundamental to achieving sustainable development. See About Us for more details. The website will serve to be the foremost source of information on all aspects of online and distance learning and reflect COL’s organisational culture which is respectful, ethical and fair. COL’s strategic goals are:

• Quality education and lifelong learning for all

• Skills development for sustainable livelihoods

• Gender Equality and inclusion.

The existing website was developed over five years ago using Drupal and aligned with organisational needs at that time. As COL is embarking on the implementation of its new Strategic Plan (2021-2027), there is a requirement to revamp and redesign the existing website in terms of: overall design for a contemporary look and feel; content restructuring to provide effective access to information, resources and services required by its various user constituents/stakeholders via intelligent semantic search and intent-focus navigation (that is, the user will be able to easily access the intended resource directly without much navigation); and using innovative technology to meet COL’s requirement on accessibility. In 2020, about 220,000 users visited the current website through the use of both mobile devices and computers.

Scope of Work:

The scope of work will be as follows: Work on the site will begin as soon as possible with a website launch date planned for October 1, 2021 . Some features of interest for inclusion are:

• Recommendation for a suitable content management system

• Uses a mobile-friendly and responsive platform that is accessible and easy to use

• A simplified navigation system

• A flexible homepage that helps to send visitors to the right place and provides greater flexibility for modifications when needed

• Aligns with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (see Table below)

• Accommodates low-bandwidth environments

• Allows seamless integration with mobile devices, apps, blogs, social media tools and video

• Provides state of the art security and encryption features, including secure channel for contacting COL for enquiries, job applications, feedback, etc.

• Version control system for development/staging and live sites

• Enables smooth and dependable interplay with internal websites , portals and journal, e.g. COLVEE, OAsis, OpenDoor, CommonwealthWiseWomen, JL4D etc. as well as external websites

• Utilises and aligns with web analytical tools (COL is using Google Analytics currently).

• Interface with systems such as ‘ConstantContact’ for eNewsletters (Connections)

• Ability to provide support for up to 36 months post-deployment may be desirable

• Site branding with themes aligned with COL’s branding and priority areas

• A smart search engine that is user friendly, scalable and functional

• Simplification of presentation of site content

• Provide suitable online tools to assist COL in migrating the content

• Secure system for development and live site usage

• Testing before deployment of the new website. **This scope is subject to change. COL acknowledges that this may impact the budget as submitted.

Additional Details: Design and Infrastructure Requirements COL’s new website must be robust, intelligent, engaging, and user-friendly, and accessible for Persons With Disabilities (PWD). Search: Search function must address current limitations, specifically difficulties in finding the information users are looking for. A new approach that combines semantic elements with the current trend of deploying open source ‘elastic searches’ can be adopted. As visitor types in search word, suggestions should be shown to direct visitor to discover resources relevant to the keyword being typed by visitor. Accessibility: COL’s new website must comply with the WAG standards referred below. In this project, only visual and hearing disabilities are in the scope. (Any additional experience of the Proposer in this area may be included in the Proposal for information.)

Must Have’s Accessibility Meet the Accessibility requirements specified here:

a. Blind/partially blind reader

b. Deaf/partially deaf reader Considerations:

a. Make website keyboard-friendly

b. All content is easily accessible

c. Do not use tables on anything except tabular data d. Enable resize text that does not break site layout

e. Automatic screen-reader

f. Read out aloud on select pages

g. ‘Alt’ tags on all images and readable

h. Use icons & buttons for easy access Standards Meet accessibility design standards per the link below:

• W3C:

Due Date:

April 30, 2021 at 14:00 hours Pacific Time


Relevant agencies to consider include SSPR and Zeno Group.

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