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Consultants Share Opinions on How to Improve PRORAGIS

2014-02-01, Department, by Daina Ajayi

How can we further enrich our user experience to expand the collective impact of PRORAGIS™? NRPA sought answers to these questions and others at a meeting held in early January. Industry consultants recognized for their expertise in the fields of design and planning were invited to meet with NRPA to discuss increasing user engagement to generate a national dataset, improving the functionality of PRORAGIS and expanding the developing database’s impact. 

Representatives included Larry Orman (GreenInfo Network), Barbara Heller (Heller and Heller Consulting), Jana McKenzie (Logan Simpson Design), Leon Younger and Neelay Bhatt (PROS Consulting), Chris Dropinski (GreenPlay LLC), Ryan Mottau (MIG Inc.), Jim Carrillo (Halff Associates Inc.), Greg Manns (Industry Insights), Brie Hensold (Sasaki), Ron Vine (Leisure Vision) and David Barth (David L. Barth LLC). Prior to the meeting, each attendee was invited to evaluate PRORAGIS, NRPA’s online database that collects, compiles and reports on park and recreation department operating and geographic information.

Barbara Tulipane, NRPA’s president and CEO, addressed the group, emphasizing the importance of outside input on increasing user engagement and expanding the database’s impact. Tulipane stated that the input gathered from the advisory meeting would be used to refine PRORAGIS. NRPA introduced four current projects to the attendees and solicited expert advice on how these projects could be used to benefit the department’s three main objectives. Current projects include: 

  • Survey revision: One streamlined survey requiring less than two hours to complete, supported by less frequent, targeted surveys
  • Improved GIS functionality: Improved Census-layer selection usability with the addition of measurement and search functionality
  • Increased graphical reporting outputs: Increased graphical outputs to improve understanding and user experience
  • Expanded Eco-Benefit calculator suite: New calculator tools to showcase the benefits of parks to communities and developing partnerships to leverage existing tools

Consultants were asked to identify strategies for each of the meeting’s three key points. 

User Engagement: Participants were asked to identify how NRPA can increase agency participation, strengthen its “value proposition,” add missed data and use changes to the interface to drive engagement, in addition to defining its critical mass and definition of success. Attendees shared opinions on these topics and pointed directly to survey revision, increasing ease of use and providing better examples of how PRORAGIS can apply to specific situations as likely drivers of future success. 

Improving the functionality of PRORAGIS: Consultants advised that NRPA should focus on simplifying what PRORAGIS does well to improve the functionality and use of PRORAGIS. An efficient database will assist agencies in accessing the information that is needed to help run their agencies more effectively. Consultants also supported the development efforts for the Eco-Benefit Calculator tools.

Expanding the impact of PRORAGIS: Discussions for expanding the impact of PRORAGIS focused on understanding the collective impact of a national dataset, and effectively using the data obtained to advance the interests of our members as well as parks and recreation in general. The panel of experts advised that collaborating with other groups to gain additional parks’ operating and GIS data will assist in building the dataset in a cost-effective manner, and advised that future cooperation with interested stakeholders could help drive PRORAGIS success and benefit the industry as a whole 

At the conclusion of the meeting, consultant input identified areas that NRPA can pursue to achieve the association’s goals. This valuable input will assist NRPA in its efforts to generate a national dataset that will benefit the park and recreation industry. 

NRPA is continuously seeking feedback on how PRORAGIS can improve and better serve the park and recreation professional. Do you have an idea, or an experience that can help NRPA evaluate the current system or plan for future improvements? If so, please take the time to share your thoughts with us by email. We look forward to receiving your feedback!

Daina Ajayi is NRPA’s Research Specialist.

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