Last month we launched the new discussion forums at the Neighborhood Parents Network (NPN). For years the organization’s 6,000 members (our COO Mark Rickmeier among them) have used the forums to discuss everything from childcare tips to the best schools to buying and selling used cribs. But despite the fact that the forums garnered more than 500,000 page views per month, there were two major issues: they were hard to use and difficult to enhance. That’s where we came in.
For the last several months we worked closely with NPN to develop the best features for the new site, while maintaining the look and feel users know and love. One of the challenges we faced was rebuilding the forums without disrupting the user experience, so our team instituted a frequent feedback loop with a core group of NPN members, who really helped shape the new site.
Among other improvements, the new forums feature:
- Mobile accessibility
- Improved navigation and user experience
- Filtered search and better content filtering
- Social groups
We’ve helped NPN gain efficiencies behind the scenes, too. New, cleaner code allows servers to run more efficiently, saving NPN money on hosting. A series of alerts lets NPN stay ahead of any site-related issues, instead of having to rely on user feedback to identify them, like they had to in the past.
NPN’s Executive Director Sarah Cobb says that feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. “The forums are just more fun to use. People are way more engaged.”
Sarah had some good words for us, too. “It was great working with the team. Table XI really dug in and understood what we’re about. Having someone ask thought-provoking questions, help us prioritize what we’re doing, and think outside the box about what we’re trying to accomplish—all those things added a lot of value for us.”
For our part, we love our partnership with NPN, and we purposely integrated a platform that would give us scalability options for future work, like an improved school directory and a robust Classifieds section that will operate like a “trusted Craig’s List without the scary factor,” Sarah says. “It’s all about parent-to-parent, reliable information, but it’s somewhat anonymous so people can share really thoughtful, personal, outspoken advice and information within the ‘gated community.’ It’s this little trusted neighborhood where you can really talk about anything.”
We couldn’t be happier to be a part of it.