Taken a trip over to RTP.org lately? If it’s been a while, expect a surprise. The virtual home of the Research Triangle Park recently went through some high-tech redecorating, and the new website is all about y-o-u.
No really. Tweet @theRTP and if your content’s relevant—or too fun or cool to pass up—your 140 characters might just show up on the homepage. The same goes for your Instagram, Google+ post or YouTube video.
The goal is all about showcasing the places, people, successes and synergies that make North Carolina uniquely ours. Users can still find a map of RTP, a directory of the 190 companies and a listing of what trucks will be at this week’s Food Truck Rodeo, but they’ll also be able to show themselves interacting with those regulars too.
The update is meant to better reflect the forward-facing goals of the Research Triangle Park: to be a convener, connector and collaborator of all the people across North Carolina. It’s a challenging feat, but through technology it’s one that the team at the Research Triangle Foundation, the not for profit that manages RTP, hopes to accomplish through the new virtual portal.
It’s meant to be easy. Folks don’t have sign in, remember a password or create a user name. Just remember our site, a couple of hashtags and viola, your good news or great find is there for over 50,000 eyeballs to see.
Yes, over 50,000 pageviews is how many the former website saw in a single month.
When designing the new site with Raleigh-based Atlantic BT, analytics played a huge factor in layout and design. People come to RTP.org for three main things: jobs, companies and food truck rodeos. Users will notice some changes in how they find and navigate all of these items, but the updates will hopefully be seen as a change for the better. As an example, area companies are being encouraged to use the hashtag #RTPjobs when posting available positions in the area. When job seekers go to RTP.org, they are now able to sort the homepage and see recent postings by employers. Staff is currently doing personal outreach education with companies and job organizations (like American Underground; see the recent talk by RTP's Anna Penner below) to let them know about the feature. (As for the RTP Company Directory? It lives at the bottom of every page in the navigation. No fancy makeover there, just ease of access.)
As with any new website, there will surely be speed bumps. This is technological experiment, so there will definitely be things to learn, fix and modify. The RTP team has strapped on their helmets and is ready for the ride. Come along, Tweet, and join in the fun.