RFP6-14

Redesign of the Super-Efficient Equipment and Appliance Deployment Initiative Website

Introduction

CLASP is an international non-profit organization whose mission is to improve the environmental and energy performance of the appliances and related systems we use every day, lessening their impacts on people and the world around us. CLASP develops and shares transformative policy and market solutions in collaboration with global experts and local stakeholders.

Since 1999, CLASP has worked in over 50 countries on 6 continents pursuing every aspect of appliance energy efficiency, from helping structure new policies to evaluating existing programs. CLASP serves as the Operating Agent for the Super-efficient Equipment and Appliance Deployment (SEAD) Initiative of the Clean Energy Ministerial, a voluntary international government collaboration whose primary objective is to advance global market transformation for energy efficient products.

Appliance and equipment efficiency has enormous potential to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions while lowering energy costs for consumers, businesses, and institutions. The SEAD Initiative – with CLASP’s support – is making it easier for governments and the private sector to capitalize on this opportunity.

CLASP seeks to contract a qualified Consultant (organization) to overhaul SEAD’s existing web property, www.superefficient.org.

Background

The SEAD Initiative engages governments and the private sector to accelerate market transformation to energy efficient equipment and appliances. SEAD facilitates international collaboration (e.g. sharing of technical information and program design insights) by providing the knowledge and tools that can help impact policy change and by highlighting the benefits and urgency of implementing energy-efficient equipment and appliance policies. SEAD also supports global market transformation efforts by increasing awareness among manufacturers and retailers of the value of producing and stocking super-efficient products. Measures taken by SEAD partners since its launch in 2010 could save over 700 terawatt-hours of electricity per year by 2030, as much electricity as is produced by over 200 mid-sized coal-fired power plants.

As the SEAD Operating Agent, CLASP provides strategic advice to SEAD leaders and coordinates and facilitates programmatic Working Groups, whose activities include procurement, technical analysis, standards and labeling, awards, and incentives.

The SEAD website, managed and maintained by CLASP, serves as a central hub of information on all SEAD program activities. Redevelopment of the website is one component of a broader communications strategy aimed at increasing the effectiveness and impact of the SEAD Initiative by strengthening the commitment and participation level of all stakeholders, including participating governments, technical experts, members of industry, and others.

The SEAD website’s present format and information architecture was created in the Initiative’s nascence, and no longer fully meets the needs of participating governments (i.e. the Initiative’s key stakeholders), funders, or other tertiary audiences. It can be difficult for key audiences to navigate the site or find specific content, and the site does not adequately reflect expanded activities undertaken over the past several years. The following characteristics contribute to this circumstance:

  1. the search function is inadequate;
  2. there are more types of content (e.g. product information, policy updates, programmatic activities, technical reports, presentations, etc.) than there are ways to present this content;
  3. while multiple user-types visit the website for a variety of purposes, there is only one primary way to access the site’s information;
  4. site navigation does not reflect the full range of content that has been added over the past several years;
  5. there are numerous cross-relationships between different activities, products, and regions that are not being effectively exploited for navigational purposes;
  6. some webpage templates are too rigid, preventing primary and/or secondary content from being arranged as desired; and
  7. the website is difficult to maintain.

Scope of Work

A redesigned SEAD website will provide a more stream-lined and effective user experience by enabling primary, secondary, and tertiary audiences to interact with the site – and access information and resources – according to their different wants and needs.

The Consultant will be responsible for the total redevelopment of www.superefficient.org, including designing and implementing a new information architecture and implementing a complete visual overhaul. All website content will either be migrated from the current site or created by CLASP staff and other SEAD contributors.

Some visual elements of the SEAD Initiative’s branding guidelines will need to be incorporated, and visual design of the website should complement mandatory brand components of the Initiative’s organizing bodies, the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) and the International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation (IPEEC).

SEAD is a partnership-based initiative whose membership includes technical agencies and policymakers from governments around the world, and whose purpose is to increase the deployment of new technologies to increase the overall energy efficiency of the global economy. As such, both the visual design of the website and the user experience should reflect three core principles: efficiency, high-tech, and collaboration.

Collaboration is an especially important principle for consideration. Both the individual contributions of participating governments, and the collective action that SEAD enables, are essential to the Initiative’s success. The visual and functional design of superefficient.org should reflect this idea: that SEAD is effective both because of individual constituent elements and the sum of the parts.

See section below (“Information for Potential Applicants”) for a detailed listing of functionality requirements as well as information on available hardware platforms and other technical specifications.

Reporting and Deliverables

The Consultant will be required to provide a number of outputs over the course of the period of design and redevelopment of www.superefficient.org, including but not limited to:

  • Complete a “discovery” or kick-off phase with relevant stakeholders (to be identified by CLASP) to develop a comprehensive set of functional requirements based on existing and additional user research;
  • Produce a thorough, intuitive information architecture structure that lays the groundwork for visual design and front-end/back-end development through detailed user-flows, sitemaps, and wireframes;
  • Produce 3 to 5 visual design concept options for CLASP/SEAD to review;
  • Develop front-end and back-end code that successfully executes on the approved visual design and information architecture;
  • Execute quality assurance testing and user testing prior to launch, including cross-browser testing; and
  • Effectively collaborate with the CLASP team and CLASP-identified representatives of the SEAD Initiative.

Timeline

The project is expected to commence in July 2014 and to be concluded by December 2014.

Information for Potential Applicants

The right project team will come from an innovative and strategic website development company or organization with extensive experience with implementing information architecture solutions and web design. The firm will ideally have:

  • Experience working with the non-profit and/or energy sectors;
  • A history of designing complicated information architecture arrangements to maximize web user experience;
  • Experience working internationally or with international and/or multicultural organizations;
  • A collaborative work approach.

Functionality

A successful bid must include the following. Any proposal that omits these components will not be entertained.

  • Redesign of information architecture to permit easier access by different audiences to information on program activities; product profiles; and reports, tools, and other resources.
  • Overhaul of visual design, including but not limited to implementation of new branding and development of complimentary design elements.
  • Upgrade to, or build in, Sitecore 7.1 (or latest stable/recommended version at the time of upgrade).
  • Ability to easily maintain and update content, and to change site structure according to any programmatic or strategic shifts.

The following components of the current SEAD website shall be retained or improved:

  • “Ask an Expert” tool.
  • Newsletter subscription form.
  • Calendar.

A mobile-compatible version is desirable for the new SEAD website, but is not essential to submitted proposals. This may be handled as separate initiative at a later date.

The new SEAD website shall also be compliant with section 508 of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Platform

CLASP is dedicated to the reduction of carbon emissions in all technology decisions. Solutions that have a demonstrable impact on reducing CLASP’s carbon footprint may be given favorable consideration. The current website is built on the Sitecore platform and running version 6.3.1 (rev. 110112). It is hosted on a server with an Intel Xeon X3450 2.66 GHz quad-core 8 thread processor, 8GB of DDR3 RAM and 250GB 7200 hard drives in a RAID 1 array. The server is running Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard and SQL Server 2008 Standard R2 32/64bit.

SEAD’s current website maintenance provider has exclusive control over the code of the SEAD website. Cooperative work with this other vendor will be required should any of the existing code or content be transferred to the new website.

The new SEAD website shall continue to utilize the Sitecore content management system, so that CLASP staff members and other website contributors may make content edits without needing prior knowledge of, or training in, HTML, JavaScript or CSS.

The new SEAD website must provide maximum data portability.

Submittal

Companies and organizations that wish to bid on this project must first register as a CLASP Implementing Partner. Registration is easy, and must be completed via the CLASP website before final submittal.

Interested parties should submit a proposal with the following elements:

  • Articulation of the Consultant’s proposed web development process and methods for addressing functionality requirements;
  • Proposed timeline for completion, including discovery, design, development, content migration, and beta testing;
  • Proposed budget;
  • Company or organizational profile and proposed project team;
  • Examples of past work.

If necessary for the selection process, CLASP may request additional information from any applicant.

Proposals should be submitted via the CLASP website using the “Submit Bid” button above and filling out all the requested information. The file should be named as per the following example:  “Contractor Name: RFP6-14”

The deadline for submission is July 11, 2014. Proposals submitted directly to anyone at CLASP will not be accepted.

All questions may be addressed to Robert Johnson at rjohnson@clasponline.org. The last date for submission of questions related to this RFP is July 7, 2014. We request all inquiries be made by e-mail and not by phone.

Summary of Bids and Decisions

In keeping with CLASP's commitment to a fair and transparent evaluation of all bids, following is a summary of the bids received under RFP# 6-14, “Redesign of the Super-Efficient Equipment and Appliance Deployment Initiative Website,” as well as the basic rationale for the final selection.

This was a competitive solicitation, and technical and financial proposals were received from four organizations. While three bidders submitted strong proposals and were considered viable candidates for successful implementation of the project, the submission from Little Unicorns was considered superior due primarily to its deep grasp of SEAD’s organizational identity, the Initiative's programmatic objectives, and the relationship between SEAD's communications goals and programmatic objectives. Little Unicorns' proposal also went furthest in explaining how web design best-practices could be applied specifically to superefficient.org in order to help meet SEAD’s goals.

Proposals were evaluated by a five-person review team according to pre-defined criteria regarding the proposed approach, methodology, and project execution plan, extent of experience in developing complex information architecture and with web design, and cost projections in accordance with the RFP.

Proposals were scored based on a Quality and Cost Based System (QCBS) totaling 100 points, with 70 points allocated to the technical proposal evaluation and 30 points allocated to the financial proposal evaluation.

Final scores for the top two proposals are provided in the table below:

Organization

Total Score

Little Unicorns

78

agencyQ

71