Recent Features: Park Finder, map embeds, group sidebar menus, and more

News article

Powerful search and display tools are being added in the Portland.gov beta, either live already or coming soon.

Published
In this article

The project sprint just completed yielded many feature and design improvements, a number of which are either included in the beta already, or are so far along in the pipeline that we're ready to preview them for you. 

Park Finder

demo image of park finder
Demo image of Portland.gov Park Finder, partial view.

Portland's Park Finder tool is a rich mine of information about the array of City parks and their amenities, and it is a heavily used tool—as much as 10 percent(!) of the current web traffic on Portlandoregon.gov. Users want to find not only specific parks and how to get to them but also which parks have pools, or off leash dog areas, or basketball courts, for instance. 

The migration of Park Finder to the new site is a large undertaking, but substantial development has been completed and the POWR team is reviewing our work with Parks staff in the coming weeks for a scheduled launch in the near future. In the meantime, we can show you the current look and feel.

Note how each park listing has a "get directions link," and you can narrow your search using the facets on the sidebar to select by City quadrant, amenities, the type of park location, and whether reservations can be requested. Click a facet, and only those parks that qualify under that facet term remain. Click another, to additively narrow your search.  Unclick all your choices to reset. 

Map embeds in body content

image of map embed demo

Along with documents, images, and videos, the ability to embed maps has now been added to the editing experience for pages, news and events. The process is the same as for other embeds, in a variety of formats including an URL embed code acquired from the map provider (PortlandMaps and Google Maps are supported for now), shapefiles in a standard GIS format or even PDF's that contain map images for printing. 

The POWR team is also working on including charts among the media available to embed, which would include content from data visualization providers like Tableau or plotly. The process will be largely the same as for maps, and should be ready by the end of the year.

When we roll out charts as a content type, we will also be providing training to chart creators as many of our existing Tableau visualizations are seldom accessible for users of assistive devices or screen readers and tend to be unusable on mobile devices. We can do better with a few small changes to our collective approach to charts and graphs.

Sidebar page menus

image of sidebar group menu

We recently released our Table of Contents feature, which creates a list of anchors (also known as jump links) to your content based on the use of the H2 header. This allows content pages to become longer and include more information on a given topic. 

One of the features of the old site that editors like and are used to, however, is the sidebar menu of other pages filed within the same category. The implementation in Portland.gov is a bit different; the editor declares one of the pages a  "parent" page, such as we've done with "About Portland.gov."

Then with subsequent related pieces of content, the parent is referenced and a title given to the "child" page. In this example the child pages are the content model, group page customization, and style guide instructions. The end product is akin to a digital handbook, tying content together so the user may move easily from one page to the next without going back to the group home. 

Contact the team if you feel you have content that would fit into this feature and we will set up a pilot for you. The feature is not yet in full release to all editors and admins.

External resource pages

Another new feature allows editors to reference HTML pages found outside Portland.gov, while still maintaining an entry in our search index. For instance, the City collaborates with Multnomah County when it comes to delivering services to the community. At times it may be appropriate to direct users to county services, without forcing them back to the greater internet to look for the link.

To create an external page from within a Bureau/Office or program group, select "Add Content" and choose the External Resource option. Fill in the page title, a brief summary, and the URL of the page you want to link to, and publish!

If you have a program that has its own web domain, such as Prosper Portland, please contact the team so that we can help you set up a program redirect. This will allow your program to continue to appear in your offices and programs list.

Group page contact info

A little less elaborate but no less important, is the addition of full contact info on all group pages. Addresses and phone numbers now appear properly and uniformly formatted, as well as being hyperlinked to allow direct user action: clicking the email link opens your default mail handler; clicking the phone number enables your phone to dial the number; clicking the Twitter handle takes you to the Twitter feed, etc. This is a big improvement in the user experience for those visiting Portland.gov via mobile. 

What's next

We focused on visuals with this update, mostly because we're really excited about things like the updated Park Finder—but plenty of other work continues behind the scenes. We'll be reviewing our progress with stakeholders in Parks, in order to define a launch plan for the coming weeks. Similar planning is also taking place with the Auditor's Office on charter, code and policy migration. 

Other work in progress includes tightening up the search process, formalizing our sitewide design patterns, enhancing our user feedback and support system in collaboration with the 311 Project, and of course plenty of effort directed at helping bureaus migrate content off PortlandOregon.gov. 

As always, whenever you have a question or concern, please contact us at powr@portlandoregon.gov, and we'll be happy to respond as soon as we can.