ADRC Website Receives National Award
The Upstate Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) website - a statewide template for South Carolina - has been chosen to receive a NADO 2012 Innovation Award. Each year, the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) recognizes member organizations with the Innovation Award for demonstrating innovative approaches to regional economic and community development.
The Upstate ADRC website is significant because it was designed, produced, hosted, and is maintained entirely within the Appalachian Council of Governments. The staff of the ADRC and Information Services Department worked together to design and implement the website. After reviewing numerous similar web resources to identify best practices, they proposed tools and resources to address the three main groups of beneficiaries: those in need of care; care providers; and community advocates. Original content and links to other state and local services were built into an ADA compliant template, and hosted from a web server at the ACOG location. The process of creating a website from scratch enabled the ADRC staff to reevaluate the flow of work and identify new areas for regional services.
As the first web-based resource of its kind in the state, the tools and resources provided on the ADRC website offer a new and efficient way to respond to the needs of more beneficiaries than ever before. On average, 400 visitors view almost 1,600 pages per month. Web analytics also show that 70 percent of the visitors are new and they usually find what they need within four or five clicks. This is important for an older user group who may be unfamiliar or uncomfortable with the Internet.
The design of the web site was carefully structured to comply with the Section 508 amendment to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which means the website is accessible to people with disabilities. It follows strict guidelines for font size, color combinations, use of animations, and content outline. This enables visually impaired or physically limited visitors to easily navigate the site, sometimes using external reader services. Surprisingly, few web resources - especially those aimed at seniors or disabled citizens - comply with the guidelines that enable ease of use.
The website was also designed for use as a template to enable replication in the other nine ADRCs in South Carolina. ACOG staff is currently working with the SC Lieutenant Governor's Office on Aging to standardize the structure and design of the site for other ADRC regions to populate with their own unique information and content. The Upstate ADRC will continue to add new features and test new ways to use the web medium for reaching its beneficiaries on behalf of the statewide network. Visit this award winning website at www.scupstateadrc.org.