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Nā Ala Hele Trail Program Develops New Website

Posted June 3, 2016, 01:21 PM HST
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The King's Highway © Daniel Sullivan Photography.

The King’s Highway © Daniel Sullivan Photography.

Hawai‘i’s Nā Ala Hele Trail and Access Program is launching a new website with cutting-edge features and a new design—just in time for National Trails Day, on Saturday, June 4, 2016.

National Trails Day is the largest celebration of trails and the thousands of volunteers who maintain trails across the country.

Managed by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources and Division of Forestry and Wildlife, the site is a prime resource for state forest trail hikers in Hawai‘i.

One of the most important features of hawaiitrails.org is its mobile-responsive design, allowing it to adjust to a variety of different devices and screen sizes.

In addition, the updated website provides hikers with useful resources and content not found on or provided by other online sources such as trail head directions via GPS, detailed information on approved trail use activities, trail features, amenities, and timely weather and safety/hazard warnings.

FEATURES OF THE NEW SITE

  • Google map interface
  • Integrated GPS trail head location finder
  • Mobile first responsive web design
  • Click on trail or search for trail options
  • Trail details and information search engine
  • Easy-to-read, divided trail information sections
  • Updated photos and content

“We wanted an entirely new look and to establish it as the “Official Site” for all authorized public forestry program trails and roads,” said Aaron Lowe, Nā Ala Hele’s acting program manager and project lead. “We have created the one and only stop for people who are looking for sanctioned improved trails. All other trails, with the exception of a few other state and city trails, are not improved, and therefore are most likely closed and/or dangerous. People need to know this.”

In addition to the new features, the Nā Ala Hele staff has been working hard at collecting new photographs of trailhead signs, trail features, amenities, points of interest and views to upload to the new site.

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The program hired renowned Hawai‘i trail writer Stuart Ball to update trail descriptions statewide starting with O‘ahu.

The Nā Ala Hele program contracted the Hawai‘i Information Consortium to redesign and build the site. Since that time, both Nā Ala Hele staff and HIC have been working diligently to make the website and mobile version user-friendly.

HIC used a User-Centered Design approach by inviting multiple users with varying degrees of technical ability to perform different assigned tasks on the new site. This provided developers an opportunity to collect user feedback about what worked and what needed to be fixed or changed.

“UCD allows us to put the users first and design a site to meet their needs rather than expecting them to adapt to the site,” said Russell Castagnaro, HIC general manager. “This has been a fun and exciting project to be a part of. It is always a pleasure working with Aaron and the Nā Ala Hele staff, and we look forward to the opportunity to continue to work with Nā Ala Hele in the future.”

DLNR’s Division of State Parks maintains its own website with information about state parks in Hawai‘i and hiking trails in the parks at http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dsp/

Dowload the “Hiking Safely in Hawai‘i brochure here.

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