As one of the last projects of 2018, the city of Issaquah has made improvements to the parks and recreation registration system.
In early December 2018, the city put its new system into place and began accepting registrations for winter programming. Milissa Ching, operations analyst and project manager for the purchase and implementation of the project, said the parks and recreation department had been working off an old system for many years before the upgrade.
Eventually the parent company announced it was discontinuing the old system and the city of Issaquah found a replacement from PerfectMind, a software company based out of Burnaby, British Columbia.
Ching said the city’s goal is to improve the user experience and have a more efficient booking system in place. One feature of the new system, Ching said, is the ability to search for programs available. In the past, the city used bar code numbers that people would call and ask for, but the new system features a search function that can filter results by gender, age, date and days of the week.
“Another big one is the ability for customers to safely and securely load payment information into the system,” Ching said.
Customers can now create their own profiles to log on to the system through email or social media. Profiles allow people to see their past transactions and attendance history, as well as create a calendar of all the programs and events they have registered for. There are social sharing tools as well, to spread the word about events in the city.
Ching said implementation of the system isn’t yet complete as a service to request and reserve different city facilities, like ballfields and bigger event venues like Pickering Farm, will be introduced in spring 2019.
The project to implement the new system began in April and was taking reservations on Dec. 3. Everything offered through the parks and recreation department is in the system as well as some classes taught by third party vendors in the city.
The previous registration service was cumbersome, which resulted in frequent phone calls to help people register. In looking for a new registration service, Ching said she went to Richmond, B.C., to see the Olympic speed skating rink that had been converted into a community center. They used the PerfectMind system and their call volume decreased by 95 percent.
While Issaquah doesn’t have numbers on that statistic currently, Ching said the staff has experienced a similarly large reduction in calls asking for assistance over the past month.
To search for and find activities, programs, and classes, visit issaquahwa.gov/register.