Section 1.1 The RFP states that the vendor “must demonstrate an ability to work in
partnership with our current Internet strategy and implementation team”.
o Will M.D. Anderson staff be assigned to this project and if so, what skillsets and
knowledge areas will be represented by MD Anderson?
Internet Services department management, marketing coordinator, content coordinator,
technical coordinator, accessibility/usability coordinator. In general, these resources will
provide input, direction and review to the engagement but will not be involved in the
hands-on development of the design and templates.
Section 1.1 The RFP states that the vendor will “provide a framework to develop new
capabilities.” We would like to confirm that you are not asking us to provide a proposal to
actually develop these capabilities; however, you want any solution that we provide is
extensible to include these capabilities.
This is a correct assumption.
Section 1.1 The RFP states that the vendor will “improve access for domestic Spanish-
speaking and international audiences.”
o Are the targeted audiences and languages identified?
Yes. Besides Spanish, other priorities include Arabic, Turkish, and Japanese. As
noted on the M. D. Anderson website, we work with individuals speaking several
o COMSYS is very experienced in analyzing websites and applications to ensure
that they support internationalization standards. Would you like information and
estimate for this website review?
That is not required as part of the response to this RFP. However, if a vendor has
special capabilities that it wishes to highlight, that could be included as a
separate part of the proposal.
o COMSYS provides localization (translation) services. Does this RFP include an
request for localization services, or will M.D. Anderson be providing localized
content? Will COMSYS provide localization services for any end-user
components of the website (such as headers, navigational items) that may need
to be localized?
M. D. Anderson intends to translate content. A Spanish translation of “end user
components of the website” should be provided by the vendor as part of the
Section 1.3.2 The RFP implies that responses for either an ASP solution with hosting by
the vendor or a solution built for your environment are acceptable.
o Is that correct? No, M. D. Anderson will provide the infrastructure and host the
o Is there a preference for one over the other? See above.
o Is it your intention to replace the Internet infrastructure described in this section?
The Content Management System used to maintain the main site will be a new
instance of Rhythmyx. Interactive components of the site will reside within the
current application hosting environment.
o If you intend to keep your current environment, will the environment need
extending to support the additional websites? If so, should the RFP include
details for HW and SW required to upgrade the environment. No, vendor
responses should include only site architecture and design elements.
o If you intend to keep your current environment, can your provide specific details
on the current environment.
The environment is described in Sections 1.3.2 and 1.3.3 It is unclear what
additional detail is needed to respond to this RFP.
o If you intend to keep your current environment, will your provide environments for
development and QA along with the production environment?
o Does M.D. Anderson have a strategy of migrating to a more standardized
No. The disparate hosting environment supported by M. D. Anderson is by
Section 1.3.2 Does M.D. Anderson have a preference in the development language that
will be used to develop the websites? Java, ASP or .NET? No interactive application
components will need to be provided by the vendor. The site architecture and design
templates should conform to XHTML 1.0 Strict and CSS Level 2 (including extensive use
the resulting web page fully conforms to ADA Section 508 accessibility standards.
Section 1.3.3 The primary external websites are maintained in Spectra 1.0.1, which will
be replaced by Rhythmyx. Would you like us to provide you an estimate for migrating the
content from the Spectra to Rhythmyx?
Section 3.1 Question B “Identify turn-around time for support calls.” Does this imply
that you are asking for a proposal for on-going maintenance of the developed
application, or for the hosted environment (see questions above about Section 1.3.2)?
No. In the context of this RFP, this applies only during the implementation of the site
architecture and design templates.
Section 3.1 Question C You ask responders to “identify number of clients using your
services”; does that only apply to an ASP solution, or any similar services that we
provide to our clients?
Please identify the number of clients for which you have provided web site information
architecture and design services.
Section 3.2 Question H The RFP states, “Describe the process from implementing the
design and/or service model to using and maintaining the solution within M.D.
o As part of our normal delivery process, we include a requirements development,
planning, design specification phase. This will scope out the detailed project plan
and estimate of the project price. We can compare this website to other sites, but
until we complete this phase, the project price and schedule may change. Is that
We anticipate that a successful proposal will include a realistic estimate for the
price and schedule based on the vendor’s proven process, professional
expertise, and comparable project experience, even if the estimate is expressed
in terms of a range.
o Does this include all design and development processes to deliver the websites?
No, just the design and development process to develop the information
architecture and deliver the website templates.
o Does this refer to moving the solution from QA’d website to the production
Section 3.3 Is this section applicable to this RFP, or is this related to the hosted
environment question above? COMSYS has the skillset and resources to work within
M.D. Anderson’s current toolset.
This section is generic in nature and has little relevance for the purposes of this RFP.
1. Section 2 Scope of Work (Page 2)
The referenced section states:
Provide a framework to develop new “transactional” capabilities for online self-service
and delivery of key products and services, as well as new interactive features to engage
site visitors and optimize the user experience, including improvements for:
New patient referrals
Online cancer education
Authentication (when needed)
Social media and other Web 2.0 approaches
Global site map & related links throughout
What precisely is meant by “framework”? Since the RFP seems to mainly call for
IA/User Experience design rather than programming, do you mean that the site’s
information architecture (structure, navigation, layout) need to accommodate these
features? Do presentation layer templates or front-end code need to be developed for
each of these features? Or do you mean that these features need to be programmed and
implemented in the project?
The new site’s information architecture needs to accommodate these features. The
features themselves do not need to be programmed or implemented. Design templates
should be developed as appropriate.
2. Section 2 Scope of Work
Section 3.2 Description of Services (Page 7)
Section 3.3 Technical Requirements (Page 8)
The referenced sections use the terms “application”, “service”, “service model”,
“product”, “ASP service”. The project does not appear to involve application
development and it is specifically noted that Rhythmyx will be used for the CMS. If
there are applications that need to be developed, please specify them in detail so that we
can develop appropriate estimates of the scope of work.
Will Rhythmyx development be required by the vendor, or will the Rythmyx
development be performed by MD Anderson? What role in the Rhythmyx
implementation is envisioned for the vendor under this RFP?
No application development is included in the scope of this RFP. For the purposes of this
RFP, Rhythmyx template creation will be performed by M. D. Anderson. However, if the
vendor has Rhythmyx-specific capabilities that it wishes to highlight, those could be
included as a separate part of the proposal.
3. Section 2 Scope of Work, 3.5 Training, Education, and Documentation (Page 10)
The referenced section seems to indicate that training is required to operate an
application. It also mentions “master tables and edits” which would indicate a database.
Please explain what applications are involved here.
This section is generic in nature and has little relevance to this RFP.
4. Section 2 Scope of Work, 3.7 Post Implementation Support (Page 10)
A. Describe the availability and cost of support to customize applications and to modify
What applications or current systems are referenced here?
This section is generic in nature and has little relevance to this RFP.
B. How are customer problems communicated to your company for action? What is the
procedure for receiving customer problems? Is there any priority rating given to
problems? How are calls and problems tracked? Identify customer service hours of
operation. What is the average response time for defined priority rating levels?
This implies a help desk, which is more typically associated with an application than with
IA/User Experience design and development. Please identify the application or feature
for which MD Anderson envisions needing help desk service.
In the context of this RFP, this section refers to the communication and issue resolution
process between M. D. Anderson and the vendor during the information architecture
development and design template creation.
5. Section 2 Scope of Work, 3.8 Cost (Page 11)
Itemizing the costs as indicated will entail a great deal of redundancy – items 1, 2, and 3
are virtually the same, and “site design submittals” referenced in 4 is a component of the
first 3 as well. Would it be acceptable to provide costs by project phase with
deliverables, including hourly costs by position title? It would seem that this would be as
granular as necessary. Item 5 is clear.
The cost breakout approach outlined above is acceptable. The only requirement is that all
items in this section are addressed and the costs are comprehensive and clearly stated.
6. Section 2 Scope of Work, 3.2.8 General Website Design and Templates (Page 16,
top of pages)
The RFP calls for three design alternatives for the website design. Does the approach
include a redesign that will apply to all three sites listed? For example the look and feel
of mdanderson.org will be redesigned and then applied to cancerwise.org and
my.mdanderson.org? Or, do each of the three sites require a redesigned interface?
Also, it appears that each design alternative must include 11 sample pages. This may not
be an efficient use of MD Anderson resources. Typically, the purpose of a creative
exploration is to establish the overall design direction, and this can be done with 2-3
pages in each alternative set. Eleven sample pages, three times over, will at least double
the cost of the exploration, and a very large amount of that work is literally discarded.
Would MD Anderson accept an alternative approach, using three alternative designs with
three pages each in the initial creative exploration? The selected design would then be
refined through 1-2 revision rounds and then, once approved, that finished design would
be applied to the remaining page types for review and approval.
A critical aspect of developing a new and effective information architecture for M. D.
Anderson’s Internet presence is how to integrate the various user experiences that differ
by audience, content, functionality, etc., including across these three distinct, but closely
related, sites. Whether or not the sites should each maintain a separate look and feel is a
key decision for which we seek assistance during the course of the project. We are open
to alternative approaches to the “creative exploration” process that lead us to a solution,
and we hope to see evidence in each proposal of thoughtfulness, experience, and
expertise in arriving there.
7. Section 2 Scope of Work, 3.2.8 General Website Design and Templates (Page
Required - Deliver HTML templates for e-mail campaigns which are thematically tied to
web site design.
How many email templates? Is this a total of 3 templates, one for each listed website, or
only one of the websites?
We send regular e-mail campaigns (e.g., newsletters or announcements for new online
publications) from both www.mdanderson.org and www.cancerwise.org. So, we need a
minimum of two template sets.
Required - Deliver 1-3 web site templates (see above technical requirements) for the
different kinds of online publications categorized by (1) audience, (2) print vs. online
only, and/or (3) disease vs. institutional topic. Templates to be thematically tied to web
site design. The three main audiences are Professionals, Patients and Public.
Do you mean 1-3 website templates for each different online publication or that the 1-3
templates should address all online publications on www.mdanderson.org? If for each
online publication, how many publications and how many total templates? Are these
templates unique and divergent, or are they family variations? Please verify that these
are the templates for the main public site, www.mdanderson.org?
We are open to 1-3 templates for all www site online publications if the vendor can
demonstrate that is the best, most effective solution to the fact that we have multiple
online publications on the site. We do not seek to make a cost-driven decision.
Required - Deliver a Cancer Education Center (possibly an expanded version of the
current diseases & topic portals). The CEC should organize educational (i.e., non-
promotional) disease and related content targeted at the three main audiences, while
dynamically cross-linking to relevant MDACC Departments, Programs and Centers.
Do you mean us to deliver a site (with content) or site templates? How many templates?
Is this the CancerWise site?
The concept of the Cancer Education Center should be reflected in the information
architecture and design templates provided by the vendor. As stated in section 3.2.10, we
seek a successful approach to the presentation of “educational” content for multiple types
of site visitors. Content for the CEC is not expected. CancerWise is an online
publication and is not the same as the CEC concept, although CancerWise content may
be presented within the CEC context..
Desired – Deliver web site templates (see above technical requirements) specifically for
the existing my.mdanderson.org extranet site. Templates to be thematically tied to www
web site design.
How many templates does MD Anderson think are needed for the extranet?
Two site templates, including at minimum a home page and an interior page, both with
header, footer, and navigation elements, are desired.
8. What is the underlying technology for my.mdanderson.org portal (ex. SharePoint, custom built
application)? How easily can it be skinned? Does it support web standards?
myMDAnderson is a custom built application. The design templates should conform to
XHTML 1.0 Strict and CSS Level 2 (including extensive use of CSS-P for layout). Use of
conforms to ADA Section 508 accessibility standards. Implementation of the template will
be performed by M. D. Anderson.
9. Which email clients would you like to support for the newsletter?
We anticipate that mainstream email clients would handle either standards-based HTML formats
or text-based email from M. D. Anderson.
10. Is NavArts responsible for the content migration? If so, how is the content stored in Spectra?
The scope of this RFP does not include content migration.
11. Does the scope of the project entail the creation of HTML templates and CMS templates or
just HTML templates?
The scope of this RFP includes only the creation of XHTML templates. However, if the
vendor has Rhythmyx-specific capabilities for developing CMS templates that it wishes
to highlight, those could be included as a separate part of the proposal.
5. In regards to SEO, does MD Anderson have specific coding guidelines and/or best practice (ex.
naming conventions, markup guidelines, folder structure, etc.)?
Yes, we do. Furthermore, we expect our vendor partner to work closely with our internal Internet
marketing staff and with our external SEO vendor.
Section 1.1 of RFP
…to develop a new information architecture, layout, and design for the
www.mdanderson.org web site and associated online communication vehicles.
Are you including www.cancerwise.org and my.mdanderson.org in the
“associated communication vehicles”?
Define “framework” in “provide a framework to develop new “transactional”
The new site’s information architecture needs to accommodate these transactional
features. The features themselves do not need to be implemented.
“Improve access for domestic Spanish-speaking and international audiences”
What languages would you like the website to be available in – aside from
English and Spanish?
Besides Spanish, other priorities include Arabic, Turkish, and Japanese. As noted on the
M. D. Anderson website, we work with individuals speaking several dozen languages.
For this project, we do not pre-suppose that the entire site will be available in languages other
than English. Making the final decisions about how to approach other languages is part of the
Nothing is mentioned at all about the implementation of the site. The scope
seems to ask for IA and design, but nothing on implementation. What is
The intent of this RFP is to develop an information architecture and design
templates. The implementation of the information architecture and design
templates is beyond the scope of this RFP. However, if the vendor has
specific capabilities for implementation that it wishes to highlight, those
could be included as a separate part of the proposal.
Section 3.3 Technical Requirements
If MD Anderson already has identified that they are going to be using
Percussion’s Rhythymx CMS in their environment, why is there a request
for Technical Reqs? It seems to me that you are only asking for IA and
design for our portion of the project…
Section 3.3 is generic in nature and has little relevance to this RFP.
Section 3.4 Implementation Plan
This is the first specific mention to implementation. Are we expected to
help with this, if so, what level, partial or complete? Have you already
selected a partner that does Rhythmyx and implementations, or planning to
do this in-house? Based on the RFP, the site is 15,000+ pages. That’s not
an easy task even if partially-automated.
In the context of this RFP, the Implementation Plan should detail the process for
the creation of the information architecture and design templates (i.e., it should
not include the actual implementation of the information architecture and design
templates into the M. D. Anderson website.
Page 16 3.2.8 Requirements
Site must conform with Section 508…
What level of compliance are you requesting?
Site templates must fully pass Section 508 validation tests as verified by Usable Net’s LIFT
Machine testing tool. M. D. Anderson does not test to W3C levels.