Heifer International: Site Redesign
Motivated by its highly successful online efforts, Heifer International sought to create a new Web site that better reflected the organization's vision of aligning functionality and technology with its growing needs. Although Heifer had already contracted with a software company to provide a content management system (CMS) for its national Web site, it needed a partner to help integrate the site's different components and to identify and fill technology gaps. Heifer engaged Beaconfire to deliver a redesigned site that met Heifer's unique needs and goals for the coming years.
In assessing Heifer's Web site, the following critical needs emerged for the new Web presence:
- Strong design and user experience to better reflect the organization's dynamism and breadth;
- Improved representation of international and educational program work;
- Self-provisioning tools for site management, marketing, and analysis; and
- Platform poised to grow with the next generation of tools and programs.
Beaconfire built the new Web site in partnership with Free Range Graphics, a Washington, D.C.-based design firm. In addition to the site design, Beaconfire collaborated with Free Range to create an Interactive Project Map, which provides users the opportunity to view details - including budget, dates, and plans - of more than 400 projects in 75 countries.
To ensure that the newly redesigned site would be highly usable and efficiently organized, Beaconfire conducted conceptual design usability testing, using both an online survey and focus group sessions. The testing enabled Heifer to make improvements to the site architecture and overall design before development began, thus saving the time and expense that would be associated with correcting the issues after launch. The site implementation required custom development to interweave various technologies, including a CMS and messaging software.
"Our new site's creative, content management, e-mail marketing, and online fund-raising all draw upon different vendors and technologies," said Eileen Dolbeare, director of new media at Heifer International. "The new site integrates all of these seamlessly into a cohesive user experience. Beaconfire helped us put all of the pieces together."
The result is a site that enables Heifer International to offer its online constituents improved navigation, graphics, and overall user experience. The new site offers a wider range of information and multiple ways to become involved in the organization's important, lifesaving work. Heifer's global partners will use the core creative design, along with Heifer's International Site Guidelines, to create their own Web sites.
The 60-year-old charity has attracted thousands of donors looking for a meaningful way to give while also helping to alleviate world hunger. Heifer's online catalog has generated millions of dollars in gifts to combat world hunger.