Archive for the ‘design’ Category

Is your website a door or a brick wall?: Activism, social media, and responsive web design

With the current protests in Turkey and Brazil, focus is again being drawn to the role of social media in mass movements agitating for change.

Mobile-friendly channels such as YouTubeTwitter, and Facebook are being leveraged by organic groups of individuals to speak out and mobilize.

News outlets are highlighting social media’s ability to bridge national boundaries to inspire and inform groups thousands of miles away from one another – as well as confuse and muddle their messages and goals.

BRAZIL-PROTESTS/ Read more »

 

Tracking and analyzing mobile traffic to your website

We commented earlier on the massive explosion of mobile internet use and how it is contributing to 2013 being the year of responsive web design – responsive web design being a powerful and flexible way to make your site mobile-friendly.

How do you know if your site traffic justifies the investment in making your website mobile-friendly? If you’ve got Google Analytics tracking traffic, you’ve got ready-made reporting waiting for you. Read more »

 

Etsy, the infinite scroll, and lessons for non-profit websites

InfinityWorking at a company that helps organizations figure out how to stay focused when wandering the candy store that is Web technology can be full of interesting anecdotes.  Mostly, it includes stories of accidental techies doing the best they can to make sense of this Web-3-dot-whatever world we’re living in, and trying to find ways to best bring in more donation dollars to support their cause.

Sometimes, this means that the shiny new toys which larger companies play with seem to be an absolute necessity when it comes to their own small non-profit website.  This is completely understandable.  We live in an upgrade-right-now world, where even our web browsers seem to update on a daily basis, often times without us knowing it.

We try to help organizations avoid the shine of the latest fad and focus on raw efficiency gains.  That’s why a Web lesson learned from the good folks at Etsy (fellow B Corporation!) struck a chord with me.  When Etsy implemented the “infinite scroll” in their A/B testing, their findings were really quite interesting.

What’s an infinite scroll you ask?  It’s what happens when you’re looking at search results on sites like Google Images, where as you scroll to what seems to be the bottom of the page, and then all the sudden, wham, more results start to appear.

The vertical scroll is infinitely long!

Okay, back to the lesson at hand.  What Etsy ended up finding is that while the infinite scroll is definitely trending strongly in web design communities, it’s not a tool that you can blindly apply to any website and expect it to actually improve user satisfaction.  In fact, in the case of Etsy, it seemed to cause users to avoid taking the preferred route through the Etsy website.

What does this have to do with non-profit websites?  Quite a bit.  Here’s a few important lessons we can learn from the Etsy case study on the infinite scroll.

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We love our Project Managers and so do our clients!

We PICnetters are lucky to get a firsthand glimpse into the inner workings of social change agents in action. Our non-profit clients are why we exist in the first place … what can I say, we love our clients! We feel even more fortunate to know that the feeling is mutual. We thought we’d share some recent praise for one PICnetter in particular, Amber Manning, our newest project manager.

Amber had the pleasure of working with Groundswell (née DC Project), an organization dedicated to combating both economic inequality and environmental decline by promoting clean energy in local communities. Groundswell underwent a rebranding and needed a new website to match their new face to the world. Read more »

 

8 benefits of a newly designed Soapbox site: The Bridge NY

The Bridge LogoIf your non-profit’s website is in dire need of an overhaul, but you’re having trouble getting your decision makers on board, fear not! We have a list of surefire benefits to justify your cause with a clear cut example to boot.

But don’t just take our word for it. PICnet had the pleasure of working with New York-based non-profit, The Bridge, on their handsome new site. Here’s what they said.

“Soapbox was exactly what we were looking for in terms of sophisticated and search friendly design. We are thrilled with the way our new site looks and functions. Thanks to our PICnet team!”  - Ann R. Hyatt, Director of Development & External Relations, The Bridge

What got Ann so excited? First, let’s look at the before and after shots.

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The Drops Fill Buckets Difference

With the new year approaching, you may be considering a fresh start for your organization’s website. Updating your design can be a great way to reinvigorate your site and attract more attention to your cause.

PICnet client Drops Fill Buckets (DFB) recently undertook a redesign to kick off their next organizational growth spurt … and the result is stunning! As an organization committed to “empowering individuals to raise money for tangible local and international needs that they personally care about,” their website is a critical piece in the puzzle for their mission. DFB’s site serves as a hub for team fundraising by enabling their organizers to plan events, leverage sponsors, and motivate friends and family to support projects.

Drops Fill Buckets Screenshot Read more »

 

Spot the Difference: Benefits of Upgrading to Soapbox 2

Since 2006, our robust Non-Profit Soapbox platform has served more than 350 organizations, empowering them with the quality, easy-to-use, flexible, affordable (we could go on…) web tools they need to carry out their missions. Soapbox has gone through several important milestones in its history:

2006: launch of the non-profit community’s very own hosted web platform, Soapbox 1.0, optimized for their specific needs, based on years of best practice captured by PICnetters

2008: launch of Soapbox 2.0, the next-generation of Soapbox goodness with a slew of hot new features: an upgraded CMS framework, integration with Google Analytics, human readable URLs, and more

2010: development of Soapbox integration with the world’s leading CRM tool, Salesforce.com. Non-profits are no longer left behind in the wake of technological advancements, and instead they now enjoy a full-fledged integration of a website CMS with Salesforce for donations, events, and more.

2011: beta launch of Soapbox Engage, bringing the power of Salesforce-integrated websites to the masses

Technology advances so quickly that sometimes it’s fun to stop and take a look back at how far we’ve come—for the web as a whole and for our beloved Soapbox platform in particular. Here’s a trip down memory lane for the recently upgraded Virginia Water Environment Association (VWEA) website. We’re super thrilled to have grown up alongside VWEA, and even more excited to upgrade them a new site! Read more »

 

ASOC.org launches

Coming to work for PICnet, I figured I would learn all kinds of geeky computer-terms like php, SQL and Cufon. Little did I Know that one of the coolest terms I would learn came from a client: charismatic mega-fauna.

What do charismatic mega-fauna – large animal species with widespread popular appeal – have to do with my job as a project manager? A lot, it turns out, when it came to creating a new site for the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition (ASOC).

Asoc4

ASOC, as you’re probably imagining, has some incredibly compelling images, so we wanted a site that captured the visitor’s attention visually. This manifested itself in a stylish background image of Antarctica, as well as a prominent soapbox slideshow and embedded Flickr images module.

Don’t let the eye-candy fool you though, this site is deep with tons of resources on a number of key issues related to nature in the Antarctic as well as a fantastic archive of news articles and policy papers. To make sure the site felt fresh despite having so much content, we created a series of dynamic modules on all of the issue pages that are set to display the three most recent news articles and three most recent publications related to that specific issue area. This provides the site with a great mix of depth – you can read reports on the Antarctic that go back decades – as well as relevancy when looking for what’s happening right this minute.

But alongside all of the rich content and deep information, the charismatic megafauna still continue to find a place. I mean just look at the adorable penguin favicon for the site (say it aloud: “awwww.”)

Congratulations to ASOC on their beautiful new site!

 

Soapbox Site Launch: The Smart Campaign

Picture 1Earlier in March, PICnet launched a new site for ACCION and their new program called “The Smart Campaign.” They needed a simple site that would be eventually be available in Russian, Spanish, French, and Arabic.  The site also needed to host ACCION’s toolkit of resources, available in all languages.  Users will be able to find valuable information that serve as guides and best practices to those looking to participate in micro-finance.

What I like best on this site is the humanistic feel the homepage design presents. Lisa Mattei-McDonald, my client contact at BI, was introduced into this project midway.  After her predecessor left, Lisa did an extraordinary job catching up quickly to all things web related.  I applaud her success at keeping the project cool and calm even during her own discovery of her role and the unforeseen requirements that the project took on.

It was a full blown effort with four vendors involved! Boston Interactive hired PICnet to implement their design.  Strategy and communications firm  M+R was also involved.  And Democracy in Action came in at the very end to help The Smart Campaign’s constituents active on the site.

Read more »

 

Soapbox Site Launch: Prevention Institute

The Prevention Institute wanted to overhaul their website, which was a combination of a few different sites, but all had different site architectures. Working with our design partner and neighbor, FreeRange Graphics, PICnet streamlined the site’s navigation, making it more SEO and user friendly.

Prevention Institute was founded in 1997 to serve as a focal point for primary prevention practice—promoting policies, organizational practices, and collaborative efforts that improve health and quality of life. As a national non-profit organization, the Institute is committed to preventing illness and injury, to fostering health and social equity, and to building momentum for community prevention as an integral component of a quality health system. Prevention Institute synthesizes research and practice; develops prevention tools and frameworks; helps design and guide interdisciplinary partnerships; and conducts training and strategic consultation with government, foundations, and community-based organizations nationwide and internationally.

The entire staff at Prevention was super during the development process. I especially worked well with Annie Lyles, my main point of contact on the project. Annie is much more of a visual person than I am, so in order to communicate effectively, we even set up our own language to refer to the tools on the website. Because the timeline of the project was quite long, I definitely was able to establish a fun relationship with the team at Prevention.

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