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Posts about Website Development

Rootwork designs engaging, accessible websites for social change. Websites are created through content-management systems such as Drupal and WordPress — meaning non-technical staff can easily update organizations' sites. Because Rootwork uses open-source CMSes, groups aren't locked in to proprietary systems and can easily find support from robust online development communities.

7 February 2009

Rootwork redeveloped this community coalition’s website from the ground-up in DrupalDrupal is an open-source content management system (CMS) used for many complex nonprofit sites. Other examples of CMSes include WordPress, Joomla! and Plone.. Added features included:

  • the ability for non-technical staff to add and edit content through Microsoft Office–like web forms
  • an upcoming events calendar with automatic integration with Google Maps and signup capability
  • “tell a friend” features, including the ability to post directly to social networks such as FacebookFacebook is a social network encouraging real identity — each user has a single account under their full, real name. Facebook began among US college students but has quickly expanded to people of all ages around the world. and MySpaceMySpace is a social network that is not built around a single identity. Users can and do have multiple profiles, with no restrictions on the “names” they use. MySpace is used by many musical groups.
  • photo galleries arranged by date and campaign
  • a volunteer signup form
  • integration with the Democracy in Action suite, providing customized donation forms, automatic email signup forms and a merchandise store

Rootwork also managed Casino-Free Philadelphia’s social networking sites on Facebook, MySpace and TwitterTwitter is a social network built around short status updates — a combination of microblogging and instant messaging, with the ability to post from mobile phones through text messages.. MySpace profile features included an integrated email signup form and branded videos. Twitter features included scheduled posts pointing to different areas of the website, “picture of the day” highlighting a past Casino-Free action, and full statistics tracking of all links followed from Twitter posts.

Through the website development and expansion into social networking areas, Casino-Free Philadelphia’s membership expanded significantly, and supporters were able to interact with the organization to a much larger degree — building loyalty and likely contributing to “real world” commitment in the form of attendance at actions and fundraising campaigns.

25 September 2008

Rootwork’s Ivan Boothe created Exotica Jewelry’s first presence on the web back in 1995, by establishing RingsForever.com. The website, which features Exotica’s handcrafted titanium wedding rings, has gone through multiple iterations but remains the primary vehicle for the company’s sales of titanium rings. Ivan designed the site from the ground up, including the custom design and implementation of Drupal’s ecommerce platform.

In 2008, RingsForever.com was joined by a new site showcasing Exotica’s hand-milled titanium beads, TitaniumBeads.com. This site uses a slightly-modified stock design and uses the Ubercart ecommerce system.

In both cases, visitors can easily browse jewelry and narrow down their choices based on particular aspects (such as colors, types of metals, and precious gems) and order directly from the website. Jewelry can be enlarged using an animated overlay known as Lightbox.

Exotica Jewelry’s employees can easily update the sites with new jewelry and blog entries, and control what appears on the home page through non-technical web forms with controls similar to Microsoft Word. Each site is also optimized for search engines, bringing in many new visitors through responsible use of keywords and tags.

In 2009, Rootwork launched a stand-alone “brochure” site for the company’s metal cleaning product, MultiEtch.com, using the open-source system WordPress.

16 August 2008

Rootwork managed the Genocide Intervention Network’s online presence from its founding, continually refining the approach to further the organization’s mission, to empower members with the tools to prevent and stop genocide. Despite its small size, GI-Net quickly built a strong membership base through its highly-visible and innovative uses of online campaigns.

In one of its first efforts, GI-Net utilized supporters on Facebook to help put pressure on a member of Congress to pass a Darfur bill through committee — by having students on Facebook use publicly-available financial information to contact that senator’s largest donors and asking them to advocate for the bill’s passage.

Through the years, GI-Net continually used its online campaigns and social networking strategy in ways that supported its real-world campaigns. Time to Protect, a DrupalDrupal is an open-source content management system (CMS) used for many complex nonprofit sites. Other examples of CMSes include WordPress, Joomla! and Plone. site, supported a national student “DarfurFast” by connecting activists to their communities through an events map and social networking groups. Structured around coordinated days of on-campus action, the campaign site and outreach on platforms including MySpace and Facebook raised more than $500,000 over three years.

Rootwork also focused on building effective tools for the organization, including the legislative scorecard site DarfurScores.org, an “Areas of Concern” section on the primary site, and a weekly Genocide Monitor newsletter — all built in Drupal.

In 2008, Rootwork completed the campaign site AskTheCandidates.org, built from the ground-up in Drupal. The website supported several “user-generated content” tools, including video contests for the presidential primary debates and “bird-dogging” reports from candidate events.

Rootwork helped GI-Net pursue social change outreach through a half-dozen different networks — Facebook, MySpace, LiveJournalLiveJournal is a social network built around blogging. Users can “friend” one another and restrict some or all blog entries to their friends. Users can also join blogging communities built around particular topics., BlackPlanet, Eons and WiserEarth — as well as using social media from FlickrFlickr is a social media site for photographs and digital images. Like a social network, it allows users to “friend” one another, join groups, and see a recent-updates feed of their own and their friends’ images. Flickr is owned by Yahoo!. and YouTubeYouTube is a social network built around video content: posting, sharing, rating and commenting. in ways that drew members in to the political process.

NetSquared 2008 Featured ProjectRootwork-created proposals for the Genocide Intervention Network were also nominated for awards at the 2007 and 2008 NetSquared Conferences in Santa Clara, California.

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