Established in 1957 Friends of Animals is a non-profit, international animal advocacy organization, incorporated in the state of New York. Friends of Animals works to cultivate a respectful view of nonhuman animals, free-living and domestic with the goal to free animals from cruelty and institutionalized exploitation around the world.
Overview of Relationship
Friends of Animals website and ecommerce presence had been hosted by HindSite Interactive’s Managed Hosting division WebNet Hosting since 2005, while the existing web presence of Friends of Animals was originally designed in early 2000 by their internal resources. Over the years the site had grown in size and exceeded the limited administrative and content management infrastructure of the existing platform.
Friends of Animals had outgrown the capabilities and needed a long-term solution that would support the growth and initiatives of the organization for years to come.
HindSite Interactive was invited to bid on the opportunity and after few rounds of consultation and evaluation across different Web Agencies, we were selected as a qualified candidate to carry on the large task to fully revamp and upgrade the Friends of Animals core web presence.
The existing website had a number of challenges and shortfalls including and not limited to:
– Site design and brand lacked visual appeal and did not give target audience a great experience.
– Structure of website was spread across number of inconsistent folders and at times compacted in just the root folder.
– The site was utilizing an old version of TypePad and aging MySQL databases.
– No simple TypePad export/migration solution existed to migrate data to a more powerful system such as Drupal 7.
– Ecommerce site was based an on old version of Miva Merchant Cart.
– The content of site was partially in dynamic (TypePad) and in majority of cases simple HTML based pages including over 700 individual magazine articles spanning all the way back to 2002.
– Donation and other forms were mostly static HTML embedded into SSL pages and connected with a simple Payment Gateway system with no database connectivity.
– Thousands of Spay/Neuter program data were fed from a simple text based file.
Solutions to overcome challenges– We worked with the client to analyze existing traffic behaviors to establish a new site map that better supported user needs and behavior including:
– Create and design a new creative direction that reflects Friends of Animals
– Select a CMS system that will handle the organizations’ growing needs and support future initiatives. The selected CMS was Drupal 7.
– Develop custom migration scripts to allow transfer of existing content from TypePad CMS to Drupal 7.
– Manual transfer of hundreds of static HTML articles to drupal 7.
– Create a new Spay/Neuter application that supports Friends of Animals Call Center inquiries and daily data export for certificate and recommended Veterinarians to contact.
-Administrative set-up to manage content and back-end admin tasks.
– Set-up dynamic donation forms with secure processing to process and manage donations.
The new Friends of Animals website was a huge transition for the Organization. As with any major change at non-profit organizations (and Government institutions) a big change (for better or worse) can initially face controversy.
Upon launch of the site some Friends of Animals staff questioned whether they had made the best choice in utilizing more dynamic features for administering the site. This was in part due to the fact that new methods require a short learning phase versus old methods that have over the years become second nature in use.
However this was temporary. Upon training and a couple rounds of utilizing features in the new site CMS, it became apparent that the new system brings a high degree of efficiency and oversight on the web presence and was welcomed with open arms.
The ability to generate and manage daily spay/neuter forms, locate and manage donations, run and manage Spay/Neuter program and a new fresh design that has gained appraise by it’s users has proven the redesign and upgrade to the website was not only necessary but also helping to generate more buzz and creating value for the organization.
At HindSite we are also animal lovers and we’re proud to have lend a hand in assisting this important organization concentrate on what it does best. Post launch HindSite Interactive has continued to provide consulting and support of the application.