Design and Development for a Charity Website

Published: 2021-09-30 15:15:04
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Category: Design, Charity

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1. Specification of requirements for the web-site
1.1. Introduction
The charity organization has asked the manager to project-manage the design, development, and launch procedures of the web-site, specialists for which are going to be outsourced taking into account the fact that the charity doesn’t have web-specialists in-house. In short, it becomes the sole responsibility of the project manager to specify the functionality of the web-site in order to fulfil the requirements of the charity organization, event organizers, and donators; moreover, the manager will have to draft a process schedule or plan of work lifecycle, demonstrating critical points in time when charity organizers will have to be involved into web-development process.Further, the project-manager is responsible for ensuring that a viable back-up solution is put in place for recovery of the financial and other data in case of information loss or damage. In simpler terms, the task is to plan initial stages in the project prior to any technical implementations, so that issues or potential problems associated with that will be foreseen early on and recovered or mitigated with minimal losses and expenditures.

1.2. Research on identical web-projects
The project manager has researched the web-space on similar or more or less identical charity web-sites and the following strengths and useful features for all of them have been emphasized:
All charity websites must be visually engaging, however stay moderately interactive, so that people with visual, hearing impairments and learning challenges can easily access and enjoy the contents. Therefore, some overly sophisticated and distracting features, like sound, must be omitted.
Homepage design is a highly substantial part of the whole web-site, whereby the single page can persuade a single user or the entire funding organization to donate to the cause, allow for fast and speedy navigation, and introduce to the objective of the current web-project. Therefore, it is clear from the outset that the precise range of target users must be identified first so that the web-site homepage is oriented towards those users.
Support for social media must be leveraged properly by means of seamless integration between the website and social media channels so that the user shares his experience on social networks and forums (Facebook, LinkedIn); it might be feasible to implement forum directly on the website, but technically it will involve extra financial and time costs.
The content management system might be adjusted to the needs of volunteers/supporters/beneficiaries through Intranet, for example, by allowing logins and personal profiles to the volunteers for sharing comments. The additional feature would be to allow volunteers to take part in creating, updating, and complementing the web-site content by making suggestions and recommendations as well as telling different stories: this feature helps attract more volunteers and members.
Clients will also have to be cared for: clients might even take parts in forum discussions and idea-sharing regarding some acute topic, like orphan children or homeless; users of the website can be allowed to publish their own works of art, drawing, or essays on the website, which, although time and budget-consuming, may facilitate more user engagement and participation in the charity cause.
The website must follow the rule of cost-effectiveness: in other words, the website design and implementation investment will have to be paid off by the returns in the form of donations.
There must be option for online donations and online fund-raising through the usage of direct mails or special appeals
Properly constructed funding application especially for medium and large donators is present in most sites
Some websites even offer subscription membership options for money; moreover, sites can allow all members, including users/volunteers/donators to purchase the charity’s own merchandize and book trainings for fees (related to the charity causes of course)
Search engine optimization is concerned with adjusting site content to search engine or Google indexation, so that the content must be of a good quality and easily searched by relevancy.
Some charities are advertised on Google platforms for free: those charity web-sites gain Google grants by submitting properly constructed grant applications to Google Corporation.
Content of the website must be unheavy and precisely communicating the objective of the web-site; moreover, it must be periodically updated with news and other novices.
Almost all of these features are considered important for a charity web-site and therefore can be implemented in the current project.
1.3. Identifying stakeholders
Web-project stakeholders are identified as follows:
Charity organization-the primary customer and stakeholder; the final decision is made by the charity management
Event organizers-volunteers and members of the web-site that will arrange events for fundraising and post the events on the web-site
Donors- users that will donate money either online or by filling out the application form
Web-designer and developer- the parties responsible for implementing the web-site
1.4. Setting up web-site requirements
Taking into account all stakeholders in the process of web-site build-up and the commonest features of existing charity web-sites, the following requirements for the particular web-site have been set up:
v Purpose
The primary purpose of the web-site is to communicate the importance of helping fellow humans who suffer from various insufficiencies to all potential users of the website; this can be done through collaboration of the charity organization with event organizers and posting different events on the site’s homepage.
v Look and feel
The homepage design must be visually engaging but clean and neat without any extra distractions: it is possible to include one reach Flash movie at the top of the page for adding dynamics to the page and greater interactivity. The homepage structure might be organized into 4 sections, including banner with logo, navigation bar, login, sign up, and search options; dynamic main content section with updatable content and news; side-bar section for advertisements of membership and merchandize, new and up-coming events; footer with the information about the charity, contact details, and site map.
v Performance
For large funding institutions it will most likely be essential to be able to fill a properly constructed funding application form and submitting it online by uploading it back on the website or send by post. In the navigation bar there will be option for donors to donate either online, using PayPal or credit/debit card services, or by submitting application form. Single donors are likely to pay straightaway online. However, the site is mostly oriented towards large funding institutions
Some event organizers will be able to post their ads and offer trainings or charity cause-related merchandize to donors on the side-bar of the pages through CMS and personal logins
Users should be able to navigate easily through the website and in case they wish to donate online, they should be able to specify on their own the sum that they donate
Charity organization can update or make amendments to the website content through CMS, with their own administrator login
v Functionality
The web project should have a content management system for administrator or charity organization itself to constantly make updates and amendments to the content of existing pages, rearrange the site structure and reassemble menu, monitor commenting in forums, control user registration, and administer online shop: this can be done by means of Extranet/Intranet and administrator login.
Extranet will also allow members (basic membership for free, premium membership- for some amount of fees) to login to their personal profiles and make comments, take part in forum, or post their own works of art or writing to the website for a public use or for small fees; the money from premium membership will go to charity causes.
All users that want to take part in the charity’s active social live or organize events for charity causes will first have to register with the website, submit their details as follows:
Full name
Country of residence
Date of birth
Current address/post code
E-mail and telephone number
A particular charity cause they are interested in
v This volunteer-type access will ensure that volunteers can also make minor amendments to their posted ads and events, and will be constantly sent newsletters or alerts from the web-master.
v Security
Security issues are related to web-site hacking and vicious malware that may block the content of the website from showing up, may trigger alerts popping up to the user trying to access the web-site, may suddenly decrease the traffic, make malicious modifications to the web-site files, code, and root folder and compromise the web-site content, down to disabling the administrator from accessing the content and damaging or deleting the business data, thereby leading to the loss of business and reputation of the site. Besides, web-sites featuring embedded blogs, forums, CMS or image galleries are particularly vulnerable to injections of hidden illicit content that is not always noticed from the first sight. For ensuring against such accidents on websites and blogs there are different Website Security monitoring systems, such as WebDefender. However, currently many web-design and development agencies offer hosting services which also include technical support packages and security features already embedded into the system. In principle, security is going to be implemented through the use of appropriate software that hosting organization can provide alongside with preventive measures that the web-administrator takes to monitor the content flow and the files being uploaded by means of CMS.

2. Web-project lifecycle
2.1. Specifying the project execution phases
The web-site project was determined to be oriented towards iterative lifecycle, depicted in the figure 2.1. The advantages of iterative lifecycle include greater interactivity and process control by the customers, which will allow completing one full cycle first and then deciding if the complete product of the cycle satisfies the requirements; if the charity management is dissatisfied with the finished product of one lifecycle, the entire lifecycle starts again until the web-site complies with all wishes and requirements of the committee.
1. First meeting and analysis of the prerequisites: discussion of the site requirements and purpose with both charity management as well as with web-designer and developer; arrangement of kick-off meetings or the communication means throughout the project.
2. Preparing the proposal: specify the site requirements together with costs involved in the project proposal, which is presented first to the managers and after having obtained their agreement, goes off to the web-designer and developer.
3. Design: web-designer comes up with a template(s) front-end for the web-project in collaboration with prototype functionality of the website generated by developer.
4. Content: the content is developed in collaboration with web-designers, managers, and interested event-organizers.
5.Design and content approval: combined design and content are presented to the charity management/committee and passed on to the next stage in case of approval.
6. Coding/developing phase: once the design and content are approved by the charity management and several important event-organizers, the developer builds design-consistent back-end of the site, using appropriate platform and commercially-viable framework. As a result the coding phase produces the dynamic content of the web-project.
7. Heavy web-application testing: different types of testing should take place after the completion of the design-coding processes as to ensure the user-compatibility and loading/traffic resilience. Testing will most probably be done by software testing specialists who will generate a report and sign off the web-site if it contains no bugs and complies with the above-mentioned requirements.
8. Final web-site approval meeting and presentation: charity organizers will have to approve of the final product and sign off the actual web-site completion phase.
9. Web-site promotion: official web-site domain and host service registration together with engine injection; applying for advertisement space-grant on Google.
Maintenance and updating: rather continuous process and will have to be systematically utilized for web-site technical support and content management.
2.2. Gantt chart and schedule
For the convenience, the project manager can construct the schedule and Gantt chart of his own contributions to the project. Basically, his schedule will not include project execution details and technical implementations, but very broad picture of basic project stages. Both his schedule and Gantt chart are shown in the table and figure consecutively. The ongoing assumption is that the project inception started on March 1 and proceeds till 20 of April of the next year, thus taking roughly 9 months of time. Table 2.2 and figure 2.2. show the visual representation of the time allocated to the web-project.
1.3. Approximate cost of the project
The costs presumably involved into the process can be described in the following table (some unpredicted costs or contingency expenditures are not taken into account):
3.Web-site back-up systems
3.1. Introduction
It is inevitable that the web-site project should be backed-up by not only hard drive on the computer, which will be prone to sudden damages, but also on other reliable media as well as somewhere in the remote location, so that if one location happens to experience flood, fire, or other emergencies, the data is still secure and kept safe. As the website contents are going to be dynamic, the updated contents should be backed up regularly as well.
3.2. Backing up online
There are different ways to back up the system, not least of them resorting to external parties to back up your data online, so-called application cloud services or remote back-up services. Cloud servers are best to exploit when there is little computing resource in-house to maintain the site regularly; the companies like Backup Technologies, Mozy, Safesync Trend Micro, Norton, M4 systems utilize special software on their remote servers for recovery and back-up of files, e-mails, and databases. However, there are security concerns related to online backing up as, although slightest, there is a chance of hacking the servers on the network and damaging the data.
1.3. Physical onsite backup measures
Another option would be to exploit physical back-up such as tape drives. The only concern about the tape-back-up is its costliness: tape drives are the most reliable media for backing up large chunks of data and therefore can cost up to ? 700 for a drive.
Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks (RAID) is another popular option for storing and backing up the web-site in-house, on internal servers. RAID systems nowadays can come already embedded into end-user interfaces, although the possibility of purchasing RAID externally for a charity office server will allow for wider and more relevant choice to be made. RAID systems have three most substantial advantages over other back-up systems in terms of redundancy (if one drive of the whole bunch of hard drives on RAID gets damaged, it can be easily replaced without affecting other disks, usually using mirroring technique), increased performance (dependent on versions of RAID used and the number of drives, usually RAID 0+1 version), and lower costs as compared to tape drives (for the charity the RAID used is one with 4 TB of storing capacity with the moderate cost up to ?500.
1.4. Recommendation
For the current web-project it is decided to use RAID backup system, which will cost ? 500 together with online back-up for ?30 a year. This solution is the most viable as it ensures against data damage and loss both online and offline, thus creating double fortification of the invaluable business content.
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