Case Study: The Gay & Lesbian Switchboard of Harrisburg

Gay and Lesbian Switchboard of HarrisburgThe Gay and Lesbian Switchboard of Harrisburg was a nonprofit 501c(3) organization that operated an information resource center for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered communities of Central Pennsylvania. The Switchboard operated telephone and Internet information services and conducted other special projects to deliver  information about, and to, the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered communities in the geographic regions including Harrisburg, Lancaster, York, Reading, Williamsport and State College, Pennsylvania.

GLSH’s goal was for the website to be essentially an online version of the switchboard, in addition to providing general information about the organization and its services. While some sections of the website would require little ongoing maintenance, the primary challenge was to allow for frequent updating of the resource list and calendar of events, while maintaining consistency between the information available on the website and that provided by the switchboard’s volunteer telephone operators. The client also wanted to create an efficient way for visitors to the website to recommend resources and add events to the calendar.

Gay and Lesbian Switchboard of HarrisburgThe solution was a website that is was combination of static HTML pages and dynamic database-generated pages. All of the resource and events informationwas stored in a SQL database and could be accessed by the public on the main website, or by GLSH administrators and volunteers through a custom designed two-tiered administrative interface.

The Administrator Interface allowed the organization’s administrators to enter resources and events into the database, edit existing listings and approve or reject listings that had been submitted by community members via the website.

The Volunteer Interface allowed phone volunteers to search the database by both category and city, quickly  pinpointing the resources that would be most beneficial to each caller. Volunteers also had access to the complete list of upcoming events.

Gay and Lesbian Switchboard of HarrisburgWhen a user submitted a resource or event, the information was automatically added to the database and an administrator was notified via email. Suggested additions could be approved from the Administrator Interface
and made visible on the website immediately. There was also an option for making a particular resource visible within the GLSH Volunteer interface but not on the public site.

By having an efficient method for updating, allowing for input from the community and using the same database to provide the website’s content and the information for the volunteers, CyberInfinity Design created a system in which the Gay and Lesbian Switchboard of Harrisburg could be confident that all of their members, volunteers and clients had access to the most complete and accurate list of resources possible.