Case Study: Four States for Dean / Four States for Democracy

Four States for DeanIn 2004, the Dean for America campaign was on the forefront of “netroots” organizing and demonstrated just how powerful a tool the Internet can be. One of the most successful strategies of the campaign was been the promotion of local meetings of supporters
and volunteers, organized through

An outgrowth of the Hagerstown, Maryland Meetup, Four-States for Dean was a group of supporters of Gov. Howard Dean’s presidential campaign, located in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.
This website facilitated communication between group members and others about upcoming events, campaign news, resources and action items.

To allow interaction between the group’s coordinator and users of the website, CyberInfinity Design developed a dynamic, database-driven website with an administration interface.

Four States for DeanThe most time-sensitive information, News Articles and Action Alerts, were featured prominantly on the homepage. Both of these features could be edited via the administrative interface. The administrator could also designate which items to display first, or temporarily disable individual items.

News Articles were linked to an off-site source for the full article, while Action Alerts might be linked to other sites where the user can get more information. There was also a complete archive of all News Articles, accessible from the main menu.

Four States for DeanWebsite users were able to submit suggestions for the Upcoming Events and Helpful Links pages. When submitted, the information was automatically entered into the database, but flagged as “pending.” An email was sent to the group coordinator, who could then go to the administrative interface and either approve or delete the suggestion. If approved, the new information was visible on the website immediately.

Users wishing to get involved with the group were able to submit a contact form and indicate which constituent groups they were affiliated with and the ways in which they were interested in helping. This data was also saved, building a volunteer database that could be used by the group when planning future events.

Four States for DeanOther sections of the website included information about Howard Dean and his stance on various issues, information about the group, and a list of ways to get involved with the campaign.

Through interactivity and flexibility, this website connected Four-States for Dean coordinators, group members and other users to each other and to other participants in the widespread grassroots effort to support Gov. Dean’s candidacy.

When Gov. Dean suspended his presidential campaign and founded Democracy for America, the group renamed itself Four-States for Democracy, and the website was rebranded, but retained all of its functionality.

Case Study: Edwards & George, LLP

Edwards & George, LLPEdwards & George, LLP was a Texas-based law firm that practiced in all areas of civil litigation, from torts to commercial cases, and from claim investigations to appeals. CyberInfinity Design developed an entire “family” of websites for the firm to highlight a number of specific issues and individual cases.

The primary website provided basic information about the firm, including primary areas of practice and biographies of the attorneys, while several other websites focused on specific legal issues or individual cases.

Some of the firm’s websites provided information about a general  area of the law. Overtime Lawyer discussed the Fair Labor Standard Act and employees’ rights to overtime pay. The website included a list of FLSA terms, an explanation of the requirements for overtime exemption, overtime regulations pertaining to specific jobs, a list of “common overtime mistakes” and answers to several frequently asked questions about the FLSA.

Overtime LawyerOther sites, such as UTMB Lawsuit provided information about individual cases and were used to keep all of the involved parties up to date on the latest developments in the case. These sites typically included background information about the case, a timeline of events in the case, court documents, usually in Adobe PDF format, and links to media coverage of the case.

In order to maintain a consistent “look and feel” between all sites in the Edwards & George, LLP family, CyberInfinity
Design developed a basic template that is used for all of the secondary sites. While distinctly different from the primary site, this template used the same colors, fonts and other design elements to maintain a solid visual thread connecting all of the firm’s websites. By changing a few images, this standard template could easily be customized for each individual site, while the overall impression of the design remained the same.

UTMB Willed BodyIn addition to providing visual consistency, the use of the template greatly reduced development time, of vital importance when a new case was progressing rapidly and the client needed a site launched within a day or two.

Having a number of separate but related sites allowed the firm to focus on a variety of legal issues and individual cases while the consistent image presented by the entire Edwards & George, LLP family of websites helped to maintain and reinforce the firm’s branding.

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.

Case Study: Grethe Cammermeyer

Cammermeyer.comIn 1989, Col. Margarethe Cammermeyer, having served in the US Army for 25 years, challenged the military’s anti-gay policy. Her story drew national attention and her autobiography, Serving in Silence, was adapted into a television movie.

Colonel Grethe Cammermeyer’s own life experiences helped shape the focus of her website. She is a Vietnam veteran and Bronze Star recipient, former Chief Nurse of the Washington State National Guard, the 1998 Democratic nominee from the 2nd Congressional District of Washington, a gay activist, the mother of four and grandmother of seven.

Thus, in addition to a personal glimpse into the lives of Grethe and her family, the site provides information and resources on Military Issues, Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Issues, Health Issues and Politics, as well as issuing “Action Alerts” on these and other issues of concern. The message board provides a forum for dialogue between Grethe and visitors to her website. Admin LoginIn order to give Grethe access to edit site content herself, CyberInfinity Design developed a dynamic database-driven website with a custom-built administrative interface. Virtually all of the content that one sees on the site is actually stored in a SQL database which Grethe can edit using the administrative interface. Through this interface, she can control the content of individual pages, add or edit resources and links, update action alerts and upload photos. The interface also allows for administration of the message board and two separate email lists.

When visitors submit recommendations for additional resources, they are entered directly into the database and Grethe is notified by email. After screening the suggested resources, it takes only a few clicks for her to approve them and they are then immediately visible on the website. A similar notification and approval strategy is used with the message board, in order to allow Grethe to screen all posts before they are live on the site. AdminGrethe used her site to collect stories from GLBT veterans and service members for possible inclusion in an upcoming book on the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Veterans can submit their stories from the website. The stories are also saved directly to the database. To protect their privacy, this information is visible only within the password-protected administrative interface.

By working closely with Col. Cammermeyer to determine her goals and needs, CyberInfnity Design created a website that fulfills both her desire for comprehensive, yet user-friendly, control of the site’s content and her vision for the site itself.