Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Heartland Weimaraner Rescue Project Launch

It is finals week at the end of the quarter for the Managing Technical Teams class and the student groups have launched their projects. This team helped to rebuild and add features to website for an organization, Heartland Weimaraner Rescue, dedicated to the adoption of and care for abandoned Weimaraners. A fitting response to my directive that they "make a contribution to the community utilizing technology".

Below is one of the teams release, which resulted in their getting posted in Press Release Central of the Kansas City Star.

UW-Tacoma students launch updated website for Heartland Weimaraner Rescue of Pleasant Valley

HWR Tech Team from UW Tacoma: From left to right: Robert Flood, Tom Rochat, Mary Kozy, Brad Shellman, and Alfredo Tabulina

HWR Tech Team from UW Tacoma:
From left to right: Robert Flood, Tom Rochat, Mary Kozy, Brad Shellman, and Alfredo Tabulina
Fresher, more visually engaging, and up-to-date web design with social media integration helps Pleasant Valley group to help abandoned Weimaraners find their forever homes.

Tacoma, WA (February 27, 2012) – Pleasant Valley-based Heartland Weimaraner Rescue (HWR), a nonprofit organization with the stated mission of rescuing and placing unwanted Weimaraner dogs, has recently
launched an updated website, www.heartlandweimrescue.org. The website update was taken on by a group of University of Washington Tacoma Information Technology & Systems (ITS) students for a team management class project with the main focus being contributing to the community using technology. Not only was the website brought up to date in its look and feel, but an advertising video was created and added to the home page to help showcase the group’s amazing work.

New functionality added to the site includes an e-commerce page utilizing Google Checkout that allows visitors to purchase merchandise in one location with trusted payment processing. In addition, a $10,000 grant was garnered from Google to offset the per transaction cost and keep the funds with the organization. Social media tie-ins that aid visitors in locating HWR’s Facebook presence (as well as Twitter functionality being added) will also help drive traffic to both venues. A simple “Donate” button was added to each page to increase potential for monetary donations. In addition, more intuitive dropdown navigation makes finding content easier for site visitors and the overall design was created with future expansion of the site and content in mind.

One of the challenges facing HWR was overall maintenance of the site and keeping information about adoptable dogs up to date. Embedded content that reflects information posted to the HWR’s rescueportal.org page makes those updates a one-step process. Gail Orth-Aikmus, founding director of HWR, stated, “What an honor it was for our rescue group to be chosen as a project by the University [students]. While most groups would appreciate the work that has been done, I can honestly say that the work that [the UW ITS team] did for us saved our rescue group, and kept me involved in my ‘quest’ to save as many Weimaraners as I can.”

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