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Revised Draft SEED

Page history last edited by fs7648@... 6 years, 1 month ago

Feasibility Report Draft

 

Executive Summary 
Introduction

This feasibility study addresses issues with the current state of SEED Wayne's website and suggests ways to improve it to further align with the group's mission and goals.  SEED Wayne is a prominent student organization at Wayne State making an invaluable difference to sustainable food systems around Detroit. The goal of this study is to produce practical alternatives to help the SEED Wayne website more accurately reflect the organization and improve marketability.  The current state of the website is functional , however it is not very aesthetically pleasing or persuasive to visitors of the site.  Having and maintaining a good, usable website is vital for a thriving organization.  An improved website for SEED Wayne could improve overall awareness of the organization around Wayne State and around the Detroit community.

 

 

Overview of Alternatives

 

The SEED Wayne website needs to be renovated. To approach the renovation needs for the current SEED Wayne site, we came up with four suggestions they could consider to improve the site.

 

Alternative 1: No Action

This option would change nothing.  It would keep the current website as-is. This would require no time or resources being used by SEED Wayne and would keep the maintenance of the site up to the members of the organization. 

 

Alternative 2: Hire a Professional Web Designer 

This alternative would require hiring a professional Web Designer.  This would come at a monetary cost, but would produce professional quality work.  This alternative could provide maintenance of the site as well.  

Alternative 3: Implement a Class Project     

This suggestion would require SEED Wayne approaching a students that are majoring in or taking classes in computer science or graphic design with a project that would improve the current website.  A yearly project to maintain the website could also be offered.  An incentive for students who designed the best website would be offered.

 

Alternative 4: Find Volunteers
The last suggestion is to have volunteers renovate the website. The volunteer would be preferably a student from Wayne State that finished there degree in computer science or graphic design and is interested in expanding their portfolio by renovating SEED Wayne's website.

 

Criteria 

To determine the best alternative of the ones presented, each one will be assessed by four criteria.

 

Desirability

The alternatives chosen will all be rated on how well they align with what SEED Wayne as an organization wants and what a good urban gardening organization's website should look like.  If the client whose webpage is being renovated does not desire the new outcome, that alternative will be completely ignored.  Likewise, if the website doesn't reflect what a urban gardening website should that alternative is not good solution to the problem.  It is very important to evaluate each alternative presented by how desirable that way of approaching renovating their current webpage is the SEED Wayne.

 

Ease of Implementation

The most attractive options are ones that will be the easiest to put in place.  This means that the solution must be cost effective, timely, and require minimal effort on the part of SEED Wayne.  The harder it is for the organization to implement, the less willing they will be to consider that alternative. 

 

Usability

Each solution presented must create a webpage that is usable.  A webpage that is more user friendly and easier to navigate is always favored over a website that is difficult to use. The usability of the current SEED Wayne webpage is an issue and the main reason for renovating the site. If the website's usability is not improved by an alternative no real improvement has been made.

 

Improved Marketability

The new webpage should benefit SEED Wayne as an organization like most good websites do, by increasing their marketability.  Increased marketability will make the renovation worth while to the organization.  A very marketable website can improve membership, funding, volunteers, and the overall awareness of the group.  

 

Research Methods

Collectively, the group identified a total of six research questions to maintain focus and help narrow the scope of our feasibility study.  These research questions were divided into the following categories: Analysis of SEED Wayne, How to Renovate a Website, Benefits of a Renovated Website, and Comparing Urban Garden Websites.  Based on these categories primary and secondary research was conducted.  The research was then used to evaluate the alternatives.

 

To answer the research questions referred to above, multiple approaches for completing primary research and secondary research were taken. For primary research a set of interview questions was created directed toward the organizational leader of SEED Wayne. This interview gave us a lot of background information on the organization. This information was useful to determine the extent of work that needed to be done for the website. Another interview was also conducted with a web designer.  This was a simple interview looking into the cost and potential time line to create a website for a school organization.  A usability test was also created which compared SEED Wayne's website to other websites of universities affiliated urban gardening. The usability test had participants locate and paraphrase information from both websites, which evaluated the usability of both sites and which had a better webdesign. Another usability test was conducted solely on SEED Wayne's website.  This usability test evaluated whether or not SEED Wayne's website accurately represented their goals and mission.

 

To accurately and credibly complete this feasibility study, many secondary sources were referred to and utilized.  One resource that provided a wealth of information pertaining to our subject is the Wikipedia footnotes pertaining to marketing, advertising, urban studies, and urban planning.  The marketing and advertising footnotes will information about how an improved website could benefit SEED Wayne as an organization.  The urban studies and urban planning notes may provide us with good information about urban gardening and its benefits to help the group better understand what SEED Wayne wants their website to portray.  The current SEED Wayne Website is also a great secondary source because from it we can understand the organizations goals and missions.  We can also compare the current site to other university affiliated urban gardening websites to see where the current website is lacking. 

 

More of our secondary research will come from books and articles on urban gardening and marketing.  Gaining knowledge about urban gardening will make us, as a group, more credible and therefore more persuasive to the decision makers of SEED Wayne.  Information about marketing will help us assess the need for an improved website and also make our feasibility study more credible and persuasive.  Looking at internet articles pertaining to web design and website narratives will also be added to our list of secondary research.  These will help us determine what benefits and drawbacks will come with each of our proposed ideas on how to implement a renovated website.  For example, we will look at the web design capabilities of professional web developers, students, and volunteers and will analyze their effectiveness vs. their cost.  Looking into website narratives will help us propose a website that will be usable and interesting, but also clear and concise.  Finally, the last secondary resource we will utilize are other feasibility studies pertaining to our topic.  We will look at these good examples and try to emulate the quality in the feasibility study we are creating.

 

When writing the report, to ensure each member has a complete understanding of our objective and the quality of the research we will present, we have created a team charter that each member has signed a hard copy of.  By signing the charter, members have agreed to the time table and level of scrutiny we hold to create valuable information for our audience.  

 

Vittoria Veltri has been designated by members of the group as the team leader.  As team leader, she is responsible for the creation of the time table and keeping all members up-to-date with new developments and enforcing deadlines in the group.  Tiarra Cody is in charge of recording all of our team meetings in designated sections labeled "Minutes."  She is in charge of cataloging the details, decisions, and concerns that members voice in meetings.  All team members are responsible for contributing and properly sourcing research conducted via primary or secondary research.  Primary research will be conducted primarily by Matthew Kable and Kevin Azar, and secondary research will be conducted by all members of our team. Secondary research has been divided into types of information (newsletters, wikipedias, etc.) created in team minutes and each member has volunteered to study one of those sources.  All information will be presented in a layered approach where final editors, Matthew Kable, Tre'Lon Hunt, and Vittoria Veltri, will provide cohesiveness to the content for a clean and concise report.    

 

FINDINGS

 

Desirability of Urban Gardening Websites 

 

Evaluating the current website is a necessary first step in order see what can be improved.  It is also important to know what they would want on their website because we want to understand not only how they would update their site, but the means they have to undertake any meaningful revisions.  Finding out what SEED Wayne values and how they wish it to be portrayed helps us provide them with better choices that will align with their mission.  To evaluate these research questions an interview, a usability test, and secondary research into the organization was conducted.

 

 

Usability 

 

As a part of our feasibility study, we decided to create a usability test to examine some of the students of Wayne State University. The test was designed to attain feedback of their thoughts on the SEED Wayne website. From design to layout, the questions were gauged to gather an understanding of what they thought about the website itself and what they would ultimately want from the site. Lastly, we wanted to know if the site delivered its purpose of presenting the viewers of what SEED's mission and goals were and what their vision was as an organization.
Most of our feedback from the usability test will back that the existing SEED website does not meet our criteria. All students who took part in our test had something negative to say about the design and structure of the website. From being unorganized, unbalanced, and visually not appealing there were many negative things to say about the desirability of the current Wayne SEED website. This was the biggest criticism of the SEED Wayne website, not only was it difficult to navigate for students of Wayne St, but it was completely out of date. This is the type of site that needs to be updated on the regular to continue to attract the attention of new and current students. A website that is visually appealing and shares the goals of the organization. There needs to be a certain balance of graphic and informative design. The figure below shows a chart of students answering some questions about SEED Wayne website vs. Michigan State and Harvard University:

 

A new website for SEED Wayne is crucial to becoming a successful organization; this group has all the potential. Sometimes to expand you must first invest in yourself. With a new revised website, it will only increase traffic through SEED Wayne, and with that increased traffic more people will know about their organization. Word of mouth is the best advertising, getting the name out there will be a huge accomplishment. With the buzz of SEED Wayne, organizing all sorts of events to help raise funding and awareness for SEED will be a lot easier because students, staff, and Detroit's local community will hopefully already have heard of SEED.

 


Jakob Nielsen’s studyon the ideal number of test subjects in usability tests found that tests with just five users would reveal about 85% of all problems with your website, whereas 15 users would find pretty much all problems.

 

Jakob Nielsen’s study on the ideal number of test subjects in usability tests found that tests with just five users would reveal about 85% of all problems with your website, whereas 15 users would find pretty much all problems. 

http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/09/24/10-useful-usability-findings-and-guidelines/ 

 

 

Secondary Research 

 

 

From SEED Wayne's website their mission is to "build sustainable food systems on the campus of Wayne State and in Detroit communities."  Some of their goals are to work with community based organizations and to heavily involve students and the university (SEED Wayne).  Education and spreading awareness about urban gardening is also important to the organization which is obvious from their current website.  These things are important to note because this tells us what they consider important to include in their website to accurately represent their organization.

http://clas.wayne.edu/seedwayne/ (SEED Wayne. (n.d.). Retrieved April 13, 2015, from http://clas.wayne.edu/seedwayne/)

 

More about SEED Wayne's goals were discovered when reviewing a power point presentation made by the head of SEED.  In order to achieve their mission, they want to "systematically link education, research, engagement, and operations" (Pothukuchi).  SEED Wayne's website should accurately reflect this and help facilitate that goal. A good website would be able to incorporate all of those things.

 

Implementation of a Redesigned Site

 

This question is the essence of our feasibility study.  Having a professional create the website is probably the best way to ensure the highest quality, but that would require funding to outsource the scope of work needed to be done to a professional web designer. If it is too costly better alternatives would involve having students work on it as a project or contest, or find volunteers to work on the site.  An interview with the leader of SEED Wayne and secondary research was conducted to look into these alternatives.

 

Interview 500 to make the site, 200 for maintenance, 100 per major revision; timetable 3-5 days to make 

professional designer (freelance)

 

Secondary Research 

 

 

Marketing Benefits of Redesigning the Site

 

Knowing the benefits to an organization of a high quality website will make our feasibility study more credible and persuasive. We will look at different marketing and advertising research to learn what exactly attracts people to certain websites and what will cause them to become interested in the content of the site. Looking at how a well-designed website affects participation, productivity, and funding in organizations will also greatly increase our persuasiveness.

 

Secondary Research

NOTE: Still in Progress; Not entirely sure how or what should be considered for this part

One of the many good reasons for a website to be updated through a professional designer is to improve the sites search engine visibility (Website Design News).  When a professional redesigns your site, he/she will include Search Engine Optimization keywords, or SEO's, throughout your site leading to increases in traffic with those invested in community gardens, urban agriculture, etc.  The more SEO's, the better exposure your site will receive (Forman).  

 

The way content is displayed, and the ease of finding content that the user wants, is critical in maintaining visitors and ensuring they come back.  

"The first 10 seconds your target markets spend on your company's website are among the most crucial. Site visitors determine whether they will become site users. They perceive the value of your site. They form first impressions about your company and predict the likelihood of finding useful information on your website. Many visitors will leave your website immediately because the site seems unrelated to their search."(Bizfilings).  This is a reflection of the expectations set by internet users when looking for data.  As a community organizer, it is important to create users rather than visitors.  This will create a higher success rate of those that volunteer, donate, or share information on social media.  Nowadays, Google's algorithms study the content put on websites: the quality, how often content is updated, and how it is shared (Forman).  While Google is making it easier to find better information from your site, if you are not updating the information Google will actually place you even lower in the search results making it harder to find potential visitors who may contribute to your mission and goals.  

 

Proper design is extremely  important for not only expressing content, but extending trust to the community and those you wish to engage with.  As stated by________, "Design is a key determinant to building online trust with consumers. For motivated users of an information site, bad design (busy layout, small print, too much text) hurts more than good design helps." Sillence, Briggs, et al. (2004).  This is also confirmed by Bizfilings and may be the most important reason to update your site because it is much harder to develop users within the community when they begin with a negative impression of your organization from something as simple as design.  This is also an extension of credibility.  When visitors have a negative experience from a site, or feel the site is poorly designed, they lose credibility in the organization and their effectiveness.  As a community organizer, it is imperative to create a feeling of trust and credibility to your constituents. 

 

 

"Some of the reasons that potential donors decide not to give online are related to the website’s design elements. Having a cluttered page, unclear copy writing and a confusing process are all reasons that people frequently choose not to donate on nonprofit sites," ( Gramigna).

 

 

 

 

Usability of Urban Gardening Websites  http://www.business2community.com/online-marketing/top-benefits-good-website-0920931

 

Looking into this question will allow us to see the key characteristics of a well designed urban gardening webpage. We will be able to compare more successful sites to SEED Wayne's and therefore provide a clear contrast between their site and a well executed site. This will enhance the credibility and persuasiveness of our feasibility study.  A usability test on the other websites and secondary research was used to evaluate this research question.

 

There are a lot of factors that contribute to make any successful website. Most importantly how the website is designed, laid out, and the content in which the site provides. Comparing SEED Wayne's website to some more successful websites we were able to pick, choose, and compare some of the things on other university websites that made them so successful. In these comparisons we noticed where SEED Wayne's website lacked tremendously. The ideas and goals seemed to be present, but were very unorganized and scattered throughout the website. Whereas some of the other sites we compared, the content and design was much more organized. A big reason why those other sites are rated higher than SEED Wayne's. 

 

Usability Test

 

Secondary Research 

The way content is displayed, and the ease of finding content that the user wants, is critical in maintaining visitors and ensuring they come back.  

"The first 10 seconds your target markets spend on your company's website are among the most crucial. Site visitors determine whether they will become site users. They perceive the value of your site. They form first impressions about your company and predict the likelihood of finding useful information on your website. Many visitors will leave your website immediately because the site seems unrelated to their search."(Bizfilings).  This is a reflection of the expectations set by internet users when looking for data.  As a community organizer, it is important to create users rather than visitors.  This will create a higher success rate of those that volunteer, donate, or share information on social media.  Nowadays, Google's algorithms study the content put on websites: the quality, how often content is updated, and how it is shared (Forman).  While Google is making it easier to find better information from your site, if you are not updating the information Google will actually place you even lower in the search results making it harder to find potential visitors who may contribute to your mission and goals.  

 

 

Evaluation

  • Alternative 1: No Action
  • This is the current state of things right now.  No changes would be made to the website.  Based on the criteria used to evaluate the alternatives this would solution would meet very few of them.  The outcome would not be desirable because, as derived from the results of the usability test, SEED Wayne's website does not accurately display their mission or goals as an organization.  The current state of the site's usability also would not be improved, which was highlighted as an issue based on the second usability test results. The usability of the cite also affects the marketability of the site.  If the site remains hard to use and does not convey what SEED Wayne stands for people are less likely to be interested in the organization and will be deterred from trying to get involved.  However, this alternative would be the easiest to implement because the current system is already in place and would cost SEED Wayne nothing in time or money.
  • Alternative 2: Professional Web designer 
  • SEED Wayne is a unique organization here at Wayne State and it's website should capture it's audience. Our first suggestion for the website's renovation is to hire a professional web designer. A web designer could make a professional and usable website in no time. The website would be aesthetically pleasing, but it does come at a cost to the organization. A good website renovation could cost between $1250 up to $20,000 for a full site. However, we are operating within the university's domain, so we would be closer to the lower end. If we would like them to maintain the website, that would be an additional annual cost. It is an option to consider.  
  • http://webdesign.about.com/od/beforeyoustartawebsite/a/how-much-should-a-web-design-cost.htm 

 

How Much Should a Web Design Cost

Budgeting for a Professional Design for a Small Business Website

 

 

 

    • Criteria 1: Desirablility
      • What we know: very professional looking, run the most smoothly, least amount of worry/not supervision required, they are experienced
      • What we need to know:  What seed Wayne actually desires (interview), Secondary research from current seed Wayne website, power point (Tori)
    • Criteria 2:  Implementation
      • What we know: Most expensive option because it is by a professional, easiest to implement, they would have to go through wayne.edu and learn Wayne's website which would be easier for a professional to do it as opposed to volunteers
      • What we need to know: look into the difference between a web designer making the site and maintaining it and a web designer just making the site but not maintaining it,  how much it costs, how would they deal with wayne states policies
    • Criteria 3: Usability
      • What we know: The usability would be top notch, easy to navigate and user friendly
      • What we need to know: the current usability of their website (usability test), usability of a professionally done SEED website and compare the two (usability test)
    • Criteria 4: Marketability
      • What we know: anything done professionally should be appealing to readers, they would know how to create a website that would market an organization, they would know how to let people donate money electronically and how to advertise events and create awarness of SEED wayne.
      • What we need to know:  how marketable the current website is (usability test), research how to market a website (secondary research)
  • Student Project
  • Our second suggestion is to turn the website renovation into a class project for students here at Wayne State University. This suggestion has two options.  SEED Wayne could connect with the students taking computer science as a major to improve the website's usability. They could also offer a yearly project to maintain the website. If you want a website that will really capture the reader's attention, you should offer the project to the students taking up graphic arts as a major. Those website ideas would be creativity and enjoyable to read. You can have those students design different pages linked to the SEED Wayne website. These options would not cost any money, however we think its a good idea to offer the best students an incentive, such as discounts on the fruits and vegetable you sell on campus. 
    • Criteria 1: Desirability
      • What we know: gets Wayne state students involved, it keeps it local, have to convince a Wayne state web design class to take this on as a project
      • What we need to know: What seed Wayne actually desires (Matt interview), Secondary research from current seed Wayne website, powerpoint (Tori)
    • Criteria 2: Implementation
      • What we know: maintenance would be free if it was an assignment every year. It would be free, would involve more on SEED Wayne's part to supervise and pitch the idea to students
      • What we need to know: if seed Wayne would be willing to work with students/ pitch it to students in the fall (Matt interview
    • Criteria 3: Usability
      • What we know: most likely would not be as easy to navigate as a professionally done website,
      • What we need to know: the current usability of their website (usability test), usability of a professionally done SEED website and compare the two (usability test)
    • Criteria 4: Marketability
      • What we know: SEED Wayne would have to pitch to the students how they want their website to be marketed, would probably not be marketed as well as a professional web designer
      • What we need to know:  how marketable the current website is (usability test), research how to market a website (secondary research)
  • Volunteer
  • This could be an opportunity for them to gain some more experience, and show off their work. Here at Wayne State there could be some student's that is interested in web design that could renovate the website for a community service opportunity. This option would not cost any money, but it may take up some time to make sure the volunteers understand the goals for the organization and the purpose of the website. [MOVE TO EVALUATION SECTION]  
    • Criteria 1: Desirability
      • What we know: it would keep it local, would have to maintain the website themselves, might not be as good of quality as if it was a class assignment or done by a web designer
      • What we need to know:  What seed Wayne actually desires (interview), Secondary research from current seed Wayne website, power point (Tori)
    • Criteria 2: Implementation
      • What we know: It would be free, relatively easy to find a beginning web designer who wants to add to their portfolio to do it for free, it could keep it local, there would probably be now maintenance offered
      • What we need to know: how willing seed Wayne would be to work with volunteers (Matt interview) 
    • Criteria 3: Usability
      • What we know: taking more of a risk to the usability as opposed to creating the website through a class assignment (which would have teacher supervision) or a professional web designer, more supervision would be required of SEED Wayne
      • What we need to know: the current usability of their website (usability test), usability of a professionally done SEED website and compare the two (usability test)
    • Criteria 4: Marketability 
      • What we know: A volunteer may not know how to market the site as well as a group of students with teacher supervision or a professional web designer, More supervision required by SEED Wayne
      • What we need to know: how marketable the current website is (usability test), research how to market a website (secondary research)

Conclusions
Recommendations 

Citations

 

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