We had the opportunity to work with Show Hope - a nonprofit based in Franklin Tennessee - on a new project that they were organizing to bring orphan awareness to college students. Show Hope is a non-profit organization that mobilizes individuals and communities to meet the most pressing needs of orphans in distress by providing homes for these children through adoption aid grants and life-saving medical care for orphans with special needs.
The Red Bus Project obtained an iconic red double-decker bus that was shipped to the United States from the U.K. The bus was completely refurbished and painted bright red. The inside of the bus was converted into a mobile clothing store. The vehicle went on a tour along with a band and a large group of volunteers to a number of college campuses. Their mission was to bring forward awareness of the needs of orphans on college campuses while also raising funds to support Show Hope.
Students were invited to take part in a number of activities throughout the day, which included a concert each evening. They were also able to shop in the mobile clothing store all afternoon and evening. To support the cause, students could donate money or they could give some of their own clothing to be sold in the mobile store at campuses that were scheduled for dates slated later in the tour.
We were asked to create a website for the project as well as assist with other interactive endeavors pertaining to the tour.
At the onset of the project, we discussed what the immediate interactive needs would be, as well as those that the client foresaw for the future of the project. Show Hope had big ideas about where the project could lead, but also realized that it needed to gain momentum before some of these ideas could be executed. To help secure their vision for the future, we built a custom web application for the site to run off of. This custom system will allow for future scalability as features are added while also providing immediate benefits. By crafting a system for the specific needs of the Red Bus Project, we were able to create a simple streamlined system that allowed all of the staff on the road to quickly post content to the site. These amenities were invaluable to thoseout on the tour because they were often working days with little downtime. Thus, a custom system was able to make at least one of their daily tasks easier. Additionally, this allowed for content to be posted promptly and often, which kept the momentum in top condition.
Since the initiative was catered towards college students, we felt that the site should be as well. James was an adjunct professor of design for the past three years and saw students regularly using post-PC devices to interact online. Therefore, we created a responsive site that would respond to the size of the browser. Students that primarily used a phone or tablet to connect were able to interact with the site without a downgraded experience.
Since the initial content was limited and posted several times a day, we also created a very vertical online atmosphere that would have a similar experience to social networking. The pages utilized a lot of vertical navigation as you viewed the content on your computer, tablet or phone. To aid in this experience, the photos would load as you scrolled down the page. We wanted the visitor to interact with it much like they would if they were scrolling through a Facebook or Twitter feed. This way, the students would not only go online to view themselves and their friends, they would visit the other location pages to see how the Red Bus tour affected other campuses. The result was a site that received a high level of traffic from a number of various devices.
In order to continue the experience after the on-campus event, students were able to sign up in various levels of volunteer participation. Signups were conducted using iPads through an efficient system we established. The information was sorted and students were encouraged via email campaigns to conduct their own on-campus activities to raise orphan awareness. The project was wildly successful on campuses and online. The Red Bus Tour is continuing to promote their message by visiting and fundraising at college campuses nationwide.
View the site: RedBusProject.org