Response to Rfp Request for Proposal, Creating Database, Integration and Development of Dynamic Web Based Portal

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Response to Rfp Request for Proposal, Creating Database, Integration and Development of Dynamic Web Based Portal Powered By Docstoc
					Northeastern Illinois University
                     Technical Proposal
                                Original
                    RFP No. NEIUWEB

    WEB DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT SERVICES
               Response to Request for Proposal


                                       August 4, 2003




                                         Presented by:


                       RiPPLE EFFECTS INTERACTIVE
                                     4618 Henry Street
                                 Pittsburgh, PA 15213
                                        412-683-3700

                       www.RippleEffectsInteractive.com
                                                          1
TECHNICAL PROPOSAL - TABLE OF CONENTS

INTRODUCTION ……………………………………………………………………………………………                           3

COMPANY INFORMATION ………………………………………………………………………………                         4

PROJECT MANAGEMENT AND EXECUTIVE SUMMARY …………………………………………..                33

ENGAGEMENT REQUIREMENTS …………………………………………………………..                   APPENDIX I

VENDOR DISCLOSURE OF FINANCIAL INTERESTS ……………………………………            APPENDIX IV

ILLINOIS PUBLIC HIGHER EDUCATION BIDDER APPLICATION FORM ……………..   APPENDIX V




                                                                                 2
INTRODUCTION

Ripple Effects Interactive is pleased to present Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) our response to the
Request for Proposal (RFP) for the redevelopment of the NEIU Web site. Our RFP response outlines our
recommendations for the NEIU redevelopment project to attract new students, serve current students, increase
alumni loyalty, raise recruiter interest, promote faculty accomplishments and advance NEIU towards its long-
term goals. Ripple Effects Interactive is the ideal partner to achieve the goals set for the NEIU Web site
redevelopment project.

Ripple Effects Interactive has proven design and technical experience serving higher education clients such as
Carnegie Mellon University, Community College of Allegheny County, and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital
as well as many other clients including Coca-Cola, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, National City Bank,
and Unisys. Ripple Effects Interactive is an awarding winning, established company that has generated more
than five million dollars in annual revenue each of the past three years. Ripple Effects Interactive is a Top 50
Interactive Agency, ranked 46th in the United States by Advertising Age magazine in 2003.

In addition, Ripple Effects Interactive has extensive experience developing and implementing custom Content
Management Systems (CMS) for higher education institutions including Carnegie Mellon University and the
Community College of Allegheny CCAC. Our process and training techniques have proven to be effective. For
example, Ripple Effects Interactive developed a custom CMS for the Community College of Allegheny (CCAC),
which was used to completely redesign of their site – more than 4,000 pages. Since the CCAC Web site was
launched in early 2003, more than 150 people have used the CMS to update content on the site more than 2,300
times in six months.

Our RFP response is organized in three main sections, designed to address the requirements of the RFP as well
as provide a comprehensive overview of Ripple Effects Interactive and our services. These sections include:

        Technical Proposal
        Pricing Proposal
        Contract

Thank you for the opportunity to present our proposed solution for the NEIU Web site redevelopment project.
Should you have any questions, please contact me at 412-683-3700 x210.

Sincerely,



Shane Pryal,
Director of Business Development
(412) 683-3700
spryal@r-effects.com




                                                                                                                   3
TECHNICAL PROPOSAL

COMPANY INFORMATION

   A. The name, address, telephone, fax number, and primary contact person.

   Ripple Effects Interactive
   4618 Henry Street
   Pittsburgh, PA 15213
   Tel 412-683-3700
   Fax 412-683-1610

   Primary Contact: Shane Pryal, Director of Business Development


   B. If applicable, the company’s branch office addresses, telephone numbers, fax numbers, and
   contact persons, noting the branch office that would be used to provide the services outlined in this
   RFP.

   The Pittsburgh Office will provide the services outlined in this RFP.

   Ripple Effects Interactive – Pittsburgh
   4618 Henry Street
   Pittsburgh, PA 15213
   Tel 412-683-3700
   Fax 412-683-1610
   Contact: Shane Pryal, Director of Business Development

   Ripple Effects Interactive – Philadelphia
   Port of Technology Building
   Philadelphia, PA 19104
   Tel 215-966-6202
   Fax 215-966-6001
   Contact: Peter Schnupp – Account Executive




                                                                                                           4
C. Resumes and/or background information and experience of key management, project director
   and operational staff who will be assigned to provide the services outlined in this RFP,
   including but not limited to:
        General experience;
        Specific education web site experience regarding services being requested; and
        Qualifications and abilities to perform the services being requested.
        Technical training and education;

   LOUIS MALAFARINA
   Partner and Chief Executive Officer

   General experience
   As CEO of Ripple Effects Interactive, Malafarina provides the strategic direction that enables the
   company to pursue its commitment to "all things interactive." Prior to Ripple Effects Interactive,
   Malafarina established a reputation as a strategist with a flair for creative interactive marketing as
   Director of Client Services at Red Sky Interactive in San Francisco, the most award-winning interactive
   agency in the U.S., and before that, at Poppe Tyson in Silicon Valley. He was at the helm of some of
   the most innovative interactive projects and campaigns for some of the world's leading brands including
   Absolut Vodka, Nike, and Lands End.

   Specific education web site experience
   As CEO of Ripple Effects Interactive, Malafarina oversaw the strategy, design, development and launch
   of the following education web sites:

                Community College of Allegheny County (www.ccac.edu)
                Carnegie Mellon University Graduate School of Industrial Administration
                 (www.gsia.cmu.edu)
                Carnegie Mellon University Office of University Advancement
                 (www.cmu.edu/studentsupport/)
                Carnegie Mellon University Center for Economic Development (www.smartpolicy.org)
                Carnegie Mellon University Master of Information Systems Management
                 (http://www.mism.cmu.edu/Application/)
                Gateway School District (Currently Under Development)
                Thomas Jefferson University Hospital (http://www.jeffersonhospital.org/)

   Qualifications and abilities to perform
   Malafarina came to the interactive world after a four-year "tour of duty" in advertising. He was recruited
   by Taxi, an edgy creative shop in Montreal, as an Account Supervisor. While there, he started Taxi's
   high-tech division and drove its marketing strategy. Before Taxi, Malafarina developed advertising
   strategies, brand positioning, and communications campaigns at Ogilvy & Mather/Montreal, for
   Seagrams, Campbell's Soup and Glaxo/Wellcome.

   Technical training and education
   Malafarina has an MBA from McGill University, with a concentration in Marketing, and a BA degree
   from the University of Quebec in Montreal.


                                                                                                                5
CARL KELLY
Partner and Chief Technology Officer

General experience
Kelly is the heart of the Ripple Effects Interactive team of programming specialists, driving all aspects of
technology — from determining functional specifications to programming, testing and quality assurance.
His career in Internet technology has encompassed every major software development platform from
web servers to mainframes. His wide range of experience enables him to construct sophisticated
dynamic web sites that access a diverse range of back-end data sources.

Specific education web site experience
As CTO of Ripple Effects Interactive, Kelly oversaw the technical implementation and deployment for
the following education web sites:

             Community College of Allegheny County (www.ccac.edu)
             Carnegie Mellon University Graduate School of Industrial Administration
              (www.gsia.cmu.edu)
             Carnegie Mellon University Office of University Advancement
              (www.cmu.edu/studentsupport/)
             Carnegie Mellon University Center for Economic Development (www.smartpolicy.org)
             Carnegie Mellon University Master of Information Systems Management
              (http://www.mism.cmu.edu/Application/)
             Thomas Jefferson University Hospital (http://www.jeffersonhospital.org/)
             Gateway School District (Currently Under Development)

Qualifications and abilities to perform
Prior to joining Ripple Effects Interactive in February 2000, Kelly was an Application Architect at Alcoa
from 1998 to 2000, where he was Chief Architect and Manager of AlcoaDirect — a business-to-
business extranet site allowing Alcoa’s customers and business partners to engage in online ordering.
Kelly also worked at Mellon Bank from 1990 to 1998 as an Assistant Vice President in the Information
Management and Research Division, where he led efforts to launch Mellon’s Intranet web site.

Technical training and education
Kelly attended Boston College and later moved to Washington, D.C., where he began developing
software in the mid-1980s for defense and financial organizations.




                                                                                                               6
PAUL MAGNANI
Managing Director – Ripple Effects Interactive

General experience
Paul Magnani joined Ripple Effects Interactive in June 2000 as General Manager of the Pittsburgh
operation. He oversees all the internal departments on a daily basis.

Specific education web site experience
As Managing Director, Magnani oversaw the day-to-day operations for the following education projects:

            Community College of Allegheny County (www.ccac.edu)
            Carnegie Mellon University Graduate School of Industrial Administration
             (www.gsia.cmu.edu)
            Carnegie Mellon University Office of University Advancement
             (www.cmu.edu/studentsupport/)
            Carnegie Mellon University Center for Economic Development (www.smartpolicy.org)
            Carnegie Mellon University Master of Information Systems Management
             (http://www.mism.cmu.edu/Application/)
            Thomas Jefferson University Hospital (http://www.jeffersonhospital.org/)
            Gateway School District (Currently Under Development)

Qualifications and abilities to perform
Magnani came to Ripple Effects by way of Portland, OR, where he was Director of the Digital Media
and Digital Product Imaging departments for Nike, Inc. While at Nike, Magnani specialized in strategic
planning related to digital technology. As business concepts were accepted, Magnani was responsible
for start-up development, implementation, and management.

Magnani’s influence is still evident at Nike, where his business concepts became central to the
company's sales, merchandising, product development and e-commerce operations. Some of those
projects include 3-D visual merchandising, on-line product review tools and a global product image
database and online viewing system that has created and distributed more than 30,000 images
worldwide.

Technical training and education
Magnani entered the technology field in 1985 when he began selling Apple IIs to businesses in
Albuquerque, NM. He earned a BA degree in Marketing from Portland State University in 1992.




                                                                                                         7
DAVID HEIDENREICH
Director of Client Services

General experience
Prior to joining Ripple Effects Interactive in January 2000, Heidenreich acted in a strategic planning and
project management role for First Consulting Group – an Information Technology consultancy.
Heidenreich participated in and led numerous complex IT-focused projects in the Healthcare arena,
ranging from large-scale network upgrades to Web site redesigns. In addition to his work at First
Consulting Group, Heidenreich worked as an independent consultant to implement an Emergency
Management System with the Allegheny County Health Department.

Specific education web site experience
As Director of Client Services, Heidenreich is directly responsible for managing all client interaction,
working closely with the client to identify strategic, creative, and technical objectives. Heidenreich
interacted directly with clients to verify that project goals were achieved for the following education web
site projects:

             Community College of Allegheny County (www.ccac.edu)
             Carnegie Mellon University Graduate School of Industrial Administration
              (www.gsia.cmu.edu)
             Carnegie Mellon University Office of University Advancement
              (www.cmu.edu/studentsupport/)
             Carnegie Mellon University Center for Economic Development (www.smartpolicy.org)
             Carnegie Mellon University Master of Information Systems Management
              (http://www.mism.cmu.edu/Application/)
             Gateway School District (Currently Under Development)
             Thomas Jefferson University Hospital (http://www.jeffersonhospital.org/)

Qualifications and abilities to perform
With over five years of previous consulting experience, Heidenreich brings a broad understanding of the
intricacies relating to IT strategic thinking and tactical project management – both of which are integral
in any interactive initiative.

Technical training and education
Heidenreich has a Masters degree from the University of Ohio and an undergraduate degree from the
University of Pittsburgh.




                                                                                                              8
DAVID MCGEEHAN
Director of User Experience

General experience
McGeehan has worked as developer and teacher throughout his communication career. From 1983 to
1985, he worked at Genigraphics in Los Angeles, CA. He then acquired international experience as a
Computer Graphics Designer and Animator in Denmark, Norway, Germany and Switzerland, where he
produced computer-animated videos of machinery prototypes and later served as an in-house
instructor.

As Senior Producer at Pittsburgh’s Source W/CBS from 1989 to 2000, McGeehan developed
multimedia and web applications for numerous firms, including e-catalogs for Cutler-Hammer,
computer-based training applications for Kennametal and Sensus and an intranet for Westinghouse.

Specific education web site experience
As Director of User Experience, McGeehan oversees the ADA accessibility compliance of client
projects in every stage of the development process. McGeehan manages our partnership with the two
leading accessibility software companies – Watchfire, which produces the popular Bobby accessibility
software and UsableNet, which publishes the LIFT accessibility software. Ripple Effects Interactive is a
proven leader in the area of Web site accessibility compliance, which is important to allow education
institutions to serve their entire student body.

In addition to working with education clients such as Carnegie Mellon University and the Community
College of Allegheny County, McGeehan spearheaded the development of ExplorePAHistory.com for
WITF Public Broadcasting and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. The site is a
unique resource for educators because it provides lesson plans for K-12 students that are based on
Pennsylvania history.

Qualifications and abilities to perform
McGeehan joined the staff of Ripple Effects Interactive in August 2000. He coordinates a multitalented
team of professionals in developing special projects requiring sophisticated and creative visual
communication experiences. In 1998, McGeehan was recognized at the AV Video Multimedia Producer
annual awards as one of the Top 100 Producers in the nation.

Technical training and education
McGeehan earned a Bachelor in Specialized Technology degree in Visual Communications from the
Art Institute of Pittsburgh, and a Bachelor degree in Business Management from Point Park College.




                                                                                                           9
BRIAN MOORE
Creative Director

General experience
As Creative Director at Ripple Effects Interactive, Moore oversees the visual and emotional
interpretation of client brand personalities and message throughout all of the interactive projects. He
works with the entire creative team including designers, copywriters and multimedia specialists to
deliver intelligently designed and extremely usable interactive Web sites.

Specific education web site experience
Moore has developed specific design processes takes into account the multiple audience groups
(students, prospective students, faculty, administration, etc.) that frequently visit an education Web site.
Moore has led the entire design process – from initial concept to launch – for several education clients
including:

        Community College of Allegheny County (www.ccac.edu)
        Carnegie Mellon University Graduate School of Industrial Administration (www.gsia.cmu.edu)
        Gateway School District (Currently Under Development)
        Thomas Jefferson University Hospital (http://www.jeffersonhospital.org/)

Qualifications and abilities to perform
Before joining Ripple Effects, Moore served as an award-winning Art Director at Labwerks Interactive,
where he served such clients as American Eagle Outfitters and Bluenotes Jeans in Canada and Dell
Computer.

Moore has also worked extensively in Print design with American Eagle Outfitters, where he’s designed
and produced projects including magazine design, annual reports, product packaging, direct mail, CD
packaging, t-shirt graphics, hangtag systems/clothing labels and contributed to television commercials.

Moore has won several design awards including ADDY and AIGA awards for web site design and
magazine design; his work has also been featured in How Magazine.

Technical training and education
Moore has a Bachelor of Science degree in Graphic Design from La Roche College.




                                                                                                               10
GILBERT GILLMAN
Associate Creative Director

General experience
As Associate Creative Director at Ripple Effects Interactive, Gillman works to ensure that the translation
of the client brand message to the web is seamless and on target throughout every interactive product
we produce. Gillman leads up the copy department at Ripple Effects Interactive.

Specific education web site experience
Since joining Ripple Effects Interactive in 1999, Gillman has served several education clients including
the Community College of Allegheny County and Carnegie Mellon University. For example, Gillman
was responsible for the team that entered and posted more than 4,000 pages of content for the
Community College of Allegheny County redesign project. Gillman’s team achieved this goal by using
the custom Content Management System that was developed by Ripple Effects Interactive.

Qualifications and abilities to perform
Before joining Ripple Effects Interactive Gillman worked at an advertising agency for three years at
Blattner Brunner Advertising where he served such clients as PPG Industries, Respironics, Pittsburgh
Corning, Sky Bank of Ohio and Daily’s Juice Products.

Technical training and education
Gillman is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, where he received a BA in Philosophy with a minor
in Communications.




                                                                                                             11
ZACH HRABER
Software Development Manager – Ripple Effects Interactive

General experience
As Software Development Manager at Ripple Effects Interactive, Hraber has a strong background in all
phases of the software development life cycle and project management. This allows him to execute his
responsibilities, which including project management, application architecture and design, creation of
technical specifications, software development, and client support.

Specific education web site experience
Hraber is a Microsoft .NET software developer. He led the Ripple Effects Interactive technologies team
that developed a custom Content Management Systems specifically tailored for education clients. This
system is currently in use by schools such as Carnegie Mellon University and the Community College
of Allegheny County. At CCAC more than 150 people who have used the CMS system to update
content on the site more than 2,300 times in the past six months.

Qualifications and abilities to perform
Before joining Ripple Effects Interactive, Hraber spent six years running an independent web and
software consulting business - Zap Development, Inc. - with such clients as Alcoa, Inc., several state
motor vehicle agencies (incl. NY, IA, WI, etc), The IT Group, Prudential Preferred Realty and many
individual and small size companies. Hraber also served five years at Xerox Corporation as a
client/server and web application developer.

Technical training and education
Hraber has a BS from Carnegie Mellon in Computer Science and Math.




                                                                                                         12
DIANE WALTER
Director of Production – Ripple Effects Interactive

General experience
As Director of Production, Diane Walter directs the Ripple Effects Interactive Production Team to
ensure accuracy and timely delivery of web development projects.

Specific education web site experience
Walter coordinated the production team throughout the following education projects:

            Community College of Allegheny County (www.ccac.edu)
            Carnegie Mellon University Graduate School of Industrial Administration
             (www.gsia.cmu.edu)
            Carnegie Mellon University Office of University Advancement
             (www.cmu.edu/studentsupport/)
            Carnegie Mellon University Center for Economic Development (www.smartpolicy.org)
            Carnegie Mellon University Master of Information Systems Management
             (http://www.mism.cmu.edu/Application/)
            Gateway School District (Currently Under Development)
            Thomas Jefferson University Hospital (http://www.jeffersonhospital.org)

Qualifications and abilities to perform
Prior to joining Ripple Effects Interactive, Walter served as eMarketing Manager for Blattner Brunner
Advertising in Pittsburgh, an experience highlighted by her work on an integrated advertising campaign
for Zippo that earned praise from AdWeek and iMarketing News. Her career in interactive took off at
Lycos.com where she managed beyond-the-banner advertising for the world's third largest Internet
property. Founder of the Pittsburgh chapter of Webgrrls International, Walter was named one of the
2001 PUMP / Pittsburgh Magazine's "40 Under 40," an annual award bestowed on young people who
make a positive impact on the Pittsburgh area.

Technical training and education
Walter holds a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Pittsburgh and an M.A. in Communications
from Fordham University. She is currently pursuing an M.B.A. in Marketing at the University of
Pittsburgh's Katz School of Business.




                                                                                                         13
D. Provide at least three URL’s of company designed education web sites that demonstrates that
   the vendor understands the range of users and stakeholders in a university setting.

    Ripple Effects Interactive has worked with several education institutions on Web site redesign and
    development projects. Three URL’s of Ripple Effects Interactive designed education web sites include:

    Carnegie Mellon University - Graduate School of Industrial Administration
    http://www.gsia.cmu.edu

    Community College of Allegheny County
    http://www.ccac.edu

    Thomas Jefferson University Hospital
    http://www.jeffersonhospital.org

    Others include:

    Carnegie Mellon University - University Advancement
    http://www.cmu.edu/studentsupport/

    Carnegie Mellon University - Center for Economic Development
    http://www.smartpolicy.org

    Federation of Community College Systems - Renewal and Change 2000
    http://www.rc2000.org

    This section provides an overview of these and other education projects that demonstrate Ripple
    Effects Interactive understanding of the range of users and stakeholders in a university setting.




                                                                                                            14
Carnegie Mellon University - Graduate School of Industrial Administration
(http://www.gsia.cmu.edu)

Carnegie Mellon University's Graduate School of Industrial Administration (GSIA) is one of the premier
business schools in the world, ranked #3 by the Wall Street Journal, and consistently ranked in the top
20 by most major business publications in the nation. To match its high profile, Carnegie Mellon's web
presence had to meet high expectations – not only for their primary audience of the nation’s premier
MBA candidates, but also of their world-class faculty and staff, among whom several Nobel Prize
winners can be found.




Objective
The goal was to redesign the GSIA Web site into one befitting the most technology-savvy university in
the country. The school's structure – split into multiple specialized programs including advanced
degrees in not only the traditional MBA, but also in specific areas such as computational finance and
quantitative economics – demanded a flexible, yet consistent, design so as not to dilute the brand of
this powerhouse university. Consistent messaging, applied across the web presence, was also required
to reinforce the school’s central themes.

Solution
Ripple Effects Interactive sought to improve the site's navigation structure to reflect audience-centric
entry points into the school's web site. Throughout, there was messaging directed at the primary
                                                                                                           15
audience of world-class potential business school students, corporate recruiters, media and other
faculty worldwide. The expectations of each and every audience was extremely high, as is appropriate
for a school of the stature of Carnegie Mellon University, and therefore the design, had to make an
immediate first impression. To meet these expectations, the design utilized powerful photography and
Flash elements that delivered sleek transitions – as well as an interactive feature, unique among
business schools, that 'maps' out the possibilities for a potential student as they move through the
various program offerings and on into their career.

Result
The GSIA web site offers a captivating mix of deep, audience-focused information across multiple inter-
related sections "wrapped" in high-end creative design that leverages the latest broadly distributed web
tools. In addition, focus group results awarded high praise for both the new design and navigation
schema. Carnegie Mellon was so pleased that it tapped Ripple Effects Interactive to re-apply this
approach for additional projects, including the redesign of Carnegie Mellon's Heinz School of Public
Policy and Management.




                                                                                                           16
Carnegie Mellon University Graduate School of Industrial Administration - CAREER PATH

The Career Path promotion (pictured below) was developed in Flash. It allows prospecitive students to
select an MBA program specifically tailored to their individual career goals. This approach was an
innovative way to promote the world-class education that Carnegie Mellon University provides, showing
students how an education from Carnegie Mellon Univeristy will ―accelerate your future.‖

                             Carnegie Mellon University - Career Path




                                                                                                        17
Carnegie Mellon University Graduate School of Industrial Administration - Comparison

Before: Difficult to navigate, hard to update, bland design




After: Easy to navigate, simple to update (included custom-built CMS), dynamic design




                                                                                        18
Community College of Allegheny County
(http://www.ccac.edu)

The Community College of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania's second-largest community college,
sought to reinforce its perception as a quality institution of higher learning via a redesign of its Web site
– the primary portal to its target audience. The college's original Web site, designed in the late 1990's,
had expanded well beyond what its original design meant to accommodate, as a result, the site lacked
consistent visual identity.




Objective
The first and most pressing objective was to bring consistency and navigability to more than 4,000
pages of information, some of which had become virtually unreachable by ordinary means of navigation
or searching. Consistent and relevant messaging was also needed to address the site's diverse
audiences – from high school students, to college transfers, to people in the workforce looking for a
new career. Finally, the overriding need was to visually create a sense of a single brand identity that
supported the numerous services, classes and programs the college offered.

Solution
The entirety of the site's contents was reviewed and reorganized by Ripple Effects Interactive to present
clear messaging and tone throughout, as well as presenting the content in a new navigation schema
that reflected the needs of the target audience – as opposed to reflecting the internal organization of the
college, as was the case in the site's previous incarnation. Once the site had been re-organized and
adapted to the new aesthetic, a Content Management System was delivered to the college to help them
easily maintain the site's new navigation and to update their content quickly and easily. Finally, a
contemporary and functional design was applied to the new navigation schema – bringing consistency
                                                                                                                19
and an aesthetically pleasing environment to CCAC's online audiences and maintaining the CCAC
brand throughout.

Result
While the streamlined design puts forth a new face for CCAC's diverse online audience, the site's
additional functionality, such as a new course search, a 'backpack' feature – analogous to a 'shopping
cart' – which allows the site's visitors to collect courses as they navigate the site, makes it even easier
for CCAC’s audiences to meet their needs via the Web site. The improved navigation, content and
messaging connects the audience with the information they need quickly and efficiently, and the
Content Management System provides the college with the ability to maintain the new organizational
scheme and to help prevent the contents from once again growing beyond the design.




                                                                                                              20
Community College of Allegheny County - Comparison

Before: Six-year old design, outdated navigation, difficult to update, inconsistent brand message




After: Full-scale redesign included intuitive navigation, easy to update (with custom-built CMS),
consistent brand message and portrays the ―face‖ of CCAC.




                                                                                                    21
Additional Screen Shots of Ripple Effects Interactive Education Clients

Thomas Jefferson University Hospital
http://www.jeffersonhospital.org




                                                                          22
Carnegie Mellon University - University Advancement
http://www.cmu.edu/studentsupport/




Carnegie Mellon University (Heinz School of Public Policy and Management)
Currently in production




                                                                            23
Carnegie Mellon University - Masters of Information System Management
https://www.mism.cmu.edu/Application/




Carnegie Mellon University - Center for Economic Development
http://www.smartpolicy.org




                                                                        24
Federation of Community College Systems - Renewal and Change 2000
http://www.rc2000.org




Carnegie Learning
Currently in production




                                                                    25
ExplorePAhistory.com – Teach PA History
Includes interactive lesson plans for K-12 students




Gateway School District
Currently In Production




                                                      26
E. Provide a list of relevant professional association memberships.

    Ripple Effects Interactive is a member of the following organizations:

            American Marketing Association
            American Marketing Association - Higher Education Marketing Shared Interest Group
            Business Marketing Association
            Pittsburgh Technology Council
            Eastern Technology Council
            Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce
            Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce
            Pennsylvania Convention & Visitors Bureau
            Greater Pittsburgh Convention & Visitors Bureau
            Travel Industry Association of America



F. Three (3) references of current clients, including company name, address, telephone number,
   fax number, primary contact, email address and type of services the Proposer is performing or
   has performed for these clients. NOTE: The Proposer certifies that it is empowered to use the
   names of references it provides and agrees that the University may contact these references.

    Christine Cornley
    Community College of Allegheny County
    800 Allegheny Avenue
    Pittsburgh, PA 15233
    412-237-8195
    ccornely@ccac.edu
    Services: Web site redesign, custom Content Management System (CMS) for www.ccac.edu

    Deb Magness
    Carnegie Mellon University
    Graduate School of Industrial Administration
    Office of Advancement- Room 21
    Frew & Tech Streets
    Pittsburgh, PA 15213
    412-268-8678
    dmagness@andrew.cmu.edu
    Services: Web site redesign, custom Content Management System (CMS) for www.gsia.cmu.edu




                                                                                                   27
Another Carnegie Mellon University contact is:

Tim McNulty
Special Assistant to the Provost for Strategic Technology Initiatives
Carnegie Mellon University
Suite 201, UTDC Building
4516 Henry Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
412-268-2727
tpm@andrew.cmu.edu

Monica Doyle
Thomas Jefferson University
1015 Chestnut St
Suite 810
Philadelphia, PA 19107-4302
215-955-2235
monica.doyle@mail.tju.edu
Services: Web site redesign of www.jeffersonhospital.org




                                                                        28
G. Provide the company’s most recent Annual Report and its financial statements for the past
   three (3) fiscal years, including Balance Sheets and Statements of Revenue and Expenses, or
   other documentation that demonstrates financial solvency.

    Three years of audited financial statements for Ripple Effects Interactive are provided in a sealed
    envelope included in our RFP response package.


H. Include company background, including years in business, volume of clients, number of
   employees, areas of expertise, and a list of relevant services the company provides.

    Company Background
    Founded in 1998, Ripple Effects Interactive has grown into one of the Top 50 interactive agencies in the
    US (according to an AdAge 2003 ranking) and is one of Pittsburgh’s fastest-growing companies. We
    have built a reputation for strategic leadership and creative excellence. In just the last three years
    alone, Ripple Effects Interactive has won nearly 70 industry awards, including the coveted 2002 I.D.
    Magazine Interactive Design Review Gold Award for Web site Design, one of the highest accolades for
    an interactive agency. In winning this award, the judges selected Ripple Effects Interactive’s work over
    campaigns from BMW, Nike and Miller Lite Brewing, among many others.

    Serving clients from offices in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, Ripple Effects Interactive has a staff of 37
    interactive marketing professionals that include client service executives, copywriters, designers, user
    experience specialists, accessibility experts, information architects, designers, multimedia developers,
    production artists, interface programmers, software engineers and IT system analysts.

    Ripple Effects Interactive’s senior leadership possesses deep industry experience. This group has
    spent a considerable part of their careers at top interactive and traditional advertising agencies, as well
    as technology development companies. Their resumes list prominent firms such as Ogilvy & Mather,
    Poppe Tyson Interactive, and Red Sky Interactive along with companies such as Alcoa, Apple, Lycos,
    Mellon and Nike. Their experience has been bolstered through their integral roles in devising
    campaigns for some of the largest brand names in the country, including: 3Com, American Eagle
    Outfitters, Absolut Vodka, Hewlett-Packard, J Crew, Lands End, Nike, Sony and Westinghouse.

    Today Ripple Effects Interactive handles projects of all sizes, ranging from $20,000 to more than $2
    million, with varying levels of strategic, marketing and technological complexity, for regional and
    national clients. Ripple Effects Interactive’s strong reputation in education, corporate, culture and arts,
    economic development and tourism markets helps the team of interactive specialists offer a full range
    of services to clients seeking end-to-end solutions for their online activities.




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Ripple Effects Interactive Clients

Ripple Effects Interactive serves a growing number of prestigious clients in diverse industry sectors,
including education, corporate, tourism, economic development, and culture and arts. The following list
is an abridged version of our client roster:

      Education
      Carnegie Mellon University - Center for Economic Development
      Carnegie Mellon University - Graduate School of Industrial Administration
      Carnegie Mellon University - Heinz School of Public Policy and Management
      Carnegie Mellon University - Masters of Information System Management
      Carnegie Mellon University - University Advancement
      Carnegie Learning Educational Software
      Community College of Allegheny County
      Thomas Jefferson University Hospital
      Federation of Community College Systems - RC2000.org
      Gateway School District
      University of Pittsburgh


      Corporate
      Coca-Cola
      GlaxoSmithKline
      Johnson & Johnson
      Unisys
      National City Bank
      American Eagle Outfitter
      Independence Blue Cross
      Ketchum Communications
      Pittsburgh Jeans Company
      Russell / Mellon


      Tourism
      Commonwealth of Pennsylvania - ExperiencePA.com Network
      Travel Industry Association (TIA)
      Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation
      Hershey Capital Region Tourism Promotion Agency
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Culture & Arts
Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Council on the Arts
WITF (PBS Station) - ExplorePAHistory.com
WQED (PBS Station) - War That Made America documentary Web site
Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance
Philadelphia Orchestra


Economic Development
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania - Dept. of Community & Economic Development
Pittsburgh Digital Greenhouse
Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse




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List of Services
As a full-service online marketing and Web development agency, Ripple Effects Interactive offers a
comprehensive line of services. Our services and capabilities include:

Consulting and Strategic Planning Services:
    Project Management
    Market Research
    Competitive Analysis
    Industry Best Practices
    Target Audience Segmentation and Consumer Insights
    Focus Group Research
    Online Brand Adaptation
    Online Program Strategy
    Deployment and ROI Strategy

Conceptual Site Design and Production:
    Creative Concepting
    Graphic Design
    In-house Editorial and Creative Content Development
    Multimedia Development
    Site Coding and Integration
    International Language Translation
    Quality Assurance

User Experience:
     Functional Specifications
     Information Architecture
     Wire Frame and Site Flow Mapping
     Usability Testing

Online Marketing:
     Search Engine optimization
     Sponsorships
     Banner Ad Campaigns
     Email and Viral Marketing Campaigns
     Grassroots Link Exchange
     Affiliate Programs
     Live Webcasting and Online Events Management

Site Management and Performance Analysis:
      Vendor Host Management
      Content Updating and Editorial Calendar
      Application Enhancements
      Database Maintenance
      Tracking and Measurement
      Campaign Performance Reviews

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PROJECT MANAGEMENT AND EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

   A. Provide a Program Plan to support your Proposal. This Program Plan should describe the
      development vision, assumptions, commitments, and expectations of the Proposer in providing
      the services required by the University. The Program Plan should include reporting
      commitments and specific suggestions regarding communication, planning, and performance
      review.

      Program Plan & Development Vision
      NEIU is seeking an interactive agency with the proven design and technical experience to guide them
      through their Web site redevelopment effort. According to NEIU, the institution’s Web site has not
      undergone a restructuring in more than six years. The current NEIU site is difficult to navigate and the
      site architecture does not effectively serve the specific needs of the internal and external audiences.
      Ripple Effects Interactive has proven design and technical experience serving higher education clients
      and is an ideal partner to redesign the NEIU Web site.

      Our development vision for the NEIU Web site redevelopment project is to create a Web site that will
      better serve current students, increase alumni loyalty, raise recruiter interest in NEIU, promote faculty
      accomplishments and advance NEIU in general towards its long-term goals. The overriding goal for the
      Web site project is to deliver the NEIU messages with impact, in an engaging, and most importantly,
      useful manner that delivers a functional, exciting experience to the Web site visitor.

      Ripple Effects Interactive has experience serving higher education clients including several programs at
      Carnegie Mellon University, the Community College of Allegheny County and Thomas Jefferson
      University Hospital. Our team of interactive professionals will use the experiences and lessons learned
      from past higher education projects to provide NEIU with a Web site that incorporates best practices
      and procedures. Additionally, usability and accessibility guidelines are deeply embedded within our
      rigorous design process. Finally, our extensive experience developing custom Content Management
      Systems will be valuable to identify the most appropriate system to achieve the stated project goals.

      The primary goals for the NEIU Web site redesign include:

              Develop an aesthetically and technically improved site that enhances user experience

              Create a vehicle for dynamic information distribution to current students, faculty,
               administration, prospective students and other external audiences

              Improves ease of content publishing through a Content Management System designed to
               handle the unique requirements of a higher educational institution.

      A dedicated team from Ripple Effects Interactive will be assigned responsibility for achieving these
      project goals. A client service account managers will be the primary point of contact for the project. This
      client service representative will work on a day-to-day basis with the NEIU team to make sure all key
      deliverables and project deadlines are met. This process is described in more detail in the commitments
      section below.


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The planning stage will include two weeks of meetings with key stakeholders at NEIU on site at the
University. Two client services representatives will manage and conduct these discovery meetings.
These meetings may be held with administration, faculty, current students and other key groups that
frequently use the NEIU site. The primary purpose of this process is to refine the project goals, set up
post-launch success measures and to kick off the project for the production staff.

In addition, a software manager will meet with the NEIU technical team to conduct an assessment of
the current system architecture. This comprehensive three-day review will provide the foundation for the
technical aspects of the project.

Ripple Effects Interactive uses a proven five-phase process to design and develop Web site redesign
projects. Our detailed design process, which we have used in the past with other higher education
clients, is addressed in section D. Ripple Effects Interactive will employ a strategic nine-step process to
conduct an assessment of Content Management Systems for the NEIU Web site project. Details of our
CMS assessment process are outlined in section J.

Once the NEIU redevelopment site is launched, an experienced Ripple Effects Interactive trainer will
provide up to 50 hours of training services on site at NEIU during a five-day visit to the campus. Finally,
Ripple Effects Interactive will work with the NEIU project team to develop specific metrics to measure
the success of the project, both in terms of the Web site’s effectiveness and cost savings to NEIU from
process improvements as well as overall client satisfaction improvement. Our primary goal is to serve
NEIU by providing expert services that have proven successful for our other higher education clients.

Project Assumptions
NEIU is looking for a vendor to provide expertise in web services, content design framework, content
authoring facilitation, and selection of the content management system and web design, while
addressing NEIU’s student and learning centered mission and marketing goals.

Our proposal is driven by the following assumptions:

        The internal (current students, faculty, employees, etc.) and external (prospective students,
         recruiters, donors, etc.) groups are both important target audiences that NEIU would like to
         serve, in part, through the NEIU Web site.

        An important task of the redevelopment includes designing an information architecture that
         allows site users to quickly find information on academics, administrative matters, admissions
         and financial aid.

        The top features of a redeveloped web site must include online class registration; information
         on academic programs and majors; student, staff and faculty directory listings; access to
         academic records; and web-based email.

        Visitors to the NEIU Web site are just as likely to use a broadband connection, as they are to
         have dial-up access (40% and 43% respectively). This signifies the need to design the
         redeveloped site to address multiple platforms and user capabilities.


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        A vast majority of web site visitors spend less than seven hours a week on the Internet,
         indicating a ―novice‖ level of usage. Ease of use is paramount to serve this audience.

        The pricing matrix assumes Ripple Effects Interactive will develop the core elements of the
         Web site and content up to 150 pages. Future build out of the site will be developed by NEIU
         or through a contracted vendor.

        Ripple Effects Interactive assumes NEIU will make all reasonable efforts to ensure NEIU staff
         required to assist on the project are available during the planning process and at all the key
         stages of the development process.

Commitments
Ripple Effects Interactive is committed to serving the NEIU project team to develop an enhanced online
presence for the school. As laid out in the project timeline (section B), Ripple Effects Interactive will
meet with NEIU to plan and finalize project deliverables and measures of excellence prior to producing
the proposed solution. The dedicated client service account manager will be the primary point of
contact and will be responsible for reporting on project progress. The entire Ripple Effects Interactive
team will work together to achieve the following project commitments:

    Communication
    There are distinct groups within the university that have different interests in regards to the Web
    site. It is our responsibility to communicate with the various stakeholders to listen to their
    requirements for the Web sites and identify their specific needs.

    Ripple Effects Interactive will draw upon its experience in working with the large and extensive pool
    of interested stakeholders at Carnegie Mellon University and the Community College of Allegheny
    County to apply a communication strategy for NEIU that is effective and efficient.

    We will work the NEIU project team to identify the key target group based on interest and roles at
    NEIU. Ultimately, this means there will be approximately 6-12 groups (made up of academic
    departments, financial aid officers, admissions officers, development, etc.).

    By grouping the stakeholders and meeting with them separately, the time spent during the
    discovery process turns into a free flow of ideas and enables the Ripple Effects Interactive client
    service team to expertly deliver a plan for the redevelopment of the Web site.

    Planning
    Ripple Effects Interactive recommends an intense two-week discovery process for the meetings
    mentioned above, after which we will create summary sheets of web site requirements and ―wish
    lists.‖

    These summary sheets, which lay the foundation for the redevelopment, will help to clarify the
    goals set forth at the project’s onset. It is important to build consensus among the many groups in a
    university setting, and Ripple Effects Interactive has developed a process, based on our previous
    experience working with higher education clients, to accomplish that goal.


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        Performance Review
        Ripple Effects Interactive will work alongside NEIU to develop metrics against which to measure
        the success of the project, both in terms of the web site’s effectiveness, cost savings to NEIU from
        process improvements and with overall client satisfaction. More details about this are described in
        section G.

        Ultimately, we are confident in our understanding of the higher education realm, and the work we
        can create for NEIU, both creatively and technologically. The positive feedback we have received
        from higher education clients such as Carnegie Mellon University and the Community College of
        Allegheny County is proof that our process is effective.

    Expectations
    Ripple Effects Interactive is a flexible interactive marketing agency, with the ability to accommodate
    NEIU’s specific requests. Our team of professionals can quickly adapt to deliver a product that meets
    NEIU’s expectations. Close collaboration between Ripple Effects Interactive and NEIU is an essential
    part of creating a successful product.

    Our experience serving higher education clients ensures that Ripple Effects Interactive understand the
    unique communication needs of NEIU. Together we can determine the best direction and tactics to
    achieve a successful project.


B. An organizational staffing plan for the personnel who will perform the services outlined in this
   RFP and a proposed timeline in ghant chart format using Microsoft Project identifying project
   stages and milestones for providing services from the requirements of the RFP.

    Ripple Effects Interactive employs a rigorous design process adapted to meet specific client needs. To
    guide this design process, a dedicated, multidisciplinary team of seasoned interactive marketing
    professionals will be assigned to the project. The team will consist of a full time Account Supervisor
    that will serve as NEIU's primary point of contact as well as professional interactive designers, user
    experience experts, information architects, production staff and software engineers. At any given point
    in the project, team members will roll on and off the project according to the phase of the design
    process. The Account Supervisor will remain assigned to the project from contract inception to post
    launch of the Web site.

    Our project plan is illustrated in more detail in the organizational chart and Gantt chart project timeline.




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Ripple Effects Interactive Organization Chart
This chart provides a general overview of the corporate structure at Ripple Effects Interactive including
department directors and titles for their subordinates.




Proposed Timeline
The Ripple Effects Interactive production department developed a detailed project plan in Microsoft
Project for the NEIU Web site redesign project.         The project is broken into six primary tasks and
35 sub tasks. This project plan is a preliminary estimate of the time and effort anticipated to complete
the NEIU Web site redesign project based on the information provided in the RFP and our experience
completing several similar projects at universities. The overriding schedule is framed by the following
NEIU requested milestones:

        Planning and development report - within 90 days of contract award
        Approval of preliminary design from NEIU – within 30 days after report submission
        Full completion, including training – within 120 days after approval)

The Microsoft Project file illustration (on the next page) shows the entire project timeline in Gantt chart
format. The complete Microsoft Project file is included in the CD-ROMs as part of our RFP response
package. The file is labeled NEIU-REI-Project-Plan.MPP.




                                                                                                              37
       NEIU Web Site Redevelopment Proposed Timeline Project Plan (Illustration)




This preliminary project progression is illustrated in the Gantt chart above. The project is broken into six
primary tasks and 35 sub tasks. The complete Microsoft Project file is included in the CD-ROMs as part
of our RFP response package. The file is labeled NEIU-REI-Project-Plan.MPP.




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Subcontractors
NEIU has an annual State required goal regarding minority, female, and disabled supplier purchases.
With this goal in mind, Ripple Effects Interactive is proud to work with several subcontractors who are
women-owned businesses as well as with a non-profit group that serves the disabled community.
Ripple Effects Interactive has worked with each of these firms in the past and recommends their
services for this project. For the NEIU Web site project, REI recommends working with these three
subcontractors:

            Campos Market Research – Women-Owned, Small Business
            Public Intelligence – Women-Owned, Small Business
            Pittsburgh Vision Services – Non-Profit Organization, a United Way Member Agency

This section provides background about each company and their role as subcontractors on the NEIU
Web site project.

Campos Market Research – Women Owned, Small Business
Campos Market Research is a full-service market research firm that offers traditional and online
quantitative and qualitative research methodologies. Campos has experience conducting online
surveys, intercepts, and focus groups. Campos will conduct market research to determine the primary
motivation for visiting the NEIU web site by the audience groups NEIU has identified. This information
will be important during the research and discovery phase of the project to identify project and design
goals. This initial research will be valuable in defining post-project success measured to evaluate the
success of the redesign.

Campos has been in business for 16 years, and features a full-time staff with more than 80 years of
combined experience in the market research industry. Campos is a women-owned business. R. Yvonne
Campos is the Owner and President. More information about Campos is online at www.campos.com.

Our project budget allocates $8,500 during the planning phase for market research conducted by
Campos. This is a preliminary budget for services. Final costs and specific services will be approved by
NEIU during the planning phase.

Public Intelligence – Women-Owned, Small Business
Public Intelligence is a strategic communications consulting firm focused on delivering practical advice
on the best strategies to address critical communication challenges to education, corporate and
government clients. Public Intelligence will provide branding and market position-consulting services to
hone the NEIU message into a compelling, easily identifiable value proposition.

Public Intelligence is a women-owned business. Barbara Chaffee is the majority owner. Before
launching Public Intelligence, Chaffee was selected by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge to help
establish the Office of Homeland Security. As Special Assistant to the President of the United States,
she was Senior Director for Public Liaison, working with the private sector.

Chaffee served under Governor Ridge as Pennsylvania's Deputy Secretary for the Department of
Community and Economic Development, where she managed a $31 million annual budget. Under her
direction, the state was widely recognized for its innovation and leadership in tourism, economic
development and interactive marketing. A recognized business leader, Chaffee has 29 years
                                                                                                           39
    experience in the hospitality industry, where she was a member of the worldwide Board of Directors of
    the International Association of Holiday Inn from 1988-1992.

    Our project budget allocates $7,000 during the planning phase for marketing consulting conducted by
    Public Intelligence. This is a preliminary budget for services. Final costs and specific services will be
    approved by NEIU during the planning phase.

    Pittsburgh Vision Services - Non-Profit Organization, a United Way Member Agency
    As leaders in Web site accessibility, Ripple Effects Interactive partners with Pittsburgh Vision Services
    and their constituents to validate our accessibility work. The Pittsburgh Vision Services Access
    Technology Laboratory allows REI to remain abreast of emerging assistive technologies. Pittsburgh
    Vision Services is accredited by the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and
    Visually Handicapped (NAC) and is also licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Aging.

    Pittsburgh Vision Services is affiliated with National Industries for the Blind (NIB), Pennsylvania
    Association for the Blind and Handicapped (PAB), and Association for Education and Rehabilitation of
    the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER). Pittsburgh Vision Services is also a United Way Member
    Agency. More information about Pittsburgh Vision Services is online at http://www.pghvis.org.

    Our project budget allocates $4,500 during the implementation phase for an ADA audit review
    conducted at the Pittsburgh Vision Center, which will include participation of disabled individuals to test
    the redesign using assistive technology such as screen readers. This is a preliminary budget for
    services. Final costs and specific services will be approved by NEIU during the planning phase.


C. Answers to questions posed within the RFP regarding all aspects of the Proposer’s plan to
   address the issues raised.

    Ripple Effects Interactive addresses all the questions posed within in the RFP regarding all aspects of
    our plan to address the issues raised in the context of this RFP response. Please refer to our answers
    to the other questions addressed in this RFP response for details of our comprehensive project plan.


D. A description of the process that will guide content redevelopment.

    Ripple Effects Interactive follows a rigorous, proven content development process. Our team of
    interactive specialists has followed this process to effectively serve clients including education clients
    such as Carnegie Mellon University and the Community College of Allegheny County among others.
    This process consists of five phases:

            Research and Discovery
            Recommendations
            Creative Design and Specifications
            Production
            Testing and Deployment

    This section provides details about each phase of the Ripple Effects Interactive development process.
                                                                                                                  40
Research and Discovery
The research and discovery phase of our process is where we engage in background research and
conduct discovery meetings with the client in order to fully understand the NEIU project goals.

As a result of the background and discovery, Ripple Effects Interactive develops the following
deliverables:

        Competitive Analysis
        Target audience analysis
        Industry best practices
        Project brief documents

During this time, focus groups and surveys may also be conducted. The documentation created and
knowledge obtained during the research and discovery phase is then passed to the groups responsible
for the recommendation phase, as well as to the NEIU project team.

Recommendations
The fruits of the research and discovery phase are the primer for the development of the project
recommendations. Representatives from the primary groups (User Experience, Design, Content,
Production, Coding, Programming, Multimedia, and Client Service) converge to determine the optimal
recommendations for the project.

Out of the process, a number of deliverables are created, including:

        High-level functional specifications
        Accessibility Guidelines
        Content Outline
        Site Map
        High-level Technical Specifications
        Project Budget
        Project Timeline
        Creative Brief

These documents will be presented to NEIU for confirmation that the project plan is on track and serve
as the framework for the creative design and specification phase.

Creative Design and Specifications
The creative design and specification phase is where the project takes form. Finely detailed site
architecture and wire frame documents, along with an integrated functional specifications document are
developed. Technical specifications, quality assurance and project plans are also created. Design
comps are created. The design comps are used to develop functional prototypes, which are then coded
and validated for usability and technical feasibility. Once NEIU has approved the creative design and
specifications, production of the site will begin.


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    Production
    The production phase is where all of the following occur.

               Content development
               Design extensions
               Production artistry
               Multimedia development
               Applications development
               Database design
               Configuration and population
               Interface integration
               Unit testing

    Once production is complete, testing and deployment issues are tackled.

    Testing and Deployment
    The testing and deployment phase is crucial, because it is when our Quality Assurance team identifies
    any needed corrections in the site. Our Quality Assurance department methodically tests every aspect
    of the web site. After testing, the site is presented to the NEIU for final review. Once approval is
    provided, the site is then ported over to the client’s systems, where it goes through a second round of
    testing, this time on the servers that will provide the ―live‖ environment.


E. Your firm’s plans for how it will develop the site demonstrating its understanding of NEIU as a
   higher education site.

    This section outlines the specific tactics Ripple Effects Interactive recommends to effectively attract new
    students, serve current students, increase alumni loyalty, raise recruiter interest, promote faculty
    accomplishments and advance NEIU towards its long-term goals.

    At the center of this marketing and promotion endeavor is the NEIU Web site. Since NEIU’s primary
    target audiences are distributed across the greater Chicago area, as well as around the globe,
    marketing efforts and service offerings can be effectively conducted online. A coordinated effort
    between both online and offline marketing can drive people interested in NEIU to the NEIU Web site
    where they can be directed to the appropriate content and/or people to answer their specific questions.

    Ripple Effects Interactive has developed a proposed solution for the NEIU Web site redesign project
    that is grouped into three primary categories. These categories are:

             Web site Strategy – This is the heart of the solution, offering a glimpse into how we can develop
              an overall brand message, specific sub-messages targeted to specific audiences, including
              specialized audiences such as people with disabilities and foreign students.

             Technical Support Systems – An effective Content Management System developed specifically
              to meet the needs of a higher education institution is critical to the success of the NEIU Web site
              redevelopment project. This section provides an overview of our experience developing custom
                                                                                                                    42
       Content Management Systems that are in use today at other Universities we have served. These
       tools are essential to ensure that the NEIU content developers can easily manage content
       development within a process guided by a logical navigation structure and consistent page
       template design.

      Branding and Positioning – This articulates the core strengths of NEIU. The project goal will be
       to create a unified message that can attract and foster a community around NEIU.

These marketing goals will be achieved through an aesthetic redesign, content reorganization, and
deployment of a Content Management System for the NEIU Web site. This section provides more
details about the proposed solution.

1. Web Site Strategy

The NEIU Web site should be the primary mechanism through which the institution can serve target
audience groups while simultaneously communicating the University brand attributes. The overriding
goal for the Web site is to deliver the University’s messages with impact, in an engaging, and most
importantly, useful manner that delivers a functional, exciting experience to the visitor.

The following segment discusses the various aspects of the web site envisioned by Ripple Effects
Interactive, including:

      Overall visual design approach
      Content strategy for each audience
      Solutions for specialized audiences and Web site accessibility

Visual Design Approach
It is important that the visual design clearly supports and conveys the message that NEIU helps
talented people achieve professional success.

Ripple Effects Interactive intends to offer multiple options that illustrate this message based on NEIU’s
brand identity infused with a sophisticated layer of cutting-edge design elements. These visual
elements will reinforce the strengths of NEIU and create a perception that there is more to NEIU than
meets the eye. The ultimate gauge of a relevant design is a positive emotional reaction from the target
audiences – anticipation that the NEIU Web site can deliver something interesting and useful. NEIU
students, faculty and staff will play a key role in steering Ripple Effects Interactive toward achieving this
level of anticipation. Subcontracting with Public Intelligence will clarify the brand message, and surveys
conducted by Campos Marketing Research will verify the audience reaction to the design approach.

Content Strategies
In order to achieve the project goals, the site content can be organized on two levels:

      First, the overall marketing content will convey the NEIU brand message immediately on the
       home page and top-level pages for each main section.



                                                                                                                43
       Second, the site will quickly open up separate veins of content offering program information or
        access to specific services or guidance for each of the primary and secondary audiences.

The underlying assumption supporting this approach is that it is important to deliver a focused message
to a prospective student looking into the Elementary Education program, for example. A separate
environment can be tailored around the needs of other primary and secondary audience groups such
as current students, faculty, alumni, or media relations.

This targeted content approach provides common threads of information and marketing copy to all
visitors from the NEIU home page. Mechanisms for quick linking and search function will enable
―power surfers‖ who are looking for specific information or a particular University service to immediately
―drill down‖ into the proper vein of information.

After research and discovery is completed in the planning stage, a site map and a final wire frame will
be created to indicate all sections and pages, as well as page types, slated to reside on the site.

Specialized Audiences

Ripple Effects Interactive has built two in-house specialty practices based around developing Web sites
that are accessible to: 1) People with disabilities and 2) People for whom English is a second language.
NEIU’s RFP identifies accessibility as an issue to address in the Web site redevelopment project.
Ripple Effects Interactive recommends that an international audience be considered as well.

      Universal Accessibility (ADA, Section 508 Web site Accessibility Compliance)
      Ripple Effects Interactive is a noted leader in the area of Web site accessibility. Ripple Effects
      Interactive is the only interactive agency in the United States that is a recognized partner with both
      the leading accessibility software companies – Watchfire, which published the popular Bobby
      accessibility software, and UsableNet, which publishes LIFT accessibility software.

      Accessibility and general usability is incorporated into every stage of the Ripple Effects Interactive
      development process. Ripple Effects Interactive uses a process of automated software testing
      combined with unmatched user experience expertise in conducting heuristic evaluations. This
      process enables Ripple Effects Interactive to validate that the NEIU Web site meets the specific set
      of ADA/W3C accessibility guidelines outlined in the RFP.

      For the NEIU Web site redevelopment, Ripple Effects Interactive will work with Pittsburgh Vision
      Services and their constituents, individuals with disabilities, to validate that the NEIU Web site
      complies with accessibility standards. Our partnership with Pittsburgh Vision Services over the
      years has helped to shape and strengthen our accessibility practice. The Pittsburgh Vision
      Services Access Technology Laboratory provides an ideal setting to conduct accessibly user tests.




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In fact, Ripple Effects Interactive sponsors an accessibility advisory panel that consists of experts
on accessibility issues. The Ripple Effects Interactive Advisory Panel Members are:

        Dr. Richard Welsh, President, Pittsburgh Vision Services
        Jodi Forlizzi, Assistant Professor, Human-Computer Interaction, Carnegie Mellon
         University
        Spero Pipakis, Coordinator of the Access Technology Center
        Don Rhoten, Superintendent, Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf
        Bob Mather, President and CEO, Life’s Work of Western Pennsylvania
        David A. Gurwin, Attorney at Law, Buchanan Ingersoll

In addition to our experience serving higher education clients with their ADA Web site compliance
needs, Ripple Effects Interactive had completed Web site accessibility audits for Johnson &
Johnson, Independence Blue Cross, and Unisys, and has developed and/or retrofitted more than
30 web sites for the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.

International Language Translation and Localization
Since NEIU is one of the most ethnically diverse colleges in the United States, serving students
that speak English as a second language is important. With students from 50 different countries
attending class at NEIU in 2002, it makes sense to ensure that information is made available in the
most appropriate manner. Ripple Effects Interactive is NOT recommending that the entire NEIU
Web site be translated into many different languages, as this would require a prolonged and
expensive content redevelopment process. Ripple Effects Interactive recommends a more
targeted approach that would greatly benefit students who speak English as a second language.

We recommend an approach that will translate existing marketing materials aimed at prospective
students. The content used from the marketing materials would be translated into the most relevant
languages based on the country of origin of the top ten language groups represented at NEIU.

The translated content would reside in its own specific section, and would be made available from
the home page. Suggestions for translated topics include:

     Why Choose Northeastern Illinois University?
    This section would outline the positive attributes of NEIU from the perspective of the individual
    localized audience. Items of interest will include standard marketing material that describes
    NEIU as well as issues specific to international students, such as, ―How many people from the
    People’s Republic of China have graduated from NEIU?‖ or, ―How will my NEIU help me within
    a company with international operations?‖

     Why Choose Chicago?
    This would outline the positive attributes of the Windy City from the perspective of the
    individual localized audience with particular emphasis placed on the concept of ―you are not
    alone here, Chicago is a multicultural city, and you will find appropriate places of worship, and
    people with whom you can identify.‖



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         A Week in the Life of a University Student
        This section would outline a normal week in the life of a student, touching on University-
        specific functions and class schedules, as well as extracurricular recreational activities such as
        the Outdoor Adventure Club, sporting events, cultural activities and others reinforcing the idea
        that life at NEIU and Chicago is an enriching, enjoyable experience.

         How do I apply?
        Outlines specific application requirements and special circumstances facing students from
        foreign countries offering prospective students information to make the application process as
        fast and friction-free as possible.

         Obtaining a US Student Visa
        Acquiring a US student visa can be a frustrating and time consuming task for foreign students.
        While specific requirements may or may not have changed since the September 11 attacks,
        the perception held by prospective foreign students has likely shifted to one of increased
        apprehension. Because of that new level of apprehension we suggest that the localized
        section of the site contain specific instructions and advice surrounding the subject of acquiring
        the student visa.

           Testimonials
        Use testimonials from current NEIU students as part the recruitment strategy. Students can
        ―hear‖ what others (that speak their language) have to say about their experience at NEIU.

2. Support Systems

Ripple Effects Interactive has developed and implemented numerous custom Content Management
Systems specifically for clients in higher education, including Carnegie Mellon University, the
Community College of Allegheny County and Gateway School District. Other CMS clients include PBS
station WITF, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh Digital Greenhouse and Echo
International. Additionally, CMS installations are planned for The Historical Society of Pennsylvania
and WQED Multimedia.

Ripple Effects Interactive has proven expertise in developing and creating Content Management
Systems – experience that has been refined over many years. In fact, our knowledge and expertise in
the area of content management is so well regarded that Forrester Research, a leading technology
research firm, asked Ripple Effects Interactive to brief their content management analysts about our
custom solution process.

The Ripple Effects Interactive CMS streamlines the Web site management process. The web-based
application provides users with a simple interface for working with Web site structure, adding and
editing content, and much more, all with no more advanced knowledge than it takes to use a word
processor like Microsoft Word.

Content Management Systems enhance efficiencies by eliminating bottlenecks – an undeniable benefit
for organizations bogged down by systems that require technical handholding for even the simplest site
changes.

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For example the Community College of Allegheny used our CMS to build out a complete redesign of
their site – more than 4,000 pages. Since the site was launched in early 2003, more than 150 people
have used the CMS system to update content on the site more than 2,300 times.
Some of the benefits and features of the Ripple Effects Interactive CMS include:

       Simple, What-You-See-is-What-You-Get content (WYSIWYG) interface
       One-click page previewing
       Easy upload graphic and file management (for all file types)
       Dynamically-generated site navigation
       Customized, modifiable design templates
       Role-based permissions and security
       Version control and site rollbacks
       Elegant errors and dead link notification
       Built-in web accessibility checking features
       Flexible, expandable technology
       Unlimited authors




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         Ripple Effects Interactive Content Management System - Content Editor




WYSIWYG Interface
The WYSIWYG interface completely eliminates the need to know HTML coding or programming. Users
can easily create content from scratch within the Content Editor function or by simply "copying and
pasting" their content into the CMS from any word processing file, such as Microsoft Word. This greatly
reduces the time to publish content to the site, streamlines the maintenance of the site and reduces
ongoing maintenance costs. More advanced users can choose to work in HTML view for maximum
control. The Content Editor combines the basic formatting features of Microsoft Word to allow users to
bold, underline, indent, justify, insert hyperlinks, tables, ordered lists and more, by the click of a button.

Instant Page Preview - One Click Access
Instant Page Preview gives the user instantaneous preview of how the page will appear on the Web
site. Authors can easily manipulate the page content format and layout to achieve the desired effect in
seconds. A single click lets you see your page as it appears on the staging site, a replica of the live site
that lets CMS users view their work in context. Once it meets the user’s expectations, it can be
submitted for approval or published directly to the live site. Publishing is controlled through user-based
permissions defined by the site administrator.




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File Management
In the File Manager, users can upload many kinds of files (jpegs, gifs, pdfs, word documents, excel files
and more) that site visitors can easily view, download, save and print. To upload a file, simply use a
familiar browse interface to locate it, and then click "Upload."




Dynamically Generated Site Navigation
This is a powerful tool for a site administrator. The CMS's simple interface for moving pages within the
web site's structure is seamlessly integrated with the site's front-end navigation. As a result, the Web
site's navigation stays consistent and 100% accurate, with no time-consuming maintenance needed.
The entire navigation structure of the site can be updated in real-time without the need to recode the
site. Entire content sections can be created and inserted within the existing global navigation structure.
Sections can be just as easily removed, promoted or demoted as necessary.

Custom Design Templates
The CMS uses HTML page templates that can be created from any page design. A page's content is
dynamically inserted into the template when the page is viewed using a web browser. Using page
templates ensures consistent appearance and behavior throughout the Web site, and makes it easy to
apply uniform changes to visual and functional elements of the web site. Because the content and
aesthetic of the site are separated using XML based programming, updating the design of the site is
extremely easy. The user could completely redesign the site or certain sections literally in hours.



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Role-based Permissions and Security
To help maintain a Web site’s integrity, the CMS has three user types – content author, content
manager and site administrator – each with a different level of access to CMS functionality. In addition,
low-level users only have access to pages to which they have been assigned. Finally, a user’s type
determines that user’s role in a multi-stage approval and publication process. This ensures that only
those with the proper credentials can make changes to the live site.

In addition, each CMS user is given an individual, password-protected account, created by the site
administrator. While the administrator assigns the username, the password is generated at random by
the CMS and sent automatically to the new user via e-mail. The CMS does not allow anyone – not even
the site administrator – to view other users' passwords. As a result, every user can feel secure about
his or her account.

  Ripple Effects Interactive Content Management System – Publish Approval Process




Version Control and Rollbacks
Using rollbacks, site administrators can restore a previous version of the site, in case there are changes
that need to be recovered. A rollback is a copy of the entire site’s hierarchy of files and content. Our
CMS allows for rollbacks to both the production site and templates.


Elegant Errors and Dead Link Notification
When a site visitor reaches the URL of a page that has been removed, she doesn't encounter an ugly
and discouraging "404: FILE NOT FOUND" error. Instead, a branded page informs the user that the
page has been removed, and provides the option to return to the previous page. In the background, an
e-mail is sent to the site administrator with the location of the page that contains the bad link and the
URL to which the link points.

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Web Accessibility Features
Web accessibility features ensure that site visitors who use screen-readers and other software for the
disabled can view the Web site. The CMS's web accessibility features include automatic ALT tags for
uploaded files, hidden links and graphics in templates where necessary and page linearization.

Flexible, Expandable Technology
The CMS is built on Microsoft's well-supported ASP .NET software development platform, and uses the
most recent versions of HTML, XML, CSS and other web programming languages. As a result, the
CMS is inherently scalable and upgradeable when new features are desired, and the CMS and
associated Web site are highly compatible with the most modern versions of end-user web technology.

Ripple Effects Interactive could set up a demonstration of our CMS for the NEIU project team to walk
through all the key benefits of the CMS that are specific to a higher education institution.

3. Branding and Positioning

The core strengths of NEIU include a diverse educational experience that is inclusive and welcoming to
many people – young and old, from many cultures and countries. The Branding and Positioning portion
of the NEIU Web site redevelopment project will be to create a unified message that will attract and
foster a community around NEIU. The branding and positioning strategy Ripple Effects Interactive
envisions for NEIU is one that will bridge the gap between the internal perception of NEIU as a source
for excellent, diverse learning experience and an external perception of NEIU as a leading University
among many choices.

Ripple Effects Interactive will work with Public Intelligence, a strategic communications firm to identify
key goals and develop a strategy for marketing and communications for the NEIU web site. Additionally,
we will draw upon significant data to be provided by Campos Market Research, a leading market
research company. Both Public Intelligence and Campos Market Research are women-owned, small
businesses.




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F. Describe how your firm will use relevant literature on web uses in higher education to
   demonstrate your firm’s knowledge of the subject matter.

    At Ripple Effects Interactive, knowledge drives our recommendations, and we have gathered significant
    research into the higher education industry, its participants and their motivations. Ripple Effects
    Interactive has spent more than two years determining what various educational audiences expect to
    see, and how Web site design and usability impact attitude towards educational institutions. Below are
    some facts about the important role the Internet has played for education institutions.

            Sixty-two percent of wired high school students say the Internet is their top source for college
             information, far outpacing all other sources including college recruiting publications (21%) and
             college guidebooks (11%). (Source: Stamats Communication Survey)

            High school students say the Web sites of their potential colleges or universities are the most
             important sources for college information. (Source: Lipman Hearne, 2002 Integrated Marketing
             Study)

            More than 90% of students who plan to attend college have used the web for college searches
             before their senior year in high school. (Source: Lipman Hearne, 2002 Integrated Marketing
             Study)

            A vast majority of college and university Web sites fall short of prospective students’
             expectations, and for this audience, a Web site experience can make or break an opinion
             about the institution. (Source: Council of Independent Colleges)

            The same study found that most sites do not present information in an exciting or user-friendly
             way; most are cluttered and difficult to navigate; and too many contain static information.

    Our ongoing research into the needs of the higher education audience help tailor our mindset when
    formulating a strategy and designing interactive marketing tools to serve our clients in higher education.
    Our deep understanding of the challenges that universities face make Ripple Effects Interactive an ideal
    vendor to offer NEIU an informed solution.




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G. Describe the analysis your firm will provide to determine a post satisfaction analysis of the
   newly launched web site.

    Ripple Effects Interactive works with clients to formulate metrics to measure performance prior to
    starting a project. By defining objectives, and setting explicit standards to strive for, both Ripple Effects
    Interactive and the client can compare ―apples to apples‖ in determining the success and value of the
    final product.

    Suggested Performance Analysis
    Critical to any Web site redesign project is the ability to measure the effectiveness after the site is
    launched. REI would recommend the following metrics to track the performance of the site:

    Standard Web site metrics available via Nettracker or WebTrends:

                      Number of Unique Visitors
                      Number of Page Views
                      Average Page Views per Visit
                      Average Visit Length
                      Median Visit Length
                      Search Engine Ranking

    During the planning, stage operational and administrative efficiency measures can be identified to
    determine the overall impact of the redesign effort. Examples could include any increase in student
    applications, reduction in student-support costs and improved faculty satisfaction ratings.

    Overall client satisfaction is very important to Ripple Effects Interactive. We use Open Ratings, an
    independent third party service, to measure client satisfaction. Open Ratings calculates supplier
    performance scores using a sophisticated algorithm that takes into account the amount of information
    available on a supplier, the timeliness of the information, and the accuracy of the raters. Ratings range
    from 0 to 100. The survey asks clients their assessment of our performance based on the following:

            Reliability
            Cost
            Order accuracy
            Delivery/Timeliness
            Quality
            Business Relations
            Personnel
            Customer support
            Responsiveness

    Ripple Effects Interactive has received very favorable scores from the Open Ratings service, a
    testament to our dedication to providing clients with the best strategic, creative and technical service
    possible. In fact, we have never lost a client due to poor satisfaction. A final analysis of both
    performance gauges will be provided at the end of the project based specifically on project goals
    determined during the planning stage of the project.
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H. Include plans on how your firm will perform the Research on NEIU Technical Readiness.

     Ripple Effects Interactive works extensively with the IT and marketing teams at colleges and
     universities to determine the technical readiness of an institution before undergoing a Web site
     redevelopment. One example is the work we did for the Community College of Allegheny County, which
     was conducted with a process similar to the one we propose for NEIU.

     Zach Hraber, Ripple Effects Interactive Software Development Manager, will lead the three-day onsite
     technical readiness assessment. Zach Hraber is the lead architect and development engineer for our
     CMS Specialty Practice. He has a wealth of IT consulting and custom application development
     experience. He will use the following process to conduct the Technical Readiness research:

     Technical Readiness Research - 4 Step Process:

     1. Conduct an initial discovery meeting with the NEIU technical personnel to determine a high level
     understanding of the current state of the university systems and networking architecture.

     2. Examine the current systems architecture. Verify that the servers are in a secure environment
     suitable for Web site production of this scale. Ensure that there are adequate monitoring, backups and
     redundancy systems in place taking into account projected load capacity based on user growth
     estimates. Review the disaster recovery process.

     3. Determine server, operating system and network compatibility with potential Content Management
     Systems under consideration.

     4. Provide recommendations for any hardware and software purchases and process changes (if
     necessary).


I.   Indicate the Quality Assurance Methodology you will use and your plan to create a quality
     assurance format for use during the entire project.

     The Quality Assurance methodology at Ripple Effects Interactive is a multi-phase process designed to
     ensure that the final product delivered to the client is of the highest quality. The Quality Assurance team
     performs a series of targeted tests throughout the development cycle, ending with a meticulous review
     of the entire application. Below is a summary of the key aspects of the quality assurance plan.

                 All content is checked for thoroughness, errors in spelling, context and grammar.
                 All navigation is tested for functionality and compatibility with pre-defined web user
                  environments.
                 The project, in its final form, is meticulously compared to the specifications defined by the
                  User Experience Team in the Functional Specification, Technical Specification and the
                  Wire Frame documents.

     The Quality Assurance Process is comprised of the following phases:

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         1.   Detailed Definition of a Project Specific Quality Assurance Plan
         2.   In-Process Unit Testing
         3.   Final Product Comprehensive Testing
         4.   Client Review
         5.   Testing of Application in Final Web Server Environment
         6.   Universal Accessibility

Detailed Definition of a Project Specific Quality Assurance Plan
Every one of the project supervisors, producers and the entire quality assurance team is involved in the
initial phases of a project so that they can understand the unique issues that may require special
attention or testing techniques. A Quality Assurance Plan is then developed for the specific project. The
plan is based on a predefined structure that integrates industry best-practices and references internal
empirical data to assure a comprehensive testing approach. This basic plan is then augmented with
project specific requirements as defined in the Functional and Technical Specification documents to
generate a comprehensive Quality Assurance Plan.

In-Process Unit Testing
Unit testing is the evaluation of specific areas of an application that have been identified as requiring
special attention because of sophisticated functionality or where a module of functionality will be
repeated, with altered content, multiple times on the Web site. Unit testing enables all functionality
issues of the modules to be resolved prior to building the additional instances of the modules. This
process is critical to saving development time and project expense. This is not only an efficient and
cost-saving approach to application development, it also acts as a checkpoint to validate (or invalidate)
specific programming constructs prior to site-wide deployment.

Final Product Comprehensive Testing
Upon completion of the entire application, the comprehensive testing phase of the Quality Assurance
Plan begins. It is at this point that every instance of content and functionality is evaluated for
thoroughness and operability. A variety of tools and techniques are employed to identify instances of
application nonconformance. The quality assurance team identifies specific details of the errors, the
individuals responsible for fixing the errors, the testing environments to use to verify that the errors have
been fixed, and all information required to track and fix each issue. The project’s producer, who
manages the entire process, distributes the QA team’s report to the appropriate individuals in
production. This process is repeated until all outstanding issues have been resolved.

Client Review
Following the comprehensive testing, the Web site is posted in a secure area of a server for client
review. The client will have a predefined period of time to review the site and report any issues. The
client service representative assists the client by gathering client feedback, informing the producer of an
identified error, then validating that the update has been made. This phase of the process assures
client satisfaction with the application prior to its being launched live to the general public.

Testing of Application in Final Web Server Environment
Once the final application has successfully passed the battery of tests performed by the quality
assurance team and has been approved by the client, it is ready to launch. The quality assurance team
works closely with the software engineers to focus on functionality and rigorously tests for performance

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in those areas. This final step assures flawless deployment of the application and facilitates one last
client review. Upon completion of all testing and remediation, the application is ready to be used.

Universal Accessibility
Ripple Effects Interactive has developed the expertise to build applications that are fully accessible to
individuals with disabilities. These individuals typically view Internet content with user agents that
access information differently than standard browsers. Web site developers must take into account the
manner in which these user agents access information and provide the necessary alternate content and
programming required to accommodate these various devices.

Ripple Effects Interactive applies accessibility standards throughout the entire Quality Assurance
process in order to deliver a product that meets the client’s and the audience’s expectations. Each step
in the process integrates the necessary information and quality assurance checks to provide
accessibility. The Quality Assurance Team utilizes a variety of tools to analyze a Web site’s
accessibility in addition to testing the site with a variety of the same user agents employed by the
disabled community. This comprehensive approach to validating accessibility assures the deployment
of a product that can be used by all audiences.




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J. Indicate how you will assess different content management systems, and how your firm will
   approach the instructional design aspects of the training that is required to use these systems.

    Ripple Effects Interactive has proven experience developing custom Content Management Systems for
    higher education clients. Our team understands the unique challenges higher education institutions face
    when publishing content online. Ripple Effects Interactive can offer an evaluation of off-the-shelf
    content management software systems. Ripple Effects Interactive would use the following process to
    conduct the evaluation.

    Content Management System (CMS) Assessment Method – 9 Steps

    1. Define user groups and hierarchy structure. Does the CMS provide various levels of access such as
    Author roles who can edit content, Manager roles who can approve and can edit content and
    Administrators who publish content as well as edit and approve content? Are additional roles required
    for NEIU? Does the CMS provide these roles?

    2. Define system architecture. Determine hardware and software requirements. Key determining factors
    will include the use of a database and expected use of the CMS and web site traffic.

    3. Define internal publishing process and requirements. For example, does all copy need approval
    before being published? Can individuals be responsible for editing portion of the site autonomously? Is
    a defined editorial review process currently in place for other NEIU publications and marketing
    materials?

    4. Determine media formats and file types for inclusion in the CMS and Web site. Will images, video,
    audio files be included on the web site? Can the proposed CMS handle multiple file types?

    5. Determine navigation scheme based on proposed redesign. It is important to design the site with a
    CMS in mind because the site structure is critical for dynamic sites where multiple content editors that
    update content frequently.

    6. Compare costs to comparable CMS.

    7. Compare ease of use between comparable CMS products. A CMS that is too complex to use will
    lead to slow adoption internally and decrease the performance of the Web site redesign.

    8. Assess the CMS applicability to the education-publishing environment at NEIU. Does the CMS match
    the current publishing process well? Are there roll back features to ensure content is updated
    consistently?

    9. Determine if the CMS includes adherence to ADA/Section 508 Web site accessibility standards to
    ensure that all students can access NEIU Web site content.

    As an alternative, Ripple Effects Interactive could develop a custom content management system at a
    fraction of the cost. Our custom built Content Management System costs $30,000.


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    Training

    Should NEIU purchase Ripple Effects Interactive’s CMS, Ripple Effects Interactive will provide an
    experienced CMS trainer who has conducted dozens of training sessions with various higher education
    clients. The trainer will be on site for five days to conduct training sessions with user groups. The goal
    of these training workshops will be to ―train-the- trainers.‖ This means that the primary content
    administrators, who have access to publish content, will be trained on the entire system. These trainers
    will then in turn train the other content publishers in the system.

    For example, Ripple Effects Interactive developed a custom CMS for CCAC, that is used by more than
    150 individuals within the college. As a result of out ―train-the-trainers‖ approach their site has been
    successfully updated more than 2,300 times in the past 6 months.

    As detailed in the RFP, the redeveloped site will include an online training module on the Intranet to
    teach content creators how to use the designed style sheets. In addition ―train the trainer‖ training
    sessions will instruct six university trainers who will train employees tasked with on-going maintenance
    and content and site development in the future.

    Training will consist of all operations of the newly developed site and Ripple Effects Interactive will
    provide facilitators manuals, model policies, development tools including schema and templates
    appropriate and complete training documentation, including but not limited to:

               a.   Process for converting old pages to new
               b.   Process for adding new pages
               c.   On-going operations
               d.   Use of the back-end database and administrative tools developed


K. Indicate the web design tools you anticipate using for this project.

    The ability to provide web programming support to a university will require expertise in a number of
    programming languages, application servers and operating systems. Today’s web applications are
    increasingly complex and proprietary – requiring intimate knowledge of the underlying application
    platform and operating systems. Conversely, the very nature of the Internet requires that these
    applications seamlessly interoperate.

    Ripple Effects Interactive’s team of skilled engineers includes multi-disciplined software developers who
    pride themselves on their ability to integrate disparate platforms and technologies. By design, Ripple
    Effects Interactive is ―platform agnostic‖ – that is, unlike most software developers who make
    recommendations and deploy solutions based upon their limited proficiency in one or two platforms,
    Ripple Effects Interactive is capable of deploying solutions that are best suited to the client’s unique
    needs and preferences.

    Proficiency to deploy solutions on any major platform is a must when working with a large institution.
    Because NEIU is comprised of multiple schools and departments, Ripple Effects Interactive is confident
    that many different computer platforms are in use and that the types of applications in use will also be
    as varied as their platforms.
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Below is a listing of our team’s knowledge of relevant programming languages and tools. What Ripple
Effects Interactive will ultimately implement will be determined by considering NEIU project goals.

Programming Languages
     Java
     Perl
     C/C++

Application Interfaces
     Common Gateway Interface (CGI)
     Java Servlets and Java Server Pages (JSP)
     Active Server Pages (ASP)
     Cold Fusion (CFM)

Server-side Scripting Languages
     ASP
     ASP.NET
     JSP
     CFM
     WMLScript

Client-side Scripting Languages
     JavaScript
     VB Script

Markup Languages
     HTML/XHTML
     XML
     XSL
     XSLT

Enterprise Object Models
     EJB
     .NET
     DCOM

Databases
     Oracle
     Microsoft SQL Server
     IBM DB2
     IBM DL/1 (IMS)
     Other (Access, DBM/GDBM, mSQL, MySQL, PostgreSQL)

Data Modeling Tools
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       ERwin

Stored Procedure Languages and Tools
     PL/SQL (Oracle)
     Transact-SQL (SQL Server)
     QMF/SPUFI (DB2)

Operating Systems
    Microsoft Windows (2000 Server, NT4 Server)
    Unix (Sun Solaris, IBM AIX, Linux)
    IBM (AS400)


Protocols
     TCP/IP
     WAP

Ripple Effects Interactive has successfully developed and deployed solutions for a number of higher
education clients that are equally relevant to NEIU’s needs. The following are a sample listing of
projects:

       Complex online registration applications for the Masters of Information Systems Management
        (MISM) program at Carnegie Mellon University – Ripple Effects Interactive developed the web
        application that allowed CMU MISM applicants to submit and track their program application
        online.

       Content management tools for Carnegie Mellon University, the Community College of
        Allegheny County and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, among many others – Our CMS
        solutions enable clients to update their Web sites without using markup languages, i.e. HTML.

       Online educational tools (ExplorePAhistory.com)

       Information portals (ExperiencePA.com, InventPA.com) – The State of Pennsylvania’s award
        winning tourism and economic development portals are completely data-driven, dynamic web
        sites.

       E-commerce applications (AlcoaDirect) – As the manager and application architect of Alcoa’s
        business to business e-commerce site, Carl Kelly coordinated and intergrated the disparate
        systems of more than 22 of Alcoa’s business units and hundreds of customers.

       Human resource self-service applications (Mellon 401(k) Inquiry) – While at Mellon Bank, Carl
        Kelly developed an application for the bank’s intranet providing Mellon employees with real-
        time web access to their mainframe based 401(k) information.



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DOCUMENT INFO
Description: Response to Rfp Request for Proposal, Creating Database, Integration and Development of Dynamic Web Based Portal document sample