By Angela Ang
Canine Companions for Independence is a nonprofit organization that improves the lives of people with disabilities by providing them with highly trained assistance dogs, i.e. service, hearing, skilled companion and facility dogs.
They have a consistent and active presence on the web, starting in December 1996, picking up at the end of mid-2002, and showing strong activity in 2006-07 and 2009.
Their website at www.cci.org is fairly clean and modern-looking. It’s almost mobile-friendly; the feature slider does not size down correctly and the bottom widgets, which are good highlights, disappear completely when the screen resolution is decreased. However, the navigation menu is concise and relevant and there is a large feature slider on the home page with calls to action inviting people to get involved: to sign a petition, to become a volunteer puppy-raiser, to make a donation and to register for a charity walk. There is also a prominent sign-up widget for their newsletter.
They have social media icons, albeit a little too small and located too discretely in the footer, for their blog, Facebook, Flckr, Twitter and YouTube pages. Their blog is clean and simple. Their Facebook page is active and has many likes and participants talking about it. Their Flickr page is a little sparse and could use more photos. They have many followers on Twitter and regularly post tweets. They regularly upload videos on YouTube.
Their blog and YouTube pages are focused on personal, one-on-one stories. Their Facebook page covers everything, from personal stories to news and events. Their Twitter page covers mostly events and announcements. Their Flickr page seems disconnected from the rest.
There is no information on their website about their marketing or technical staff.
My first recommendation would be to fix their website, especially the feature slider, and make it mobile-friendly. I like their home page; however, the sliding supporting donors/partners near the bottom are distracting, unnecessary on the home page and should be moved to a different page.
My second recommendation would be to increase the visibility and use of their slogan, “Help is a four-legged word,” and not just limit it to their About page and blog.
Although their Facebook page seems cluttered with personal stories, news, events, I think it’s kind of a convenient stopping point for people to get involved, participate in discussions and stay up-to-date with the organization. However, their YouTube page is cluttered. The videos can be better organized according to topics and particular events. As of now, “Favorite Videos”, “My Top Videos” and “My Vlog” are the only defining categories.