Racial Equity Resource Guide Connects Communities
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Providing practical resources to help organizations and individuals working to achieve racial healing and equity in their communities, the Racial Equity Resource Guide connects communities.
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s America Healing initiative was launched in 2010 to help provide communities and grantees with strategies and tools to work toward racial healing through racial equity. One of these tools is a printed Resource Guide filled with practical materials, such as dialogue guides, relevant books or videos, organizations working within the field, and other racial equity resources.
While the materials found in this Racial Equity Resource Guide provide an abundant source of information for the America Healing audience, the structure and format of the Guide was not as accessible as it could be. The hard copy Resource Guide was only available online in a PDF format and only by request. At 175 pages long, the one-size-fits-all Resource Guide was not easy for users to search through. It was also costly for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to add or revise content and then re-circulate to the America Healing community.
Connections Media was asked to help bring these important resources into the digital space. Our objective was to create an interactive, online tool, where users could easily search for materials, create a customized Resource Guide tailored to their unique needs, and efficiently share their personalized Resource Guide with other members of the America Healing community.
Our approach in developing the online Racial Equity Resource Guide was unique in several ways. Though the principal content for the website already existed in the original version, there was no overarching taxonomy cataloging the materials - a critical component of the site’s user experience, design direction, and content management system organization.
After an extensive review of the existing Resource Guide, Connections Media identified three content types by which to sort each resource. Likewise, W.K. Kellogg Foundation provided four primary ‘Areas of Focus’ sections based on their current program priorities. These two primary classification methods were the foundation for the site’s design and content arrangement. Additional content cataloging (including material type, location, and program issue) followed suit. The classifications give each user multiple discovery options and provide categorical guidance for any new content going forward.
Since a primary goal of the project was to allow users to create and share a personalized guide, developing a Custom Resource Guide Generator tool was a critical element of the project. Users can add and remove any materials to their Resource Guide ‘cart’, which is accessible on every page of the site. When finalizing a guide, users can re-arrange the order of sections or individual materials, while still preserving a unified format. Once finalized, users can view and share their personalized Resource Guide rendered in HTML or download a PDF version.
With several layers of user interaction and customization, a robust user engagement system was another important section of the project. The “Dashboard” allows users to create a log-in, maintain a profile, and suggest new materials for the site. The Dashboard is a virtual workroom that acts as the primary interface for editing and managing saved versions of customized Resource Guides. It allows users to have an ongoing relationship with the site as well as the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
RacialEquityResourceGuide.org launched on April 15, 2014. The Resource Guide was well-received by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s America Healing program network of grantees, nonprofit organizations, and like-minded foundations. Since launch, hundreds of users have started creating their own personalized guides and new materials are added to the site on a regular basis. Connections Media anticipates the site’s engagement to steadily increase as a result of social media and social marketing campaigns, and as the America Healing program audience itself grows.