Nonprofit Website Usability in Detail (Pt 2)

You’ll benefit the most from this article if you have in fact already read PART 1 -Nonprofit Website Usability in Detail.  And it also contains links to a couple more useful articles.

I’m often told that what helps most is seeing actual examples of what not to do as well as good examples. I have one of each for you.

Let’s start with an example of what NOT to do: EvangelCathedral.net/welcome.htm.  They use Flash extensively, and you’ll be startled by loud music.  I’ll warn you that you may get dizzy or turn cross-eyed trying to look at this home page.  With all the flash I can scarcely focus on the navigation links.

Conversely, here’s a site that does pretty well: AmericanHiking.org. There’s an easy to find search feature; the first photo shown explains their purpose very clearly; and all photos are of people enjoying hikes.  In a few seconds a visitor knows where they are, what the nonprofit does, and how to join or donate.  They also have a way to capture emails and there’s a 3rd party endorsement – Charity Navigator 4-Star rating.  The left hand navigation links are straightforward with one exception and that’s the link, “partners.”  On the “down side” I consider the center two columns a bit cluttered; and it is really hard to see the “Contact Us” link up in the header.

Moving on . . . Do your navigation links use terms donors understand?  And remember, your organization may be structured in terms of programs; but donors don’t think that way.  Navigation must be written for how your audience thinks.

Foggy, Confusing or Just Not Quite Clear Enough

Clear Terms

Support Us

Donate

Help Us

Give

Lend Your Support

Give

Come Join Us

Volunteer

Programs

Disaster Response

Current Campaigns

What we’re doing today

How we serve

What we do

Our Story

About Us

Finally, here are a few other tips to enhance the usability of your website and home page:

  • About Us – is a very popular button people look for and click on
  • Make it easy to contact your staff; have an easy to see phone number on every page along with a “Contact Us” link/button
  • Make certain people can easily find your mailing address – only one click away
  • Keep it brief – Most organizations put way too much on their home page and write in too much detail.  Plus the wording isn’t donor-centered or clear.  Key messages need to be as visible and easy to read as a message on a billboard traveling at 60 miles an hour.
  • Make certain your passion for the cause comes through in your copy and your photos.  Be warm; share stories; and include emotion in your copy.
  • Do your own usability testing with people unfamiliar with your nonprofit.  It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive.  Whether it’s for testing or design tips, I strongly recommend this book: “Don’t Make Me Think; A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability” by Steve Krug.

Remember: Changes such as these have the potential to DOUBLE your ONLINE DONATIONS.  And if you doubt me I recommend you read “Survey Says . . . Nonprofit Websites Confuse Visitors” in my News Archives section.

Sometimes it takes an outsider to see where the stumbling blocks are for your visitors.  I’d be proud to help you by being that objective outsider.  Here’s a rather unique service I offer:  I’ll evaluate your home page and tell you at least 5 changes you can make to improve usability and to have clearer copy.  Call me, 1-800-794-1609 or send me an email with your URL.  I’ll send you an affordable quote the very same day.

Interested in more fundraising and marketing insights?

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I look forward to helping you prosper.

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