With end of year fast approaching, it’s likely that your nonprofit is making plans for 2017. No matter your mission, having a website that inspires action is crucial to the continued advancement of your cause! This begins with understanding your audience and what’s important to them. The experience your organization provides online must be one that converts. And every pixel counts.

Does your website provide an experience that converts interest into action? Ask yourself these questions to see if a website redesign should be a part of your plans for 2017:

1. Is your website responsive?

Responsive web design started its takeover of the Internet in 2011 and has since become a necessity. Your donors and activists want ALL of your content on EVERY device, and responsive design is the only way to achieve that. If your website is not responsive, it’s time to redesign!

2. Are your images large enough?

Thanks to today’s technology, your website visitors can see more clearly than ever before. Our screens keep getting larger and support higher resolutions and your website should take advantage. Click around on your site and evaluate the sizes of your images. Do you have to squint to see faces? If you want to get down to the pixels, your images should be at least 400 x 250px. You may need to go smaller to display a list page full of thumbnails and teasers, but most of your images should be big and beautiful. Also, for your large banner images, consider filling the full width of the screen. The most common screen width for desktop/laptop computers is 1336px, so you can go pretty wide. Full-width images are a nice way to break up content on your site and add a modern flair.

3. Do you have a lot of nested navigation?

Every site should have a main navigation component, and many sites need a section navigation component to help visitors get to each page within a section. For example, an “Our Work” section may have individual pages describing each type of work your organization does, or an “About Us” section may have pages for Staff, History, etc. Things start to get complicated when there is even more navigation below that. So in the above example, let’s say your Staff section had even more pages for Executive, Marketing, Development, etc. I’d call that overkill. The trend these days is to have more content on each page rather than have tons of really short pages that users have to click around to find. If your site has a lot of these menus within menus, it’s probably time to redesign.

4. Do you have a lot of old, outdated or infrequently visited pages?

If you’re trying to assess your website needs, a content inventory is always a good place to start. By taking stock of your content, you can get a clear picture of what pages/sections you can retire. A quick way to asses a page’s popularity is to have your Google Analytics account open as you do your inventory. Pull up a list of content and then search for each page as you go, recording the page rank as part of your inventory. This way, you can be sure you don’t get rid of any popular content.

Finally, I’d add that it’s a good idea to redesign your website every 5-7 years. If it’s been longer than that for you, you may want to make it a priority. I hope these questions and tips will get the conversation started at your organization!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lacey Kruger, principal information architect for Blackbaud, works with nonprofit clients to design online properties that work. Whether a full-scale website, a campaign site or a mobile app, Lacey guides clients through a research-based and user-centered approach to design. In her 10+ years at Blackbaud, she has developed a deep understanding of nonprofit web presences. That knowledge, along with her years of experience in information design, have established her as an industry expert.

Lacey has written a Blackbaud eBook, “A Guide to the Nonprofit Web Design Process” and her article, “Designing Nonprofit Experiences: Building a UX Toolkit” was published in User Experience magazine. She has presented at industry conferences including bbcon, IA Summit and BIG Design. When she’s not working, Lacey loves to cook and also enjoys yoga, watching movies and catching alligators (really!).

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