Yesterday, Safe Kids Worldwide [http://www.safekids.org] launched a brand new web site. During the redesign process, Safe Kids worked with Convio to conduct significant user research to ensure the new site would meet the needs of their various audiences. The new site looks great and is much easier to use than the previous version – nice job Safe Kids!
On the heels of a previous post I wrote about “The 10 commandments of effective homepage design”, I thought I’d compare the old Safe Kids homepage to the new one along the lines of those commandments…
[screenshot of old homepage]
I. Thou shalt clearly state who you are and what do you.
The old homepage did convey who Safe Kids is with a nice tagline and a photo of the child in a carseat. The new site, however, provides an even stronger message about who Safe Kids is with a more descriptive tagline and larger photographs of happy children.
II. Thou shalt be able to point to where your top 3-5 online goals are represented on the homepage.
Some of Safe Kids’s online goals include capturing email addresses and increasing donations. Unlike the previous site, the email sign-up is now available on every page in the new site. The homepage also includes a “Donate Now” promotion below the left navigation.
III. Thou shalt offer clear, concise navigation.
Safe Kids previous navigation was confusing and not tuned towards Parents, who are their primary audience. The new navigation not only offers clear and concise options in the left nav, it also offers audience-specific options in the top tabs in case a user identifies specifically with one group.
IV. Thou shalt provide scannable, up-to-date content that entices visitors to click for more.
Safe Kids new homepage offers dynamically updated content under “What’s New” and also under “Product Recalls”, which are very popular among visitors of their website. The previous site offered up-to-date content, but it was not easily scannable and trailed down the length of the page.
V. Thou shalt dedicate space to each of your audience groups.
The previous website did not offer any cues or entry points for each audience group, but the new site provides tabs for each one, which allows Safe Kids to consolidate relevant information in an audience-specific way.
VI. Thou shalt convey a visual hierarchy so visitors know where to look and what to do first.
The old web site included several promotional items on the right side that tended to compete for attention. The new site has a clear visual hierarchy that points first to the rotating feature area and also the options below “How You Can Help” with the icons used in that section.
VII. Thou shalt include 3-4 ways for visitors to engage.
The “How You Can Help” section on the new homepage offers, at a glance, a listing of ways users can get involved today. The old website did offer ways to get involved, but they were scattered about and difficult to locate.
VIII. Thou shalt avoid the Flash intro or any other gratuitous animation.
The new web site does include a rotating feature graphic, but it is not intrusive and does provide the most important content on the page.
IX. Thou shalt make sure most relevant content is above the fold.
The old homepage scrolled for pages and pages. The new homepage does offer all navigation and the feature area above the fold, along with headlines for the rest of the content so that users know there is more to see.
X. Thou shalt balance meaningful content with relevant supporting graphics
The old homepage was text-heavy, with very few graphics. The new site offers more imagery, which is all supported by relevant content and/or calls to action.
All-in-all, the new website abides by the “10 Commandments” and is a great showcase of how user research can really pay off when redesigning your site. Way to go Safe Kids!