I am in the Netherlands speaking at the 2010 Civil Society Congres today. This is one of the major not-for-profit …
What catches your eye when you look at your web site’s homepage? What is the first thing you see and the first thing you want to click on? These are questions we almost always ask during a usability test to ensure our visual hierarchy is coming through clearly and consistently. Think of the visual hierarchy as the pecking order of a page’s content, providing cues as to what’s most important. If your organization wants, first and foremost, to bring in donations, then a compelling ask should rank high in your list. Maybe you’d rather get visitors to take an action alert or read a new study you’ve published. Your visual hierarchy should reflect your organization’s goals, whatever those may be at the time.
Take a look at the Blockbuster web site. Since Netflix arrived on the scene, one of their goals is likely to obtain subscribers to the DVD-by-mail program. From their homepage, the first thing I see is the “Try it free” button on the “Movies Delivered” promo. The “Learn More” for Blockbuster On Demand also stands out, which is likely reflective of another one of Blockbuster’s goals.
The Jewish National Fund site also demonstrates a good visual hierarchy. My eyes are drawn to the “Donate” button in the top navigation bar and the graphic in the “Plant a Tree” promotional box, both of which are major goals for the organization.
Many of you may be so used to looking at your web site that you may not see a visual hierarchy anymore. Or, the one you do see may be artificially influenced by what you know is most important. In that case, have a friend take a look at your site and tell you what they see first. You could try a “5-second test” where you display the homepage for 5 seconds, then close it and ask your friend to write down what they remember. If their list does not correspond to your organizational goals, then consider rearranging the page or redesigning certain elements. You’re likely to see more clicks and actions taken as a result.
Getting Creative with Online Fundraising: 10 Campaigns Using Mission Inspired Gifts aka Gift Catalogues
An event May 10, 2010 in DC, hosted by the New America Foundation, on the topic of how funding and grants data could be shared and used in other ways. It should be pretty interesting – a brainstorming session of sorts about what could be done with data from philanthropic foundations.
After my last post, a reader asked for more information and instruction on creating a content inventory. What a great idea for a follow-up post! Maintaining an up to date listing of all content on your site will help your web team make decisions about adding new content and removing or updating outdated content, allowing you to keep your web site fresh which entices users to come back. Also, content inventories are essential for any web site redesign to ensure the new site structure accommodates all types of content you’re looking to include. So, how do you make one?
1. Start with a blank Excel spreadsheet using the following column headers:
a. Page ID – Use a numbering system here for reference and to indicate hierarchy of each page.
b. Title – This is the title of each page as represented in the navigation.
c. URL – A link to each page for quick access.
d. Owner – Person in your organization responsible for creation and maintenance.
Over time, you can add columns and information to your inventory as needed – things like “Notes”, “Date updated”, “Due date”, etc. – but these columns represent the basic information you’ll need to get started.
2. Populate the spreadsheet with your sitemap, starting with the highest level pages first, then working your way down to the detailed pages that may not be accessible from the navigation. I typically start on the homepage and then click all of the links in the navigation, documenting each as I go. Then, I’ll revisit each page, adding in rows for pages that are linked from there. Now, depending on the size of your web site, this may be a really tedious process but doing it manually is the most accurate approach. There are a few site crawler tools that can generate a list of links on your site (GSiteCrawler is one we’ve used) but they are quite clunky and you’ll still need to organize the links in a hierarchical order once you have the list. These tools are helpful to extract links for each page though, especially for sites with large news or press sections, to ensure that all content is represented on your inventory.
3. Keep it updated! Once you’ve completed your inventory, keep a copy on a shared drive so authors can update it as they add new content. It’s also a great tool to reference when developing an editorial calendar and, as we mentioned, is crucial for a redesign.
It’s no secret by now that social media is hot topic with nonprofit organizations, and quickly the topic of social …