Raheel Gauba's blog Sans Profit Design got me thinking about website usability. It's not a topic talked a lot about in the nonprofit sector these days. A lot of time, resources, and money is spent on lots of website initiatives and tools, but not enough attention is paid to simple usability.
It's Art and Science
After more than a decade of working on Internet projects one of the big realities is that good usability is both an art and a science. It's also less about the tools being used and more about the strategy, goals, and target audiences of the website. A recent report on donation form usability done by guru Jakob Nielsen and the Nielsen Norman Group shows how simple mistakes or slight changes make a big difference. The report is only $98 and would pay for itself in no time at all.
Some Usability Testing Beats None
Usability testing is one of the more under utilized things you can do to improve your online results. It doesn’t require a lot of resources or costs to do even basic testing. There are a lot of myths about usability testing, like the idea that you need hundreds of testers that fit a specific profile. Wrong. Many years ago I had the chance to be a peer reviewer for Steve Krug's book Don't Make Me Think. It is still one of the best books on usability for non-technical people.
Free Usability Testing Anyone?
I think usability testing is so important that I'm willing to do some of it for free. Readers can drop me an email at steve.maclaughlin /at/ blackbaud.com and I'll pick the first few that come in. We'll do some initial testing and I'll put the results together for a future blog post. Any takers?