Design for Good: 4 (More) Nonprofit Design Principles - Part 2 of 2

Raheel Gauba - 07.14.2009

A few weeks ago, I shared with you the first four design principles to help nonprofits make the best of their online presence. Here is the second installment with the final four principles...

5. The Purpose of the Website Should Be Obvious Through Intelligent Design

Website audiences make decisions in split seconds - For example, even on a SERP (Search Engine Results Page), we click on multiple websites within a few seconds to find the information we are looking for. The website that eventually wins our attention is usually the one that communicates it’s purpose and it’s content in a logical way that is easy to understand and digest right away. Make sure that your mission and purpose is reflected in your branding, imagery, strategically positioned content and navigation.

6. Focus on Moving the Audience

Let’s face it - Your website does not exist as a boutique just to show off information about your organization. Instead, it’s actually a tool that you have employed to mobilize your audience... As such, ensure that your content on the homepage is focused on three key items:

MISSION:

What does your organization do and why it’s doing it

SUCCESSES:

What are the results of your actions 

CALL TO ACTION:

How can your audience help?

Your audience has to be "sold" on why they should do what you want them to do... so let them know who you are, what you have done and then create a path for them to perform an action!

7. Think Outside the Box while Keeping It Real when it comes to Design

Design is very subjective... It is the first thing that your audience experiences when they come to your website. As mentioned earlier, you only have a few microseconds to impress them. In addition to logically placed content, it is very important to approach design in a sophisticated manner that makes your audience feel comfortable and gain confidence in your organization. As with all things creative, it’s easy for a web designer to get carried away with completely conceptual, avant-garde and non-practical look... Ensure that you maintain the spice of the conceptual domain but balance it with usability for your masses. The key to success is make it easier for your audience to explore your website and understand your mission - This is how both you and your audience win!

8. Maximize your Content Management System's (CMS) Potential

If your website is running on a CMS, congratulations, you have already started to develop your web presence in a dynamic environment that can grow (assuming you made a good decision on the CMS, that is another topic of discussion altogether!). The next step is to ensure that you are putting it to good use by maximizing its potential... How do you do that? By choosing a partner that has a deep understanding of the system you are using. For example, the designers from the Internet Solutions Team at Blackbaud build websites within Sphere and NetCommunity day in and day out... period. That is all they use to develop websites for nonprofits. As such, they have extensive knowledge about how to maximize the tools at your disposal not only from a functional standpoint, but also from a visual user interface perspective as well.
 

Here are some more examples of websites that demonstrate some, if not all of the principles mentioned above... Do you have more advice to share with your peers? Get involved... leave a comment!

 

Free the Slaves

Free the Slaves

Fontbonne Academy

Fontbonne Academy

Greater Atlanta Christian

Greater Atlanta Christian

Housing Works

Housing Works

Leadership Florida

Leadership Florida

New York School of Interior Design

New York School of Interior Design



Filed under: design tips, Web Design, Creative Direction, Nonprofits, Client Feature, Inspiration

 

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