“If charities are failing to act when emotion strikes the user, they are not providing a good user experience and are failing to identify the user’s needs.” – We published these words in our blog two years ago, as part of a co-blog written with PHASE Worldwide, our Bristol-based charity partner, and they remain true to this day. We recently caught up with PHASE again, as they launched their redesigned website, investing in a friendlier user journey and making it easier for visitors to find what they are looking for.
Jonathan Scorer, the charity’s Communications and Partnerships Manager, listed the six top improvements the team worked on to make sure their online presence keeps users happy.
“Our new website is much faster, smoother and easier to use,” Jonathan says, and this newly improved journey starts with the redesigned homepage. One of the biggest challenges charities face when promoting their message online is making sure they communicate their objectives and values clearly and effectively.
“At first glance, the user needs to know what the organisation does and then be tempted to go deeper in to the site to find out more. That is why simple designs are key while at the same time having easy to understand links and buttons to other bits of content available.” Not only is the initial content well-structured and easy to understand, but the images captured by the organisation in Nepal and depicted in the homepage support the message.
One of the important things to keep in mind when creating or redesigning a charity website homepage is “choice reduction / prioritisation, whilst also allowing for discovery,” according to Ben Davis, editor of Econsultancy.
Speaking of choice reduction whilst allowing for discovery, the new website makes it easier than ever to find out more about PHASE Worldwide’s three main areas of work: health, education and livelihood.
“From each page of information about PHASE’s work, the user can then continue on a journey by clicking on related articles to be taken to other pages relating to that work area,” Jonathan explains, adding more details about the smart journey tracker developed by the charity: “the website knows which page you are on and links you to other pages containing content related to that page. For example, if you were to be viewing a project, and you scroll to the bottom of the page, the website would then display links to locations and stories linked to that location. This keeps the viewer experience flowing, so the user can continue to learn more before learning how they can get involved.”
The charity decided to introduce a colour-coding system that highlights different sections of the website in different tones, adding an extra element that helps users identify the section of the website they are viewing. This is quite helpful for visitors with certain cognitive impairments, whilst still assuring a good level of contrast for users with visual impairments and retaining the section names without relying solely on colour to make it easier for colourblind visitors.
“By using colour coding, the user can explore through the different sections of the site and know at a glance whether they are reading about one of the locations, projects, stories or events. Often when reading through the website the user may feel like they are lost through clicking links – this will help negate that. They can then click through different coloured links at the bottom of each page to head to a different part of the website.”
One of the major changes introduced during the redesign process included removing hidden options, so the users can see all the information available at first glance.
According to Jonathan, “a user’s experience navigating around a website becomes much easier by having no hidden buttons, no drop-down menus, just simple links to all the information leading them on a clear path thorough the site. By using this format, the user is never be more than a couple of clicks away from what they want to know.”
It’s easier than ever to support PHASE Worldwide, and web visitors now have more control. In the blog “UX evolutions” published by Adobe, author Oliver Lindberg highlights how important it is to use “creative approaches to reinvent the way people think about donating money”, as well as reporting back to the donors to share what their donation helped the organisation achieve. More and more, users in the digital space want to be in control of their data, privacy, money, etc.; and PHASE Worldwide took this into consideration during the redesign process.
“For charity websites, collecting donations is an important process. By having a clear donate button visible (yet not intrusive) at all times the user is viewing the site, it provides a clear path for giving at all times.” In the article Charities will soon live or die by the user experience, Susannah Birkwood highlights the importance of using smart defaults when setting up donations amounts and simplifying donations pages, two factors that PHASE Worldwide took into consideration when rebuilding this specific webpage.
“Declutter your site, make navigation easy to understand, ensure text is legible, strip away distractions and make buttons prominent,” says Will Cookson, the co-founder of online fundraising site Believe.in.
After clicking on the donate button, the users are taken to a simple donation form that is still embedded in the site itself rather than on a third-party platform, which keeps the look and feel of the site and easily guides the user through the process of donating whatever they feel appropriate.
According to Jonathan, “charity campaigns are an important part of fundraising. By embedding a live campaign target and donation form inside a campaign page, supporters have a quick and easy way to see how the campaign is coming along and help it on its way.”
One of PHASE’s current campaigns is called #RosieRuns, following patron Rosie Swale Pope, who is running all the way to Kathmandu from the UK, a total of 6,000 miles! The campaign page shows an embedded map, which is live tracking Rosie’s progress.
People for Research are organising an exciting charity initiative in collaboration with PHASE Worldwide to raise funds for the amazing work the charity does in remote regions of Nepal. Keep an eye on the blog for upcoming news. For now, you can find out more about PHASE Worldwide or donate at phaseworldwide.org.
Maria Santos, Head of Marketing and Data Protection
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