4 Tips to Improving User Experience for Nonprofits
Most nonprofit organizations face unique challenges when launching or simply optimizing an existing website. With so many audiences to engage—from members, advocates, donors and policymakers—content needs to resonate with a range of users, each with varying preferences, behaviors and world views.
Below are some tips that will help your nonprofit deliver on what your users are looking for before they get away.
1. Get to Know Your Audience
What makes your audience unique? Understand what motivates them and then provide the right content at the right time to build trust. Knowing exactly who your users are is foundational to creating the best user experience (UX).
Start by creating three to five profiles or personas of people who represent your target users. Give them a gender, occupation, motivations, frustrations, a photo, quote and even a name. Next time you develop web content, identify which persona will most likely be reading it and write for them.
Common problem this addresses: High-bounce rates from users who don’t think web content is relevant to them.
2. Categorize Content for Users
Is the right content being delivered to all of your audiences? Target different users by carving out feature sections high on your homepage. Then, link to deeper pages within your site that organize and expose more in-depth content.
Start by finding the intersection between users’ interests and your nonprofit’s mission. This will help you identify which content to elevate or tuck away. Make content on internal pages more scannable with sub-headlines and bullets.
Common problem this addresses: Unclear navigation. A firehose of content when the user is looking for one particular takeaway.
3. Simplify the User Path
Can users easily find what they need? Is the path to important data, news, membership information, registration, etc. clear or filled with distractions? Effective websites lay out what is most important for visitors, as well as give them a preview of what to expect next.
Start by pretending you are one of your users. Identify an action people take often on your site and try to complete it as they would. Repeat as necessary, testing different personas and paths.
Common problem this addresses: Confusing navigation. Hidden information.
4. Differentiate, Early and Often
How is your nonprofit different from other organizations? Clearly articulating your organization’s strengths will help you communicate more effectively. Create emotional storytelling content when possible. This will allow the meaningful work of your nonprofit to shine.
Start by finding your organizational voice, which will then guide the tone across your owned and shared channels. Experimenting with messages using this organizational voice will allow you to test and measure what works as you go.
Common problem this addresses: Being forgettable, and missing opportunities to connect your audience’s passion to the root of the good work you do. Struggling to measure your organizational goals in the online space.
So, take a fresh look at your website. What can be improved? Embrace the common ground between users’ interests and your organization’s goals. Your users and your team will thank you.
Kate Thomas is a senior digital designer at Crosby Marketing, bringing smart solutions and empathy to user's experience. She loves helping nonprofits, government and health care clients more effectively Inspire Actions That Matter TM with her digital powers.