Category Archives: Uncategorized
March 28, 2013, 9:42 am
Over the past decade, we have seen many important evolutions in the field of design. Fields like “interaction design” focus on making digital and physical products easier and more desirable for people to use. As technology has progressed, it has allowed us to design devices that adapt to how humans naturally use things, rather than forcing people to adapt to technology. Think about how much easier it is to surf the Internet on an iPhone than it was 10 years ago on a flip phone.
Taking this evolution even further is an exciting area of design called “service design,” which focuses on improving processes and …
January 17, 2013, 6:36 pm
Some nonprofits are able to articulate what they are and what they do quickly and clearly.
Amnesty International, for example, has a simple and concise tag line that is front and center on all of its communications: exposing and preventing human-rights abuses.
It’s easy to understand what Amnesty International is and what it does. But all too often, nonprofits—and even big businesses—make the mistake of failing to have an effective tag line.
Attention spans are short, and you have only a few fleeting moments to grab the attention of someone who is visiting your Web site, reading your appeal letter, or meeting you in person.
Often the ability to explain what you do starts with something basic, like a…
December 3, 2012, 4:17 pm
Typography is one of the most important elements of design.
The right typeface can add the perfect look and feel to your Web site, appeal letter, or annual report. But until recently designers were constrained by a very limited choice of fonts that could be used online. As a result, most designers relied on standard Web fonts like Arial and Verdana.
But with some exciting changes in technology, nonprofits now have more options than ever before when they’re choosing fonts for their Web sites and online communications.
New online resources such as Typekit, Google Web Fonts, and @Font-Face have changed Web design by offering hundreds of great fonts that render correctly on any Web browser. That change makes it easier for a nonprofit to find Web-compatible fonts that can help define its image.
Below are three examples of Web sites that are taking advantage of these options to…
August 3, 2012, 9:00 am
Goodwill is well known for its thrift stores, but its home page could do much to help people who don’t even know that the charity’s main purpose is to help disabled people find jobs and succeed on their own.
The home page offers a link to the mission statement (which is a bit vague) but doesn’t tell me right away what the group does, as I suggested in my overview of key points for a nonprofit home page.
The main call to action is to find your local Goodwill, which might be the step the organization wants most visitors to take. If however, donations are just as important, the ability to donate could be featured more prominently.
Like other nonprofits, Goodwill could benefit from a better presentation of dynamic content. Not only is it important to educate first-time visitors but it’s just as important to persuade people to return again and again.
Goodwill does a good…
August 2, 2012, 9:00 am
But the page doesn’t meet all the standards that a good page needs, as I noted in my overview post.
The fact that the main slide disappears before most people would probably have enough time to absorb it works against the group. The main text, “The answer is in all of us,” sounds a lot like marketing speak and doesn’t tell us anything of substance.
However these problems are mostly offset by a strong brand identity reinforced by a famous celebrity, the subtitle, “You can be part of our mission to speed a cure for Parkinson’s disease,” and the organization’s name, which includes “for Parkinson’s Research.” If the organization didn’t have such a clear name and well-known celebrity, it might struggle to keep visitors…
August 1, 2012, 2:07 am
One of the most often-praised nonprofit home pages was designed by One, a group that seeks ways to help people escape poverty.
Designers have long praised this page for its simplicity, a key feature, as I noted in my post Monday. The slideshow at the top focuses on the most important issue, while giving you a sneak peak at two other features.
Some Web sites rely on slideshows to showcase a nonprofit’s latest and greatest projects, but in doing so they forget that newcomers to the site may feel disoriented by seeing a current campaign without being told about the purpose and activities of the organization.
One.org overcomes that problem by including “Join the fight against extreme poverty” in big letters below the slideshow. This statement is clear, concise, and action-oriented. It encourages you to get involved, while the forms below the statement make it easy to do so.
July 31, 2012, 2:03 pm
Kiva is very well known in some circles, but others don’t know about its approach of seeking donors to give small loans to entrepreneurs.
Its old site had a diagram that explained the process very clearly, but its new home page relies on just one sentence “Empower people around the world with a $25 loan.”
As someone who is very familiar with Kiva, I think that’s a well-written sentence. However, those who are unfamiliar with the organization or the concept of micro-loans may struggle to understand what it’s all about. That’s a problem, as I noted in my overview of what makes a great home page.
Upon arriving to the site, a pop-up automatically appears, showcasing one person who you can help with a loan. The pop-up gives you a very specific action to take—”Lend Now”—and a secondary one—”Browse all loans.”
If you are inclined to do either of those things, it’s great,…
July 30, 2012, 9:00 am
A nonprofit’s home page is its face to the digital world. As our lives become more and more digital, creating a great home page can make an enormous difference in how many people understand and engage with your organization.
The first thing to remember is that people tend to scan Web pages. Long passages of text that explain an organization’s mission and values are rarely read and take up valuable real estate on the home page. Within a few seconds, visitors to your site should understand what you do and what actions you want them to take.
When creating a home page, it’s essential to write and rewrite the main text until a clear, intriguing, and very short explanation emerges. Many visitors spend only a few seconds trying to understand what they are looking at, and if they’re confused they will probably move on.
Once visitors know what you do, they need to know what you want…
July 12, 2012, 2:05 pm
Your organization’s logo offers the world a glimpse of who you are and what you do. It should not just be instantly recognizable but also offer a clear and compelling narrative that people will remember.
Too often, nonprofits attempt to do too much with a logo, or they use generic, ubiquitous, and clichéd visual motifs that ignore what makes a group special.
How many times have we seen a nonprofit using a logo with people holding hands? Or maybe the ever-popular abstract human-like figure. Perhaps they were joined in a circle, or included the planet:
It is, of course, easy to understand the thinking behind these logos. Many nonprofits serve people and the planet. It makes sense to show people lifting each other up, holding hands, working together, and making progress as a community.
However, if your logo looks like everyone else’s logo, you stop saying any…
July 12, 2012, 2:04 pm
Design matters now more than ever. From corporate giants like Apple to start-ups like the travel business Airbnb, organizations that harness beautiful, strategic designs are succeeding in incredible new ways.
But great design isn’t just for for-profits. Nonprofits like Charity: Water, ONE International, Product RED, and the World Wildlife Fund have made design central to their work.
These innovative organizations have a profound awareness of the power of design to signal quality, communicate purpose, visualize their impact, and create experiences that inspire and engage audiences, old and new. As attention spans decline, donation options increase, and digital tools proliferate, harnessing design becomes one of the most powerful ways for an organization to amplify its influence.
As you look for ways to use design to advance your cause, I hope Redesigning Good provides an…