Non-Profit Case Study
How We Solved Some Massive Organizational And Data Management Problems
As a Non-Profit, there are two facts that are often at conflict with one another. You need to spend as little money as possible, but you need to provide services and information that people desperately need. Those two things are usually mutually exclusive.
One of the advantages of WordPress, is the thousands of plugins that can provide needed functionality without having to spend thousands of dollars on custom development. One of the things we pride ourselves on, is finding the best solution for your budget. We can help you creatively solve your problems while staying within your budget.
DATA DRIVEN UX
Every design we create, we use a data-driven approach to make sure we are solving real problems, rather than assuming we understand what the issue might be. By analyzing which pieces of the website are being used, and how, we can better settle on a design that is fluid, useful, and beautiful. Striking a balance between those three elements are the key to any successful redesign, and we dug deep into their analytics.
A NEW WEBSITE DESIGN
Keeping users engaged in an information heavy environment is a challenge for any organization. An outdated website design, one that is clunky or text heavy, or difficult to navigate, will kill your website traffic, and prevent you from helping the community you serve. Taking advantage of all the modern techniques and technologies can be transformative for your organization, and for the communities you serve.
If your goal is to provide information and resources to your users, then you have to make sure that the information is organized in a simple to follow flow. Not only that, but you have to ensure that managing that information for your organization is a simple and clean as possible. With thousands of PDFs and years worth of content, the Search Institute website required a complete rework of how the resources were organized.
The Old Website
The old website had numerous issues, from basic design flaws, to load time issues, to presenting information in a confusing way. Here were a couple of the issues we identified that led us in the correct direction:
- Their bounce rate was terrible. It was very obvious that a user would come to their site, spend about 2 seconds scrolling/reading through a page, and leave the website. Because they couldn’t find what they were looking for, and couldn’t see how to make a purchase, they simply moved on.
- The pages filled with lots of useful resources were confusing and terribly designed. Most of the PDFs were simply document titles (often unclear as to the contents) with a hyperlink to the PDF. It was clear from the data that users were incredibly frustrated, and would give up quickly when they couldn’t find the information they wanted. This resulted in missed opportunities to help their target community.
- Their website navigation was a complete mess. Links in the menu were disorganized, often put seemingly at random with other links in sub menus, and sub-sub menus, and sub-sub-sub menus (yes, that far). The idea that anyone would be able to find what they were looking for, by browsing at random through hundreds of pages was incomprehensible.
- The site load times were abysmal. This may have been the biggest contributing factor to a steep drop in traffic. Imagine trying to find a PDF if vital information, but having to spend time clicking through page after page to find it, all while waiting 5-8 seconds for each page to load. How long would it take your patience to wear out?
The New Website Design
Because their previous developer was a friend of one of the board members, they lacked a certain amount of expertise when it came to design. This is unfortunately an extremely common scenario. Because of the ease of accessing WordPress themes, many people will claim to be a “WordPress Developer”, when in reality, they know the absolute basics, and purchase themes from a website.
In some cases, this is sufficient, in others, it results in a messy website, an incoherent design, and a clunky admin system. When you’re having to shoe-horn in functionality into a limited understanding of coding and how WordPress works, it leads to headaches and problems down the road.
Our first step was the homepage. We needed to make very clear what the organization does, and how their resources divide out. Getting the Navigation was the most important piece, making sure that users can find what they’re looking for. This required a lot of analysis of the user data, how they engaged with the content currently, and talking with the management team, as well as the folks who spent loads of time with the community they service.
We were able to find a content flow that was simple, and made sense. One that was intuitive. This was probably the biggest contributing factor to the site usage improvements we saw over the following year.
We also wanted to add some extra emphasis to their donation platform. By off-setting the button, we made a design that intentionally catches the eye, and has increased their annual online donations significantly.
The results of our redesign were amazing! We have always believed that a properly executed design will be transformative for any organization. But it can be particularly important for Non-Profit organizations, whose life blood is providing services and resources effectively.
- The site load times were reduced from an average of 6.42 seconds, to 0.96 seconds.
- The organization reported that they were able to reduce the number of staff overseeing website management tasks from 3 to 1, enabling them to shift those two employees to a much more needed
- The average time spent on the site went from under 3.12 seconds, to over 7 minutes!
- The Bounce Rate (which measures the number of users who come to one page, and immediately leave) dropped by 28%.
- In the first year with the new website, the site traffic grew from 5,263 unique visitors, to 20,875 unique users.