Principles of Effective Web Design – A Whitepaper

May 9, 2017

Principles of Effective Web Design - A Whitepaper

The groundhog may have seen its shadow, but we are already dreaming of sunshine and flowers here. It’s about that time of year to declutter and refresh with some Spring cleaning, so why not make some time for your website? The web is always changing and it is sometimes difficult to keep up, to help you navigate, we have developed some best practices for website design you can check out here.

We have summarized a few key practices below to help bring some new life to your non-profit site.

Strive for Simplicity 
If you’ve got extra clothes in your closet you never wear, you get rid of it. If your site has extra content that doesn’t lead the user to take action, it’s time to toss it to the curb (or donate it if we are still talking about clothes). Unnecessary content can be more of an obstacle for your users, taking them away from their intended goal. Create simple directions and use clear, concise language that can easily be scanned.

Know Your Prospective Users
Get a better idea of the type of people or personas who are visiting your site. Draw clear pictures of their goals and how they are interacting with your site. Think about what matters to them and create an experience that is both usable and pleasurable to use. Leverage data and analytics to test your assumptions. Build a relationship with your users and ensure a positive memory of your site.

Get a Makeover
Take a look at your typography, images, and layout – if they belong back in the 90’s it’s time for a makeover. All sites should be responsive and easily accessible on mobile devices. Your website should use relevant, alluring images that emotionally appeal to your audience. Typography should be easily legible, web safe, and consistent throughout the site. Use your brand colors to create hierarchy by making your boldest and brightest colors the important call-to-actions.

Lose Extra Weight
The user should be able to reach their goal in 3-steps or less. If your site has unnecessary steps to reach the end goal, it’s time to shed off that extra weight and simplify the process. Keep form fields to a minimum and make it super easy to donate by adding in clickable dollar amounts right to the homepage. Do the most with the least amount of cues and visual elements.

Set Goals
A non-profit organization needs clearly defined goals, and all elements of the website – typography, images, colors, layout – must contribute to those goals. Determine what your organization wants to gain from the site – whether that’s more donations, participants, or exposure – while also focusing on the users’ goals. Then ask yourself, does the site meet both the organization and user requirements? If the answer is no, get out the broom and trash bags and freshen up your website.

-the hjc team