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4 Nonprofit Web Design Tips to Enhance User Experience

4 Nonprofit Web Design Tips to Enhance User Experience

Imagine this: you log onto your favorite streaming platform and none of your recently watched shows are available within their respective categories. Instead, you scroll through to find romantic comedies mixed in with horror films and documentaries, all without a specified category. The search bar is inaccessible too, so you can’t finish that new series you just started.

You scroll for hours and give up on your long-awaited movie night, or stay up way too late watching something you don’t really care for. In this example, the platform described suffers from poor user experience because it’s not built with the end user in mind.

User experience features like descriptive labels, consistency, and simple navigation keep binge-watchers engaged, and they can keep your nonprofit supporters engaged too! Enhance your user experience by practicing these web design tips:

  • Choose a Reliable CMS

  • Prioritize Accessibility

  • Practice Intuitive Navigation

  • Simplify Your Storytelling

To capitalize on top digital fundraising trends like online giving or even implementing an online store, you need to have a functional and impactful website you can rely on. Moreover, your website should provide a streamlined user experience, so supporters come back again and again.

Let’s explore how you can set up your website for success.

  1. Choose a Reliable CMS

Building and designing your own website from scratch can be a daunting task, especially if your team isn’t full of tech wizards. Choosing a reliable content management system (CMS) such as Drupal or Wordpress can greatly reduce the time and effort needed to get your site up and running.

Opt for a CMS with nonprofit-specific features like customizable donation pages, built-in mobile optimization, and automatic sign-up forms. Additional features to look for include:

  • Ease of use. Adding, editing, and updating your site should be as simple as possible. Look for features like drag and drop or click and edit functionality. Inherently, some CMS systems are more difficult to use than others. Choose one that makes website updates easy for your team and provides a user experience positioned to drive higher engagement.

  • Customization. You’ll want to make your website your own. To avoid cookie-cutter layouts but keep customization simple, look for a CMS with customizable website templates. That way, you can organize your branded vision without having to sacrifice any of your nonprofit-specific design elements.

  • Security. Most likely, you’ll need to process payment information through your website, so you should be confident in its security. Some website builders have a live, dedicated security team ready to answer your security questions and consistently evaluate any of your site’s vulnerabilities.

Consider working with a web development agency to make sure your website is set up exactly the way you want. These agencies minimize the risks that come with taking on website building solo and can help you save money and time by increasing key fundraising KPIs like landing page conversion and event registration rates.

  1. Prioritize Accessibility

Adhering to general accessibility measures keeps your website inclusive to everyone. Being mindful of visitors with disabilities such as visual or hearing impairments will make your website more user-friendly for all visitors.

Plus, when you optimize your website for general accessibility, you can also improve your search engine optimization (SEO) results. An SEO-friendly and accessible website is much easier for search engines to index, which will allow your site to be found easily by supporters.

Implement these tips to improve accessibility:

  • Use alt text for images. Include a description of your images for users with sight impairments. Explain complex images like infographics in simple terms.

  • Provide transcripts for videos. Users who might be hard of hearing or have audio issues can easily access your video content with the help of captions or transcripts.

  • Use high-contrast colors. Make sure your text stands out against your background so users can easily read your content.

  • Use clear and straightforward language. Avoid any industry-specific or technical jargon that might confuse users who don’t have the necessary context.

  • User clear page organization. Structure your content in H2s and H3s so users can skim through your page to find what they need.

According to Kanopi, frequently using SEO accessibility tools like Lighthouse to test your website’s functionality can help you identify problem areas and make necessary changes. You should also manually assess your website’s accessibility by zooming in to 200% on your screen or using keyboard navigation to emulate the experience of assistive technologies. Using both automated and manual techniques will allow you to catch errors before they become major accessibility issues.

  1. Practice Intuitive Navigation

Streamlined navigation anticipates a user’s needs and directs them to their intended destination or course of action. Intuitive navigation is a key principle within the larger user experience framework. In other words, a well-branded website is still ineffective without clear user pathways, as a potential supporter may eventually give up without finding the information they need.

According to Double the Donation’s nonprofit web design guide, you use these design best practices for streamlined navigation:

  • Include a top or left-side navigation bar that’s visible on every page of your website (minus your donation form).

  • Keep all navigation titles between 1-3 words.

  • Avoid jargon or elaborate wording that doesn’t clearly portray the content on the page it’s linking to.

  • If they are needed, stick only to one level of drop-down menus.

Keep in mind that the ROI of intuitive website design can translate to a measurable increase in online giving, event registrations, and overall brand awareness. Therefore, if people can easily discover who you are and what you’re about, they’re more likely to engage with you online.

  1. Simplify Your Storytelling

Clicking on a nonprofit webpage and navigating through disorganized, miscellaneous facts can feel confusing and misleading. Instead, aim to meaningfully thread your nonprofit’s story together through bite-sized content that quickly communicates impact.

Users want to instantly know who you are, how you’re making a difference, and why their support is important. To clearly communicate those three aims, consider summarizing your nonprofit with:

  • Images. Upload and arrange recent photographs of your volunteers in action during your latest campaign. Or, with permission, share photographs of your beneficiaries receiving your organization’s support. Just make sure the photos you share are polished, event or campaign-specific, and sized appropriately.

  • Video. A powerful storytelling tool, video can summarize your nonprofit’s purpose in seconds. Post a video of your recent campaign efforts and link to it on social media so users can get the full story online. Double-check the video’s sound and visual quality or reach out to external video partners to make your vision seamlessly come to life.

  • Statistics. Numbers are a powerful way to display impact or convey urgency. For instance, Charity: Water’s website includes this statistic: 771 million people lack basic access to clean and safe drinking water. Following this statistic, Charity: Water records the number of people they’ve served and global projects they’ve funded. Meaningful statistics like this verify your organization’s authority and convince users to opt into various campaigns like monthly giving programs.

Drive home your website’s impact with simple and compelling storytelling. This helps visitors not only easily navigate your website online but also know why you do what you do and how they can help you achieve your mission.

By implementing these four tips, your website will be poised to experience real engagement growth. If you prioritize the end user while structuring your site and uploading content, you’ll be confident that your supporters will be able to find what they need when they need it.


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