Last week I attended the Nonprofit Tech Conference in San Francisco. Working in the Interactive Group here at the Ad Council, I naturally gravitated towards sessions that had something to do with web and mobile site design or social media. Below is the digest of the takeaway points from the web design sessions I attended. I’ll post about mobile site design in the next week or so.
I went to a couple of great sessions that tackled the subject of good, efficient, user friendly web design. One was called “Is it time to rethink your website?” presented by Farra Trompeter from Big Duck and Kira Marchenese from Environmental Defense Fund — you can read a longer summary of the session and download the website assessment chart on Big Duck’s Blog. The second session, in the form of a panel, was “Be a Design Superhero” presented by Eve Simon from Beacon Fire, with Gopika Prabhu from elefint designs and yours truly speaking on the panel.
Below are a few of items and tools of the trade I took away:
• Define the site goals and audiences first: it’s important to define why you want to create the website and who you want to go there, this will also drive your content strategy
•Define the top 2-3 goals/tasks you’d like your audience to achieve on the site, and then prioritize them. If it’s to donate, make sure your donate page or button is easy to find and you are transparent as to where that donation is going, check out the goodgoes.org for a great example.
•Have a content strategy
- : don’t just throw all of the web content that ever existed for your organization back up on the new site, really comb through it, evaluating whether or not having it on the site will help your audience complete the 2-3 goals you have identified.
•Do user testing of your content: there are tools like www.usertesting.com that allow you to set up user tests with your content structure and navigation labels for a pretty low cost, if you have “zero” budget for user testing, poll some of your coworkers, family or friends.
•Before you are ready to start on the design, put together “Mood Boards” or “Style Tiles” (the latest buzz word in web design) to visually get on the same page with your client/key decision makers, these tools are a great place to start. Creative Brief is another useful tool that might not be right for every project, but if you have time to put one together it will make the project flow a lot smoother.
Tips and Tools of the trade:
•www.usertesting.com: easy, cost effective way to test your content areas
•www.styletil.es: Style Tile information and template
•www.archive.org: check out what sites used to look like way back when
•What is a Creative Brief and Why Should You Write One?: check out this detailed post on creative briefs
•Writing for web: try to model your articles after news sites (short concise headlines and short straight to the point articles)
On a personal note, I’m happy to report that I’ve accomplished my personal agenda as well:
•Brunch on Market Street — check!
•Bike ride into Sausalito via Golden Gate bridge — check!
•Ferry ride back to the city and lunch at Fisherman’s Wharf — check! (ok, so I took the wrong Ferry and ended up at the Ferry Building instead, but I’m sure the oysters tasted just as great there as they would have at Fisherman’s Warf)
Me by the bridge 🙂