Table of Contents
Case Study Overview
The client is an American nonprofit. The objective was to refresh the website in an extremely short amount of time. There was a need to shift the content to target donors and partners.
The website in its current state had a mixture of ‘target audiences’, the target audience was not defined and addressed multiple audiences. This included: general public, program applicants, donors, and partners
I made sure to distill the target audience to two personas:
- An investor or organisation looking to understand what the organisation does. They are looking for a social impact organisation to invest/partner with.
- A student/young professional looking for opportunities to get involved in sustainable development. They may be a potential program applicant or volunteer.
The constraint of this was that it had to be done within 2 weeks (lol).
It is also worth noting, that there was a plan to kick-off a proper website refresh project immediately after the MVP refresh.
Due to the very short amount of time, I had to pick and choose the activities that would give me the most ROI. Following a very short and quick Double Diamond approach
- Going through all existing interviews, questionnaires and data about the effectiveness of the website
- Scheduling a number of interviews external parties to review the website, or give input on what donors would be looking for
I interviewed for two purposes:
- Usability testing, with Business Development Managers
- Interviews with Impact Investing firms to understand how they assess investment choices
Key findings (in relation to the main objective) from these interviews were:
- To make the language simple, clear and concise. Interviewees found it hard to understand the descriptions of programs, and by extension could not understand the purpose, impact or scale of the projects
- To make potential value clear. Investment decisions are made on the basis of ‘what is the potential return for my investment?’. With that in mind, there needs to be a stronger focus on the impact, rather than the what.
Other findings around usability were:
- There was a lot of jargon used. This was mainly because a lot of wording was taken from the parent organisation, whose target audience were diplomats and academics (fit for their audience, not fit for the client’s audience)
- There was a lot of content that was unnecessary or distracted the viewer from the main message. If you look at the old homepage, you have no idea what the organisation does and you’re bombarded with social media feeds.
- The About page was lengthy, and it took quite a lot of scrolling to read all the important information. Most interviewees were still unable to recall what the core purpose of the organisation was after immediately reading the About page.
- There was too much content immediately available. Combined with jargon, it was difficult for interviewees to find the information they were looking for. There were 27 menu items on the top menu bar alone. 4 more could be found in the footer. 7 of these menu items were links directing the user to completely different websites.
Other findings around usage were:
- With only 40% of viewers being returning users, and looking at the geographies of the viewers (often from the most active networks).
- Most people were looking to learn about the organisation. 53% of all page views were on the Home, About, Join the team, and Become a member page.
- Only 22% of viewer demographics came from countries where English is the predominant language of use.
- 54% of visits came from desktops, 45% from mobile.
My next steps were to
- Settling on some key principles and key messaging we wanted to get out
- Identifying the key material that needed to be visible. Not all sections of the website needed to be immediately visible after this MVP refresh
Hypothesis Combining all the learnings, I defined a number of key items that needed to be addressed: 1 Simplifying language - for a number of reasons too.
- To make value clearer
- To make it easier for a global audience to understand
- To make it easier for non-Sustainable Development / UN experts understand the content 2 Make call to actions clearer
- Turn the focus of the messaging from ‘what we do’ to, what the user wants to do.
- Remove all distractions from the front page. Nothing stands out, if everything stands out.
- Simplifying the menu. To the 60% average user who is visiting for the first time, there is no distinction between a Program, Activity, or Event.
Challenge streams The next steps were:
- Pulling out all the content into documents, and simplifying it. We only needed to show ‘Who are we’, ‘What we do’, ‘How we do it’. All other content was removed for the MVP.
I worked with a colleague who specialised in copy and marketing to help refine the content with me (thank you Christy).
- Sourcing imagery that really focused on the people of the organisation, and complimented the content. Adding data that backed up the impact.
Here are the final mockups
The outcome was a much easier to understand website. Whilst there are plans to start a proper refresh and deep dive into the website, the main result of the MVP (cutting fat) provides a much simpler foundation to start the next phase.