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In preparation for our upcoming webinar, A Cooperative Approach to Web Design, I wanted to ask any and all nonprofits or libraries a few questions:
Feel free to respond to this forum thread with thoughts or questions on this topic!
A Cooperative Approach to Web Design will be held on Thursday, October 27, 11 a.m. Pacific time. You can register Here.
In this hour long webinar, Techsoup's Elliot Harmon and Pepsi Refresh Project Grantee Jim Walker will explore web design concerns common to many nonprofit organizations and libraries. During the hour, Elliot Harmon will start out by exploring the following four key concepts: your website's purpose, setting goals, conceptualizing your website, and content management systems. Jim Walker, founder of Big Car, will then illustrate these points by taking you through the concept and development of his organization's website.
This webinar will build on ideas put forth in A Cooperative Approach to Web Design, a chapter in Nonprofit Management 101: A Complete and Practical Guide for Leaders and Professionals, a book edited by Darian Rodriguez Heyman and published by Jossey-Bass (a Wiley Imprint) in May 2011.
A Cooperative Approach to Web Design is suited for public libraries and nonprofits interested in learning more about web design basics.
We would like to thank both Darian Rodriguez Heyman and the Pepsi Refresh Project for their cooperation and help in producing this webinar.
Kyla HuntWebinar ProducerTechSoup Global
VSA Texas participated in AIR Austin in 2007. In preparing for the website redesign, we asked ourselves several questions as to which direction the new site would take. We wanted to evaluate which parts of the site worked well and which parts to focus on, whether it was due to old content, poor organization, or ineffectual design. During a meeting with the AIR training team, we were able to narrow in on what we needed to change. We first looked at our program areas and services to conceptualize the website's structure, and with the help of Elemental Blend, the design team we were paired with, we created an outline or pseudo site map. Being a member of a larger international organization, we had a fairly clear idea of our site's purpose and goals. There was ample opportunity to review possible examples we could model our site after and see how other VSA members created their online presence. While it was necessary that we stayed within the parameters of our international organization's company guidelines, we still wanted to maintain a fresh and unique website of our own. We also researched sites (other than VSA affiliates) that we thought were very user friendly and pulled interesting elements that we wanted to incorporate to our own site. Once we had our site navigation and tabs clarified, the main goal for our redesign was to focus on its accessibility while also making it visually appealing. In addition, we received input from various artists and VSA clients who access our websites and let Elemental Blend go from there. We decided not to do a content management system since we have a website manager/staff that is readily able to update the site with SEO and accessibility best practices. Further, AIR's team provided additional support when needed. However, if given the opportunity again, incorporating a content management system would be beneficial for event updates. In the end, we were pleased with the result, as were those who frequent our website. We have received good feedback from artists and members regarding the site design upgrade and have noted increased traffic on our site. Thanks to AIR, our site is fully accessible to people who use screen readers and other adaptive equipment while also being visually interesting with rich media content.
Thanks for the great rundown - it sounds like your organization really put a lot of thought into your website's redesign.
In case anyone wants to take a look, I thought I'd include the links to both VSA Texas and AIR Austin:
VSA Texas: http://www.vsatx.org/
AIR Austin: http://www.knowbility.org/v/air-detail/AIR-Austin/34/
At my last organization, we put together an RFP based on what we wanted the site to do, spelled out the timeframe and the budget, and then posed it to a variety of vendors.
We hired a consultant who worked with Joomla to help us really suss out what we wanted -- who we wanted to reach as primary audiences, what functionalities were priorities, and so on. Through their "discovery" phase, they interviewed staff, board members, constituents and other priority stakeholders (a couple of our grantmakers), which I thought was really useful to gather the opinions of many of those with a vested interest in our work and success.
That helped us agree on the scope of work down to the minute detail, which was really helpful when working on the project through to completion.
In the design process we didn't actually set out things like traffic goals and whatnot, but we definitely wanted the site to resonate with our target users, so we did UI/UX testing to help us know if we were on track. Once the site was live, we discussed metrics goals that helped staff know what sorts of engagement and the volume of engagement we were looking to achieve.
Becky Wiegand is the Webinar Program Manager at TechSoup.org @bajeckabean on Twitter
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