Jakob Nielsen

There’s nothing more important than ensuring your website —  your organization’s homebase online — is easy-to-use (a.k.a. usability). More specifically, your site has to be easy for your target audiences (not users in general, but the folks you need to engage to move your mission forward) to use to facilitate the type of actions/interactions you want – online giving, contacting your organization for more information, registering for a program or signing a petition.

Website usability expert Jakob Nielsen recently studied the usability of 23 nonprofit websites and his findings pave the way to improving the impact of your website. It’s doable, so read on to learn how:

Nancy Schwartz in High-Impact Websites | 5 comments
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increase nonprofit website usabilityI’ve always advised nonprofit communicators to put key content up top on website pages, so users don’t have to do anything to see (or act on) it. It’s part of my “make it easy for your base” philosophy. In other words, your want to shape your nonprofit website to generate the actions you need.

So I was thrilled to discover the hard data in website usability guru’s Jakob Nielsen latest research findings: Web users do scroll down to the next “panel,” but only after investing 80% of their focus on what was first visible on the page. That means that content below the fold gets only20% of users attention. In a time of overall attention deficit, starting with 20% isn’t enough.

But but defining the fold is a real challenge: This approach works only if you know where the fold is. And that differs widely depending on browser resolution, screen size and other demands on onscreen vertical space. For those who use your site via smartphone, all bets are off.

My advice to your organization is do what you can to place key content in the first and second paragraphs on every web page — that’s first on the writing for the web success list anyway, to increase content digestion.  Your thoughts? Please email me or comment below.

P.S. Here are three more right-now website revisions your organization should make.

Nancy Schwartz in High-Impact Websites | 1 comment
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