5 Design Trends That Will Make Your Non-profit Website More Usable

Your non-profit website is often your first introduction to a potential donor. Usability will determine how long a donor stays on your site. It will also determine whether they donate. Most people won’t go out of their way to find the donate page. Instead, they’ll leave and move on to something else. That’s why usability is key, so that you can maximize the donations and exceed your goals.

Below, I’ve gone into some of the upcoming design/usability trends for 2015. If you’re redesigning your website, you should consider incorporating some of these.


1. Responsive Design

You may have heard the term responsive design since it’s one of the newer design/marketing buzzwords. But do you know what it is? For those that don’t, a responsive website will adjust depending on the viewer’s screen size. For example, the layout will change depending on whether the viewer is using a smartphone, tablet or desktop computer.

Why is it useful?

Here are a couple of reasons why all websites should be responsive:

  • Your website is often a donor’s first interaction with your organization. You want to ensure that every user has a good experience when they arrive at your website. If a user can’t view your site properly, they’ll likely leave without donating.

  • Google updated its algorithm on April 21st, 2015. Now mobile-friendly sites rank better in mobile searches than sites that aren’t mobile-friendly. Since 60% of online traffic comes from mobile, it’s important that you maintain/improve your mobile search rankings.

  • It’s easier for both marketers and developers to update one website than multiple non-profit websites (ex. If you had a mobile site and desktop site).

  • You don’t need to worry about new devices/screen sizes being released, because your site will automatically adjust.


2. Flat Design

Flat design is the latest trend in design. It is known for being simple, clean and slick.

Why is it useful?

There are a couple of reasons why flat design is awesome:

  • It makes the website easier to navigate. When the design is flat and simple, users are able to find the content that they are looking for easily. Whereas detailed animations can make your site confusing and clunky.

  • More whitespace will be created, allowing your users to focus on the content of your site (aka information about your cause) rather than the design.


3. Card Layout

It’s a website/app composed of a series of “cards,” each displaying different information. Think Pinterest.

Why is it useful?

  • Do you have a lot of information you want to communicate with potential donors? For example, do you have multiple programs/funds and different objectives (volunteer sign-ups and donate now)? Cards make it easy to organize all of this content in a usable and hassle free way.

  • They are easily integrated with responsive design.

  • It helps users understand what you are offering, immediately.


4. Typography

Typography is the font/fonts you use when designing your website.

Why is it important?

  • The quality of the design depends a lot on typographical choices.

  • Typography can help guide the user along the page/establish content hierarchies (define what content is the most important and what content is the least important).


5. Icons / Infographics

This concept involves using pictures to explain a concept instead of words.

Why is it important?

  • It makes websites more lightweight and attractive.

  • The brain processes images 60,000x faster than text. Including more images means you’ll make it easier for potential donors to navigate your website quickly.


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More Resources

How To Create A Fantastic Non-profit Website (Read Time: 3 mins)

Image Cred: Image 1, jofremariano; Image 2, Jiří Podlipný ; Image 3, Yasser Achachi; Image 4: Michiel Van der Born