Your nonprofit might have strong web content that speaks to your mission, but is your website design user-friendly and accessible to all visitors? A responsive website design can make all the difference in determining whether your supporters stick around to learn more about your organization or leave because of a poor user experience.
As you build out your website, it’s important to not only consider what type of content you include on your website, but how you display it to your audience. The “how” ties into the layout of your pages and how easily supporters can find the exact content they’re looking for—no matter what device they’re using.
If you’re new to website design or want an easy way to revamp your website, using the right tools and strategies can help. In this guide, we’ll go over these expert tips to achieve a responsive website design:
To incorporate these recommendations with ease and save your nonprofit precious time that can be reinvested into your mission, work with a nonprofit-specific content management system (CMS). According to Morweb’s guide to the best nonprofit website builders, your organization should work with a CMS that automatically optimizes your website for a variety of different devices, ensuring all site visitors have an equally positive user experience.
Imagine you’re a site visitor who lands on your nonprofit’s website. Are your images and text reasonably spaced apart, giving you time to digest the content on the page? Does your navigation bar only contain links to the most important web pages, or do you feel overwhelmed by the number of different options you have? Are you met with long chunks of text that seem to never end?
While it’s important to make sure your website is rich with content, avoid going overboard and cluttering your pages to the point where visitors have trouble engaging with your website. Use these best practices to avoid overwhelming your site visitors:
- Use ample white space. Negative space gives your supporters a chance to breathe and absorb your content. Take advantage of both vertical and horizontal white space between your text and images to achieve a balanced design.
- Break up text with bullet points. If you have long paragraphs of text, consider reworking these ideas into bullet points. Bullet points are easier to read, visually engaging, and less overwhelming to new site visitors simply hoping to learn more about your nonprofit.
- Incorporate an appropriate number of visuals. While it can be tempting to include a lot of images on each of your web pages, too many images can turn site visitors the other way. Stick to your most emotionally compelling visuals, such as powerful videos that tell your nonprofit’s story or pictures of your beneficiaries, and include them strategically throughout your website design.
By decluttering your website, you’ll reduce your bounce rates and encourage site visitors to explore your site. This can lead to more donations, volunteer sign-ups, and a larger supporter network for you to rely on.
Prioritize simple navigation
When visitors land on your website, they should be able to easily find whatever they’re looking for in just a few moments—whether they want to give through your donation page, learn more about your mission, or read a few testimonials from people you’ve helped.
To prioritize simple navigation and ensure all users can smoothly explore your different web pages, use these expert tips:
- Create a mega menu. If your nonprofit has several important web pages that you want to link to in your navigation menu, implement a mega menu with the help of your CMS. A mega menu is a large dropdown list that allows you to organize your links by categories, simplifying the search process for your pages and decluttering your navigation menu.
- Use actionable and well-designed CTAs. Calls to action, also known as CTAs, are brief phrases often displayed as buttons that direct supporters to their next step. You can also add hyperlinks to your CTAs to make it easier for supporters to complete the intended next action. Use urgent language like “Donate by midnight to save a life!” to inspire your supporters, and place your CTAs in prominent locations on your site.
- Add a search bar to your page headings. Supporters may be looking for a very specific piece of content on your nonprofit’s website. To make it easy for them to find it, include a search bar so visitors can type in a word or phrase and locate the content quickly.
The best nonprofit websites deliver a rewarding experience for mobile users as well, so work with a comprehensive CMS that automatically optimizes your navigation elements for mobile. For example, your CTA buttons should be clickable and visible from any device, and your navigation menu should resize to fit smaller screens. You can also work with free tools, like Google Lighthouse, to test your site’s mobile performance.
Optimize your visuals
Visuals, like photos of your beneficiaries or videos that show your nonprofit’s staff in action, play an important role in your website design. According to Kwala’s guide to nonprofit branding, visuals reinforce your values and inspire site visitors to explore your content, leading to email newsletter sign-ups, an increase in event registrants, and even more donations.
However, if your site visitors can’t see and engage with your visual content, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to connect with your audience. To make sure your visual content is accessible to both desktop and mobile users, follow these key tips:
- Use the right image formats. There are many image formats that your nonprofit can use, and each has its ideal use cases. For example, JPEG is a good option for photos, while PNG is ideal for graphics and files with transparent backgrounds. You can also use modern formats, like WebP and AVIF, which can increase the image quality of your visuals and lead to faster loading times.
- Keep image file sizes small. Images with small file sizes increase page loading speed, allowing your site visitors to access your content as soon as they click on it. Plus, since search engines like Google favor websites with fast loading times, this can increase your website’s ranking on search engine results pages.
- Add accessibility elements. It’s important to consider users of all abilities as you build out your website design. Leverage your CMS to easily add alternative text to visuals so individuals using screen readers can appreciate your visual content. With the right CMS, you can also include an accessibility widget on your website, allowing users to adjust your content to their exact needs.
Responsive and accessible images can be enjoyed by all of your users, helping you engage more supporters with your website content and get them invested in your mission.
A responsive website design can have a huge impact on how well you’re able to reach and connect with your audience, no matter what device they’re using. If you’re looking for extra support to revamp your website, work with a CMS that has ready-to-go website templates that will automatically optimize your content for desktop and mobile. Your only job will be creating great content that inspires your audience—the right CMS will take care of the rest!