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Designing for Charity Site: A Few Critiques

Recently, charities have begun to up the ante in website’s design.  In years past, charities have been known to stick with mediocre design styles rarely updated.  Now, however, it seems that along with other industries, charities have taken an interest in perfecting the online image and developing an online brand.
In this post, we’ll take a look at a few of the best charity sites successfully managing to keep the user experience more interactive.  Pay attention well to the critiques that follow as they just may be of some benefit in the future.

Red Nose Day

Red Nose Day raises funds for Comic Relief.

Red Nose Day gets a dose of minimalism in the site design for Comic Relief.  Attractive and fun, this style stays true to its content themes.  Thus, it conveys its message well to first-time and returning visitors alike.  The highly influential color scheme engages and is pleasant to the eye.  In fact, red, black and white is definitely one of the most effective color schemes for the site.  Notice how the red really grabs the attention in call-to-action areas.

Comis relief

The minimalist design also presents opportunities to balance the light-hearted features of the site against the factual content, which is another plus for visitors of all ages and backgrounds. 

Improvements

Despite the pleasantries of a simplified color scheme, some of the text is hard to read due to poor contrast.  This is easily fixed, however, with a much darker background to maximize the contrast.
Another huge improvement likely to connect well with visitors is the use of a counter, marking progress from hour to hour on the homepage.  This would boost the site’s credibility and perhaps encourage more giving.

 

Give Us A Lift

 
The Give us a lift campaign raises awareness of WRVS, is aimed at raising awareness for the older set indeed of day to day community transport.

Here, a huge background image, liberal use of Flash elements, and nicely contracting color scheme all blend and balance well to create an impressive first glance.  Smart color choices demonstrate a nicely contrasting background and text with significant call-to-action links for donations and volunteering in an attractive purple and green.  The attention-getting Flash speedometer on the bottom tracks the number of volunteers who commit and while they’re at it, visitors can get a look at two more call-to-action links nearby.
This is a unique charity site for presenting such authentic design elements with significant fine touches.  For instance, visitors have the option of increasing font size using a specialized button.  This is especially great for a wider audience that includes members of the older generation.  Overall, this is an extremely engaging site.

Improvements

No matter how engaging it may be, there are a few patterns that, if avoided could have carried the site further into success.  The overuse of Flash, for instance, alienates those parts of the population who don’t have Flash installed.  The site should definitely optimize for multiple users types in order to include as much of the audience as possible in the design scheme.  Furthermore, the busyness of the site could be a bit confusing and disorienting to some. Without navigation feature in the main layout, how will these visitors find their way? Lastly, the similarities between most Google advertisements and the Twitter feed widget could also be confusing, so confusing that it simply overlooked.

All in all, these are two great charity sites, offering much in the way of creative design elements that create engaging and attractive websites.

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