1 min Read
April 2, 2012

Is it time to rethink your website?

It’s been 20 years since the launch of the world’s first website, and now it is hard to imagine what we ever did without them. In the mid- to late-1990s, nonprofits started creating websites of their own. These sites were relatively static and look like ancient artifacts when you look back in time thanks to the handy Way Back Machine. (If you’ve never used this tool, try it. Enter the URL of your site, or another you love, and take a trip down memory lane. Check out the Big Duck site in 2005–my, how we’ve grown.)

Over the past few months, I’ve had the pleasure of working with Kira Marchense, Online Communications Director at the Environmental Defense Fund on a session about website redesign for NTEN’s Nonprofit Technology Conference. Together, we created a presentation to help nonprofiteers have:
  1. A better understanding of what has changed over the years–and what hasn’t–and in what people want from your website and how you can deliver it. 
  2. New ideas for keeping your site current and interactive.
  3. Criteria to evaluate how much of a redesign you need, and how much you can handle–is a little refresh enough, do you need a complete redesign, or should you leave things alone? 

On the last point, Kira and I worked with Big Duck’s intrepid senior designer, Rebecca Hume, to create a flowchart (click image) to assess how you and your website are doing in terms of the four major components: goals and audiences; content and structure; design; and technology. Using this chart can help you answer questions like:

  • Does your website give users what they need in the way that they want it? 
  • Does it serve your mission and current goals? 
  • Do you have a content strategy and the resources you need to keep your site up to date? 
  • How have the trends toward interactivity, social media, and responsive design affected your website? 

So… is it time to rethink your website? Let us know what you think after going through the flowchart!