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Website layout, design considerations
Tips for designing a layout for the new MVWCS website in 2013. Following the release of the “40 years of service”/MVWCS for…. campaign, this brief document will outline how the agency can best use its online space to increase readability and convenience for its audiences. The document will be separated into three (3) sections that address Content, Communications, and Engagement through the website.
The overall goal of the website is to convey information and serve as a resource for visitors. Fulfilling this objective will look different for different audiences, so this content must cater to the main segments MVWCS is trying to reach. The main audiences that will be addressed by the website will be: 1. Those looking for resources on domestic/sexual violence, stalking, human trafficking 2. Those looking to support MVWCS, either through funding or volunteerism
Info Components Organization mission and vision statement Information about MVWCS (history, services) Resources for survivors Contact information (including social media) Social media accounts Current events/updates Donation/volunteer information Location Suggestions Vision on home page; in separate tab Tabs within the mission/vision webpage Separate section Separate section/webpage Home page links, contact section Home page (rolling image), separate section Separate section/webpage
Main categories & topics for highlighted items on website
• Fundraiser announcement • Campaign activities • Large volunteer request
• Interesting facts about services (stats, etc.) • "Fun facts" about agency history • Spotlight staff, volunteers, Board of Directors, partners
• Facts/announcements about domestic violence news, etc. • National/global studies data findings • Movements that MVWCS supports/intersectionality considerations
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There are several aspects to think about when crafting how to communicate your content through a website. All of these elements will ultimately help the end-user of the website. Here are some general tips for presenting your content on the website: Use simple, easy-to-read fonts. Leave whitespace so it’s easy for visitors to skim (lists, etc.) If possible, put special graphics, such as logos, in the upper-left corner of the webpage o Upper corners follow the typical gaze path Use language that is easily understandable Use the same color scheme throughout materials for consistency Use keywords that are specific to the work and mission of MVWCS (“Advocacy,” “shelter program” rather than just “services ”) Limit the number of menu items to six and avoid too many drop-down menus (so content doesn’t get cluttered)
Messaging for Website Layout
Following are suggestions for potential messaging on the website (see p. 5-6 for positioning): Home page, top panel, button on left (currently has “Get Help” on it) (1) Change to something like “Find Support” and link to resources Home page, bottom panel, main section (2) Use as the rotating, updated section for news about MVWCS Include special events, organizational, and advocate information on a rotating schedule (see above chart) o Spotlight upcoming events, volunteers/staff, important news and include links in these mini stories to other areas of the website (resources, history, etc.) o “40 facts about our 40 years” (information about MVWCS), “The great MVWCS staff” (highlight informatio n about staff members), etc. o Could announce contests and results (any interactive, small photo contests, idea contests, etc.) o Could announce questions and results to polls o Include photos, links to any relevant information (RSVP webpage if the spotlight is highlighting an event) Home page, bottom panel, left side bar (3) Change buttons to different titles and have them linked to the corresponding pages “Donate funding” / “Donate goods” / “Donate time” o Link to pages with PayPal, wish list/requirements, and volunteer information Below the buttons, include all of the social media links (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest) o “Stay connected with us for even more updates” Page 2 of 6
Content page, top-left square section (4) Include an abbreviated mission statement or statement about what MVWCS does Should complement the tagline on header (“serving victims and survivors…”) Example: The Mid-Valley Women's Crisis Service offers advocacy to survivors of domestic and sexual violence through programs and services that inform survivors of their options and support them in their choices. Our services include: Safety Planning, Shelter, etc. (put as listed items that link to page with details about services) Content page, main section (5) Include all information falling into that section Header tab labels (links to sections/pages) (6) “Learn More” “Education Resources” or “Information for Survivors and Advocates” o Include all resource pages from current website “Services” “Our Work” or “Support for Survivors” o Include descriptions of all services “Get Involved” o How to o How to o How to “How to Help” donate funds (PayPal, fundraising efforts) donate goods (wish lists, Helping Hands partnership, etc.) donate time (volunteer opportunities)
“News & Events” “MVWCS News” o All upcoming events o Fundraising efforts for capital campaign “About us” “Our Story” (keep this on one end so it’s more visible) o Full mission, vision statements o History of agency (story) o Contact information o Social media information
Interaction with the audience is a great way to build the MVWCS reputation and also bring the agency closer to its clients, volunteers and donors. To engage visitors to the website, keep three things in mind: Memorable Sharable Mobile Page 3 of 6
Memorable People engage with content that is memorable, which is why telling a good story becomes important. Other tips for making a website memorable: Include memorable key messages—catchy taglines for pages and highlighted information work well for this Use meaningful photos on the website rather than stock photos so that visitors will remember them better, especially if there are captions telling the story of the picture Sharable Provide content on the website that is sharable so that visitors can easily post it to social media. The more sharing, the more website traffic! Other tips for making the website sharable: Include high-quality photos of the MVWCS logo, Ann Altman photo, etc. for download (with caveat about citing MVWCS). This allows for newspapers, PR to quickly access good photos for use to the public Include links to all social media accounts Include a newsfeed from social media on the website, if possible Provide news updates on the website on social media to direct people to it Mobile Increasingly, all websites must be compatible with mobile usage. Many people use their mobile phones to access websites, so accessibility will begin to matter when it comes to website layout. Tips for making the website good for mobile use: Make sure the website is sized appropriately to fit on phone screens Make sure buttons are distinct and easy enough to click Don’t make too many redirecting links (cut down on the number of clicks a visitor needs to click on) Use images that will load quickly (compress images) and remove flash content
Applying these three elements (Content, Communications, Engagement) to the MVWCS website should ensure that it is client-friendly, donor-friendly, and volunteer-friendly. Further, using the considerations of memorable, sharable, and mobile aspects will also make the website easy for visitors to use and hopefully keep coming back.
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Picture view of Communications Areas 1-3
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Picture of Communications Areas 4-6
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