When it comes to nonprofit website design, good design is costly, but bad design is costlier.
A poorly designed website doesn’t just fail to generate results — it can cost your visitors and devastate your engagement efforts through usability pitfalls and a perceived lack of credibility or authority. A bad first impression means that donors are less likely to give, new members are less likely to register, and engagement through newsletter signups or event registration will suffer.
There are many ways this can manifest itself. An outdated design may not work on mobile devices, despite mobile browsing being at an all-time high, leading these users to give up on your website without giving you the chance to make your case. Users simply may not be able to find what they are looking for so they become frustrated and give up.
Luckily, these mistakes are easy to identify and correct. This week we’ll take a look at responsive web design vs. desktop-only design.
What is responsive web design?
Responsive web design means that your website can automatically adjust to all screen sizes and device types, specifically mobile. Websites were once built as fixed-width experiences to be the exact same size and shape no matter how you view them. This was an effective way of controlling what the user saw in the days before mobile, but now visitors are just as likely to be browsing from an iPhone as they are from a desktop. Viewing a fixed-width site on a mobile device is a clunky experience that requires a lot of awkward scrolling and resizing. When encountering a site that isn’t optimized for their device, most mobile users will simply give up and go elsewhere.
How are visitors responding to your site?
Mobile now accounts for about 40% of web traffic worldwide. If your site isn’t optimized for mobile, that’s a lot of bad first impressions. Conversely, having a mobile-responsive website will increase the time these visitors spend on your site and overall engagement, from social sharing to actual conversions.
People can't support you if they can't find you.
Not only is your fixed-width, desktop-only site losing the mobile traffic it currently generates, you are also losing potential traffic through search. Mobile devices account for close to half of all organic search engine visits. Google even updated its algorithm earlier this year to favor websites that are mobile responsive, effectively penalizing those that aren’t. It adds up quickly — people can't support you if they can't find you.
Mobile giving is at an all-time high.
A 2013 Google study concluded that one out of every four charitable donors made a donation on a mobile device, and it's no secret that mobile use has risen dramatically since then. It also found that 45% of donors research organizations on a mobile device, and 1 in 4 use mobile to discover nonprofits they didn’t know existed before.
There’s a great infographic from npENGAGE demonstrating how nonprofits with responsive websites raise more money than their non-responsive counterparts. After analyzing 105 nonprofits, they determined that conversions were 59% higher for mobile donors on responsive sites in addition to an increase in the average gift size. A larger nonprofit website design study determined that mobile users purchase over 17% percent of memberships on a responsive website as well as accounting for nearly 1 in 5 of event registrants.
The choice is clear.
Web design standards and best practices are constantly evolving, making it easy to find yourself the victim of an outdated design. It is absolutely critical that your site caters to mobile device users. Next week, we'll take a look at how some of the top nonprofit organizations are implementing current best practices and design trends to increase engagement.