link-cooler Apr 22

Link of the Week: Design a “Cooler” Nonprofit Website

How can your nonprofit make its website seem “cooler”? This week, we took a look at Curtis Chang’s article from the Stanford Social Innovation Review blog that answers that very question by analyzing two stores: Target and Apple.

According to Chang, many nonprofits want their websites to be “cool” like Apple, but most nonprofit websites are more like Target. Because they seek to meet the needs of a diverse group of people all in one place, they don’t try to guide visitors in any particular direction. Instead, like Target, they simply present their “products” in an organized way so that visitors can find what interests them.

Though this approach has its merits, these Target-like websites just don’t have the “coolness factor” of a store like Apple, even when designers add trendy features to them. So, to go back to the original question: how can your nonprofit make its website seem “cooler”?

By making a fundamental shift in strategy.

The article examines three of Apple’s tactics for creating a “cool” customer experience: (1) encouraging people to try (not buy) their “products”; (2) targeting a specific audience to attract a broader one; and (3) personally engaging their customers. Chang argues that if nonprofits want their website to have a “cooler” image, they should emulate these tactics, rather than follow the Target approach.

We love this article, and not because it claims that nonprofit websites have to be “cool” to be successful (it doesn’t). Instead, we love it because it highlights a message that we value: design is only as good as the strategy behind it. Whether you want your website to be like Apple or to be like Target, we share this Chang’s belief that identifying your goals before starting your design is essential to success.

Click here to check out the full article on the SSIR blog.

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