The immediately obvious changes are the banner and the imagery on the home page. We’ve changed the menu options in a couple of ways:
- the menu options appear all the time which means that you no longer need to click to work out what options are underneath each menu option
- the wording and links of the “How you can help” section has been changed to be better focused
- the “Campaigns”, “In the field” and “Science and policy” have been lifted up the menu hierarchy, as a majority of the site’s content actually exists under these options which were hidden in the old design.
We now have a featured article that appears at the top of the content area. Previously these feature articles were hidden at the bottom of the page, “below-the-fold” so to speak. The aim is to include a few “action items” so that visitors can be guided towards activities related to the issue outlined in the feature article, so that there’s more to do than donating. Although this update only includes a basic “Make the switch to Green Power” option, I hope that over time the actions will become a bit more exciting and to have a few more options as well.
The news section has been slightly re-designed to include a featured image, as well as making each title a link (instead of the previous “More” link after each heading). We also highlight our current fundraising appeal on the home page now.
When reviewing our site’s stats I noticed that one of the most popular search terms for the internal site search engine was “Search term”, which was the default text in the search box! So I have revised the search box to hopefully be a little more visitor-friendly, as well as alerting the visitor if they haven’t entered a search term.
We’ve removed most of the graphic icons and buttons below the navigation which were creating a visual clutter (and IMO visitors probably didn’t even notice due to “banner blindness”). We’ve left two buttons highlighting items of interest.
There’s lots of other little things as well, and of course there’s still heaps more to be done, including an extensive re-appraisal of the site structure. This is a first step towards what I hope will be a much simpler and more visitor focussed/friendly site. In the short term, we are in the process of redefining all of the donation pages as well to make them a lot clearer.
The only other thing worth mentioning is that the design currently breaks under Internet Explorer 5 for Mac. I’m very tempted not to bother fixing this, as even Microsoft no longer supports its own browser! (If that ain’t a sign, I don’t know what is). I’ll have a look at it tomorrow anyways to see if it’s an easy fix.
I will be very interested to see if there is any significant change in visitor patterns – I’m fast become an avid stats watcher, which is a new experience for me to say the least!