In a time where the internet is a key source of information, non-profits are expected to not only have a website, but also have an easily accessible, visually appealing website. There are so many factors to keep in mind, including the type of audience that will be viewing the site and the reasons why they visit the website in the first place.
One example of an effective website is that of The Neutral Zone, a non-profit based in Ann Arbor, Michigan that aims to promote artistic expression among youth, offering various after school programs for Ann Arbor adolescents. The website reflects the target audience of the non-profit, which is teens in the area looking to get involved in the programs that The Neutral Zone offers. The background and images of the site mirror that of a notebook, which suits the main age group that visits the website. In addition, while the website is colorful, the colors work well with each other and are not overwhelming. The only issue that comes to mind with the chosen theme is that it may deter adult donors because the site is catered towards a younger age group. However, since the website is tastefully put together, the theme seems appropriate.
One of the most visited pages of a non-profit website is the About section, which explains the mission of the organization and why it’s important. While the Neutral Zone’s overall website is visually appealing, the About page is lacking in some areas. Firstly, the main heading is in all lower-case letters. This looks unprofessional and out of place on the page. Secondly, the headings of each paragraph on the page are in italics, which should be used sparingly on a website. To fix these issues, the headings should be bold and capitalized appropriately to ensure consistency on the page, which ultimately is more visually appealing. The paragraphs sizes are ideal, however, and help to make the site more readable for viewers.
Another key component to a website is access to social media, which The Neutral Zone does well by having the links to their various social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr. Both Facebook and Twitter seem to be updated regularly, which is necessary to provide viewer’s with updates on events or news. The Flickr account hasn’t been updated recently, which leaves me questioning why it is on the webpage since the content may not be relevant to the non-profit anymore. Overall, the links to social media are easily visible and work well on the page.
Lastly, the input of a YouTube video is a nice addition to give viewers a better idea of what the non-profit does and provide them with first hand experiences. A downside to the video is that it is over thirteen minutes long, which is daunting to people visiting the website. An ideal time would be between one and five minutes in order to keep the attention of the viewers. The video on the About page could be more concise, which would increase the number of views.
Even though the Neutral Zone website is off to a good start, it can always be improved, just like any website. It’s important to keep in mind that trends online change frequently and the goal of a website is to meet the needs of viewers and potential donors of the non-profit. Every detail counts!