Fri, March 15 2013

8 Tips for a Mobile-Friendly Nonprofit Website

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

Filed under:   Mobile •

The team here at Network for Good has been working on our new mobile-friendly donation services lately so I thought I’d pass on our tips for making your site more mobile friendly.  Don’t worry - you can start with baby steps.  You don’t need a special mobile version of your site or an custom-built app to improve how mobile visitors experience your site overall. With a few simple design tweaks, you can make your nonprofit website much more usable on a mobile device – and improve your visitors’ experience across all platforms.

Try these best practices from my colleague Caryn Stein to help optimize your nonprofit website for mobile use and make your pages smartphone friendly:

1. Make it snappy.
Keep your website’s page load times under 5 seconds – under 3 seconds is even better for mobile delivery. Remove anything that makes your pages stall or fail to load.

2. Minimize data entry.
Whether it’s on a donation form or a newsletter sign-up box, try to minimize the amount of typing your visitors will have to do. It’s already a best practice on a desktop (they’ll be more likely to fill out your form or complete the action they’re trying to take), and it’s absolutely critical for mobile users, since typing in a lot of information can quickly become a drag on even the smartest of phones.

3. Your copy must be short and sweet.
Remember: online visitors don’t read, they skim. Reduce the amount of text you have on each page and break up longer blocks of text with headings. Use an easy-to-read font size and type. Choose shorter sentences and clear calls to action over long paragraphs.

4. Focus on one high-quality image.
Images can help quickly communicate a story or call to action, but make it your mission to focus on one high-quality photo rather than using multiple images on a page. More images will take longer to load and they won’t look good on a smaller screen.

5. Remove the roadblocks.
Website roadblocks can make your site virtually unusable on a mobile device. Reduce your dependence on Flash, JavaScript, popups or other animations for best results – most mobile devices can’t correctly display content in these formats. Swap them out in favor of static images and clear, compelling copy.

6. Keep relevant content front and center.
Don’t force mobile users to scroll across three columns and all four corners of your site to find what they’re looking for. Make it easy to access the key pages of your site by placing them prominently near the top and center of your page.

7. Make links and buttons easy to use.
Review your links and buttons: are they large enough to click on from small screens without zooming? Be sure to provide enough space between links or buttons to prevent a wayward thumb from clicking on something by accident.

8. Keep it simple.
A simple, clean design is a good idea for any site, whether it’s accessed on a desktop browser, tablet or smartphone. Embrace the use of white space, clear the clutter and narrow your visitor’s focus to one or two clear calls to action. This not only improves the usability of your website, but it will improve your conversion rates by removing unnecessary distractions.

  • Comment: (1)   

Comments

Another great post Katya.

One tip that wasn’t mentioned though was having a responsive website. As hard as it is to make your site look good on all devices, having a responsive site is an easy way to manage this problem. I’m surprised that this wasn’t mentioned.

Posted by Mark Hallman  on  03/20  at  02:52 PM

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