Why We Redesigned Our Website

September 7, 2018

What do you do when you want to know more about a business or organization?

We’ve been receiving feedback for a while now that our website doesn’t have what people are looking for. The public has come to expect certain things from the websites they use every day, like Google, Amazon, Wikipedia, etc. They are all easy to read, understand, navigate, and all have a simple, clean, mobile-friendly layout. Big businesses and organizations set the standards that we evaluate the digital world with in 2018. Although we are a nonprofit, Ventures is not exempt from these criteria.

Our key takeaways from our user feedback

1. It’s not clear what Ventures is or what we do

“What is the site about? It says nothing on here.”

Business owners, donors, and the members of the public have all said that they had no idea what Ventures was or did based on our website. The old site didn’t communicate our organization’s value. Instead of focusing on the benefits of our services or the impact of our programs, our old website copy focused on raising money. We rewrote all of our copy as a part of the website redesign, keeping our entrepreneurs top of mind; with the premise that if the people we serve clearly understand what we offer and what they can gain from it, our supporters will too.

2. It doesn’t express our core values

“At first glance, this site looks like it’s soliciting donations and volunteers.”

Our work and values should speak for themselves. At Ventures, we strive to embody the values of community, client-success, empowerment, integrity, diversity, and innovation. These guided the goals of this project. In order to stay true to our principles, we created more transparency around the participation requirements and desired outcomes of our trainings, financial services, and business incubators. Entrepreneurs now have the ability to enroll in programs through our website as well. We wanted to reduce barriers to our services because we know our entrepreneurs face enough challenges as is when trying to access resources.

3. It’s hard for everyone to use

“The website is vague. Why do I know the verbs involved in this site, but not the nouns they’re going to?”

We keep our office and retail store spaces presentable, welcoming, and free of clutter and obstacles. The same should apply to our website. Previously, visitors (and staff) had to dig through dozens of pages to find out what we actually did. We want to ensure that everyone that comes to our website can find what they’re looking for with as little effort as possible. Thus, we changed the navigation, added blog filters, a sitemap, search bar, FAQ page, contact form, and online registration.

Another piece of this project focused on using current design trends and best practices to enhance usability. Today’s users are content scanners—they quickly scroll and skim to find what they’re looking for. We used a simple layout, added more photos, fewer colors, and lots of white space to break up information to make it easier to digest and know when to take action.

Información en español. Our old website only dedicated one page to Spanish speakers although they make up a third of who we serve. You can now find information on all of the services we provide in Spanish.

The Results

Ventures’ goal is to practice what we preach: business best practices. That’s why we redesigned our website. We aim to challenge the concept that nonprofits don’t need or know how to cultivate a professional, modern, and user-friendly online presence.

How did we do? You tell us. Explore the website and share with us how we did and how we can do better using our new contact form.

Special thanks to our former intern Amrit Gill, volunteer designer Lucas Webster, and developer Vladimir Mirzoyan.