It's not uncommon to visit a charity's website, only to discover that the page is in disarray - poorly designed, out of date, or otherwise difficult to use. Unfortunately, many charitable organizations don't have the resources or skills necessary to redesign their sites to keep up with modern design evolutions. This limitation is then compounded because an out of date website can make the organization look disreputable, diverting necessary funding to other groups.
One way designers can help charities is by assisting them in developing scalable web code. This kind of code makes web updates easier and allows the site to grow with the needs of the organization. Properly executable, scalable code should also empower non-designers to make changes to the site. When designers become a team, a participant in the goal of their clients, everyone succeeds.
Evaluating For Evolution
When charities are planning a project or campaign, the first step is to set a tangible goal. Just like you wouldn't try to build and fund an entire school in a single fundraising campaign when you don't even own the land, you don't jump from a 1990s-era web design to something modern and innovative in one fell swoop. Such an approach would be doomed from the start.
image by digital-clarity.com
Instead, coders and designers should partner with organizations in order to determine what the charity needs their website to do, what it wants to feature, and how they aim to connect with their users. By evaluating the organization's needs, both parties can set reasonable expectations about what the website should do now and what it has the capacity to do in the future through scalable design.
Knowing The Bones
image by blogspot.com
Another way that designers can approach web development for charities is by addressing the bones that support a charitable page. Maybe the organization hasn't produced content for some of the components yet, but if you know that the site is going to expand to include a mission, a sponsors section, photos, and a link to funding goals and a donation platform, you can set up the basic structure of the site so that adding new sections doesn't require major code alterations.
Sometimes the best way to help an organization advance is by assisting them in simplifying their plans. Adding some extra coding to an easily altered Wordpress site, for example, can be a great way to empower organizations to update their own site, since the format is user-friendly and easily scalable. As a coder, you might design their front page or insert some of the visuals, but it's also important to give charities the tools they need to make changes on their own. Wordpress also has the advantage of being affordable.
image by wpengine.com
Scalable websites can prevent charity organizations from falling dramatically behind the design times, while also allowing them to expand the reach of their efforts. Web design is often used as a superficial measure of reliability and competency, so we owe such organizations access to the tools that will help them accomplish their goals of aiding others.
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