Thursday, August 4, 2011

Dream Catchers Site-Wide Implementation of IS 479 Suggestions

Dream Catcher’s has implemented some of our group's suggestions on site usability. I congratulate them on taking the first steps toward making the site have a greater impact on visitors. One of the initial elements we pointed out was the header that ran across the top of their site. In traditional site design, headers and navigation that run across the top of a web page are typically consistent across all pages. Dream Catchers uses Wordpress to construct their site so it is fairly easy to apply these conventions across all pages.

The issue with the site was that there were many images and logos below the navigation and header on every page. On its face this is fine except that it pushes all other content below the page fold or the point at which a visitor to the site would have to scroll in order to view other content. In the world of search marketing, we want users to be able to find relevant information they are looking for right away without having to think too much about it. This is especially true for landing pages that visitors arrive at after clicking on an advertisement. If they cannot see text, images or other content related to their search query, they can become confused or simply think that the page they have arrived at will not fulfill their needs. Just as easily as they arrived, they will leave.

By removing these images at the top of the Dream Catchers pages, the publishers of the site made more content show up before the fold which will increase the likelihood that visitors will stay on the site to look for the information they came for. See the screen shot comparisons below.

This is a page before the pictures/logos were removed
Notice the small "donation" word in the bottom left hand corner. This was a landing page for the donations campaign that we started in adwords. Users would likely miss that small header that isn't prominent on the page. There is the Paypal donate button front and center however there is no information that would help visitors see how their money will be used or why they should donate.


This is a page with pictures/logos removed


Here is a screen shot of the new donations page (previous one pictured first)


They have removed the pictures below the main navigation header, added an image with the word donate, and added links to information that potential donors would be interested in such as where their money is going and what the organization is all about.

These changes may seem insignificant but they are a huge step in the right direction in terms of usability for visitors to the site. People who work with their websites everyday know where everything is and how everything works but those who are first time visitors know nothing about the site and need things to be simple and easy to find. This is especially true when you want them to perform some action such as making a donation or viewing information you have posted.

Great Job DreamCatchers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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