Designing a Website for a Non-Profit Organization Assignments: HopeTree
This document includes designing criteria and a proposal for a non-profit website which is offering services to assign volunteers. The suggested name for the website is "HopeTree" which is very easy to remember, and gives a good sense of the aim of the site. The target group is young adults who have grown into the browsing technology. Therefore, the networking services such as Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter will be the main tools to reach target audience. In this context, the usability and functionality of the prospective web page will be described with examples.
Nowadays, as a result of rapid growing online technologies, the internet is reachable to everyone. The reasonable price, bundled services with cable TV and telephone brought the internet to almost every house. Most people use internet to deal with their daily errands from submitting school assignments to entertainment. The latter brings big responsibility and competition to the web designers to exhibit and sell their products and idea. Hence, the question is "What the designing criteria of a good webpage are."
Aesthetic beauty, reliability, safety, usability, cost and functionality should be the main components of a good webpage. However, it is very important to find a good balance between all. For example, an amazingly looking page with alluring flashes and images does not mean a lot to the visitors without functionality and usability. Functionality of a webpage requires that all buttons of the site is active and all pictures or flashes serve for an aim. It is very important that users can use the webpage accurately, learn the details and satisfy their goals. The latter refers the usability. The usability can be measured by easy of learning, efficiency of use, memorability, error frequency and severity, and subjective satisfaction (http://www.usability.gov/). A good design for a webpage should be user-centered design. It requires that the users visiting the webpage must satisfy their expectations regardless of the main idea behind the design. If the webpage meets the criteria of being usable by the users, the cost of designing will automatically cut because one round designing would meet users' expectations. However, sometimes the expectations would widely vary as the target user group can be broad from students to the seniors or college educated people to people with no-formal education at all. For example, Craigslist is a webpage that offers services from housing to dating around the globe. The current design is old basing on the technology in 1995. The aesthetic components are weakly designed but why Craigslist is so popular. First of all, the design is easy to use after a couple of times. Services are grouped under significant titles. There is not much to redesign the Craigslist as it includes huge amount of data which is hard to move around and redesign. Although it is still popular all over the world, is about to complete its era unless someone redesigns it in order to comply modern age of websites. Most young people want to see more pictures, more videos and icons where they can express themselves as good as they do with their gestures and mimics outside of their computer boxes. On the other hand, Myspace provides all kind of flexibility to add videos, personal blogs, flashes and other visual tools for its young generation users. However, the problem in the Myspace case is that none of the pages looks standard; some have too many images, videos and visual tools; others are too long to scroll down and follow the content. The flexibility offered by Myspace threatens the future of the webpage since first impression of visitors is unprofessional and childish.
Taking all together, the usability of a webpage and the target audience are very important. Therefore, the first step of designing a webpage will clearly defining the goal, analyzing the challenges and opportunities, and then making a suggestion to the client. The feedbacks would help to design a user-centered webpage and cut the costs of frequently redesigning. In this study, we will analyze a non- profit organizations webpage which is providing services for voluntary students to find an education related assignment in one of the pilot project countries, Morocco, India or Angola. Morocco is a good example because of its location on North Africa having the cultural structure of Middle East. The pilot campaigns in Morocco are education related. Education in Morocco is free and compulsory through primary school (age of 15). However, many children especially girls in rural areas still do not attend schools (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morrocco#Education). In addition, Morocco is one of the most populated countries among Arabic countries. The second voluntary service would be birth control education. Second pilot country chosen is India as an Asian Country. The child labor in India is a serious and extensive issue. The second biggest issue in India is the food in rural areas. Therefore, the volunteers would help to reduce the number of child labor as well as helping people in the rural areas suffering from hunger. Angola is the third country chosen because of the location of country and also the similarities of the education systems to Morocco. The education system in Angola is similar to Morocco, free and compulsory; however, illiteracy level is very high. According to the government reports, the reason of the illiteracy is lacking of teachers and school buildings. Therefore, the webpage is serving for the tutors who would like to help increase the education as well as a group of students who would like to design school buildings and find safe regions for schools.
The main goal is designing a website, HopeTree, to promote safe and quality assignments for volunteers in three countries, Morocco, India, and Angola. Illiteracy is a big problem that affects most developing countries. Reducing illiteracy would directly increase the living standards from child labors to the family planning. In order to give the message clearly the website should be very easy to follow and direct people to their interest area with easy button clicks. Visitors should trust the website and take it seriously to assign for voluntary openings. Although, the target audiences are high school, college, and university students, aged between 18 and 30 years, the challenge is that the operating system selection (e.g., Mac, Windows, Linux) or browser (e.g., Internet Explorer, Firefox). Therefore, the design should be completed for more than one operating system and browser and indicated in the main page, for example, for the best page quality please press chose the best matching operating system and browser. The best way of putting this option is drop down menu which will not use a lot of space on the page and e easy to follow.
Before the final website is completed, it is very important to reach the target audience to cut the cost of several revisions of the design. Nowadays, almost all students use internet as the main information channel. Facebook would be the best service to start as it is rapidly growing and reaching all over the world. Therefore, the first step should be preparing a blog on Facebook and sending messages about the HopeTree website. As a second step, twitter can be used to reach more specialized individuals and groups who can twit the advertisement about this webpage. Final step should be analyzing the number of visitors, strength, weakness, opportunities and threats of the webpage before the final format.
After the goal of the webpage identified, it will be easier to define the main components, aesthetics, usability, functionality and trustworthy look, of the HopeTree.
In the matter of non-profit organization webpage, Green Peace has a very inspiring webpage (http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/). The colors and the organization of the site are very user friendly and aesthetic. Mainly the themes are represented by sliding images. The images included the hyperlinks. The design is very simple, but the message is very clear. The main design structure is protected along the subpages (i.e., child pages). The message of HopeTree is going to be education and increasing the life standards of children for the continuous development in the future. Thus, the main page should explain the content and the aim of the webpage in a simple and trustworthy design (Figures 1 and 2).
What we do
The Brief Description of StoryBoard
The layout of the website should be the same for each page to simplify the navigations back and forth during browsing. All buttons and the hyperlinks will be active and up-to-date. All the buttons are located on the right side of the logo as in Figure 1. The menu items are simple, and easy to remember. Home button always navigate the main page where all the items are sub-grouped. What we do is the child page that introduces the group behind the website and their works regarding to the HopeTree action. "Volunteer your time" button includes a voluntary information form. Blogs child page is the page…