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11 Nonprofit Websites That Look Great on iPads

April 22, 2012

Soaring tablet use and an online commons increasingly battling information overload has fundamentally changed web design as we know it. Bigger pictures, less text, larger fonts, and easy-to-tap and click buttons and navigation are the new Web design aesthetic. That said, consistency in Web design is becoming more complicated with each passing day. Do you attempt to create one website that looks good on desktops and laptops, tablets, Internet TVs, and smartphones using responsive Web design – or have multiple websites to accommodate viewing on different devices? Either way, both options are difficult to implement for nonprofits with limited budgets. Hopefully in time content management systems will make it easy and affordable for most nonprofits to publish content visually-compatible with multiple devices. Until then, since the iPad is the top selling tablet and its dimensions are compatible with desktop and laptop devices, if your nonprofit is considering launching a new website, then the following eleven nonprofit websites will help guide your design decisions. That said, during the design process make sure you have physical access to an iPad (and other tablets) so you can view and experience how your site looks on the iPad when held vertically and horizontally:

1. WildAid :: wildaid.org

2. Save the Children :: savethechildren.org

3. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art :: sfmoma.org

4. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital :: stjude.org

5. One World One Ocean :: oneworldoneocean.org

6. The Nature Conservancy :: nature.org

7. Natural Resources Defense Council :: nrdc.org

8. Humane Society International :: hsi.org

9. Human Rights Campaign :: hrc.org

10. charity: water :: charitywater.org

11. American Heart Association :: heart.org

Related Links: 
Webinar: How Nonprofits Can Successfully Utilize Mobile Technology and Mobile Fundraising
Five Reasons Why Your Nonprofit Needs a Mobile Website

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. April 22, 2012 5:59 pm

    Its great to see that NonProfits are responding to the need to be accessible via PC’s and Tablets. Do you have a list of NonProfits who have sites that look good on mobile too?
    I’d imagine that investing in technology or companies that build sites that allow potential donors to connect via PC, Tablets and Mobile is far out of the reach of most NonProfits.
    How many can afford the above and perhaps the odd App as well?
    Finding a simple inexpensive solution to going mobile is essential for all NonProfits adding that to a simple mobile payment solution would be ideal.
    4mobiledonation has some of the answers but not all.

  2. April 23, 2012 11:38 am

    It is really cool seeing charities adapting to the tech trends and modernizing their message to better reach new users. The only thing that is disheartening is that most charities don’t have the resources to transform their website into an amazing Tablet/Mobile experience. All of the nonprofits listed are major players, with lots of wealthy backers. What can a smaller nonprofit do to compete in such a market?

    I think for the resource-strapped nonprofit, it is more important for them to focus on transforming their work into a visually captivating narrative, rather than an awesome Tablet/Mobile experience. Simply updating their webpage to create a better user experience can do wonders for many people. I know many people are tired of the usual text-heavy charity websites.

    It is an interesting dilemma without any simple solution. How does a nonprofit stand out from all the other distractions around the internet?

  3. April 24, 2012 1:22 pm

    It’s great to see increasing interest in websites that look fantastic and have good usability no matter what the device. Here’s an example of responsive design that I really like (try resizing your browser to see it in action): http://www.alistapart.com/d/responsive-web-design/ex/ex-site-larger.html.

    I can understand the concern that having a website that works well everywhere will cost more. There are a few options though that are worth considering.

    Relying on pinch and zoom — You do not have to have multiple websites or a website based on responsive design for a site to look good across devices. Infact many of the examples on this page are standard websites. If a website looks good from your desktop but not on a tablet it may just require a few simple tweaks to sort out.

    Simple responsive design — If building a website from scratch simple responsive design techniques can be used for not much extra cost. For example, images can quickly and easily be made to change size depending on the platform. For sure you can significantly change the layout of your site for different devices (which would cost more), but this isn’t always necessary to improve usability.

    Also, web companies are increasingly providing products that cater for different devices off-the-shelf. We have one product that we provide to non-profits that uses responsive design. We also have a low cost off-the-shelf content management system, designed specifically for non-profits. At the moment it looks great on all devices using pinch and zoom. Soon we will integrate responsive design to improve user experience.

    All the best,

    Andrew
    Websites for NGOs, charities and ethical companies

    http://www.ethicalstudios.com

  4. Amy B. permalink
    April 26, 2012 2:23 pm

    This is a terrific topic. I still see far too many websites difficult to browse even on a laptop, and we need to face the fact that more and more people are online via tablets or phones these days. In partial response to the previous comment, I’m not an expert on web design, but some steps toward making web sites tablet- and phone-compatible may be as simple as page formatting and reducing/eliminating elements that make loading time slow. Perhaps non profits can make themselves stand out by the simplicity and elegance of their designs? I also completely agree with the previous commentator’s call for timely, regularly updated content presented in a visually compelling way that’s tailored to how many, but not all, people “read” web pages these days.

    • April 30, 2012 2:33 am

      Yes, great topic Heather! Amy, good point on reducing/eliminating elements that make loading time slow. Improving page load time is very doable and is known to improve visitor engagement, particularly for people with slower connections such as mobile networks. There are a few technical things that can be done to improve page load time as well. Moving to a better web host can help too, but can be expensive.

      Nice point on simplicity and elegance of designs too. It’s far easier to make sites mobile and tablet friendly if the design is simple in the first place. I think simplicity makes for better nonprofit websites anyway! Content is king and anything that can be done to make it easier to view – without distraction – the better.

      Andrew
      Websites for NGOs, charities and ethical companies

      http://www.ethicalstudios.com

  5. David permalink
    April 30, 2012 10:56 am

    You should check out the Boy and Girls Club of Broward, Dan Marino Foundation, Police Athletic League of Davie. They are great websites with all fundraising applications integrated into as one solution in a single database. Check out Childrens Fund for GSRD and how they are using Personal Fundaising.

  6. May 2, 2012 10:10 am

    It’s definitely true from my experience in the UK charity sector that only a handful of the bigger charities have the budget and general digital nous to understand the need for and invest in making their core websites look good across all computers and devices.

    Funnily enough just yesterday I was looking at some stats around growth in traffic to a massive UK international development and poverty charity and when comparing this January to the end of April to the same period in 2011 the traffic from these sources has doubled.

    This sends a signal to this particular charity that they ought to consider how they will adapt their current core websites and also how they approach any new builds.

    In terms of new builds they are indeed working on a new project that will sit on a subdomain. And, yes – a solid and good user experience on smart phones and tablets is in the brief.

    They are on a tight budget and will be using Zurb as the templating framework which will run on a Joomla 2.5 website. Apparently this is a good choice as it can collapse the desktop version into chunks that render well on devices without having the need for a different template for this

    The other existing sites are siting on older versions of Joomla and are not friendly to devices at the moment. They render ok but it’s just a scaled down version of the real thing so you have to do a lot of zooming in and out, especially on smart phones.

    The loose plan is to take the Zurb template and apply in a tweaked form to the other sites while carrying out a CMS upgrade at the same time.

    As the new project is just in a wire framing stage this article will prove really useful to pass to the agency designers for inspiration. Thanks for the great post and comments from the others!

Trackbacks

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