Scrolling was popular a long time ago. But it was boring scrolling, all your scrolling effort just brought up text, text, and more text. Later scrolling was out and everything had to be “above the fold” which meant everyone had to click, click, click to get where they wanted to go – which was just as annoying. Now scrolling is back but since sites are more visual it’s much less boring. It’s even less boring when organizations use that main page real estate to tell a story as you scroll. In these examples, notice how the story is very vivid without a whole lot of text.
Fixed Position Menus
The scrolling revolution has brought about a need to keep the menu somewhere in sight so people don’t have to scroll all the way back up. You’ll often see a drop shadow at the bottom of the menu so it stands out from the page no matter where it’s at. In the last example, it’s used with a parallax scrolling site (where the background images move slower than the foreground images).
Simplified Donation Forms
I love this trend as it makes the donation process both shorter (which is always good for busy people), and straightforward (all the stuff is on one page so everyone knows what to expect); it also just looks clean design-wise. You’ll notice the examples still keep the most important parts – amount options, monthly gift option, and memorial or tribute gift option. Notice how the amount options are pared down as well – only 4 options plus “other”.
Modal pop-overs have been used by larger nonprofits for quite some time, and most often around the holidays. Now we are seeing more and more nonprofits use them for a variety of purposes and not just at the holidays! I think they are a great unobtrusive way to draw people in to take action on your site.
Get Involved = Get That Email Address
Getting that email address is becoming a serious priority and we’re seeing email signup forms everywhere. One place you might try for really great results? Front and center on your Get Involved page. You can never have too many pairs of shoes or too many email signup forms.
Texas Sized Photos & Text
Someone once told me that sites are looking like they are designed for the visually impaired; and let me tell you my aging eyeballs are enjoying this trend. Big photos and big text just grab our attention more and with all of us bombarded with data and images daily, it takes some extra effort to get our attention.
Main Page Real Estate for Donating
More real estate on the main page is being dedicated for direct asks- no more relaying on a big Donate Now button alone. We are seeing more quickie donation forms on the main page and some nonprofits are taking over the entire main page for big fundraising pitches at the end of the year.
Show Me the Numbers
Main page real estate is also being used to showcase impact numbers – often in an infographic style using any combination of photos, graphics and text. This is one of those places where you can repurpose your annual report parts – pulling out graphics to use for your main page – and, even better, linking to the annual report from there.
This is a fun trend, taking short video clips with no sound and using them as backgrounds in your header. It definitely attracts attention whether it’s one live action video looping over and over, a series of short video clips looping or turning static photos into a video slideshow.
News Mashups & Interactive News
This is just a really interesting way to display social media streams, blog articles, photos & videos all in one visual lineup. In the MVMT example below, they did a great job of featuring multimedia news stories while showcasing their numbers.
It used to be that only universities had extended dropdown menus, but now we are seeing them more and more on other nonprofit websites. They are so much easier to use – regular dropdown menus are not that user friendly as you can lose your spot so easily. Extended dropdowns cover the width of the whole menu and give you the room to get creative, adding photos, video, testimonials alongside your submenu items.
More real estate for Connecting With Us
As nonprofits are adding more social media buttons to the mix, they need to make room. Tiny little buttons at the bottom or top of the page aren’t cutting it anymore. We are seeing a lot more focus on the Connect With Us area on the main page.
A lot of the bigger organizations have maps of their locations but we are seeing an increase in interactive maps for other purposes. In the Volunteer Louisiana example, map locations coordinate with videos of volunteers in those areas; Goodwill uses their map to highlight client stories. Maps can also be used to highlight where the problems are (the one’s your nonprofit is trying to fix) like the Counterspill map.
Circles have been heavily used in design in the past few years but mostly by ultra creative types; the trend seems to be hitting the nonprofit world more recently, possibly as infographics have inspired annual report designs and are now ending up on main pages!