The National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS) is a nonprofit that recognizes and elevates high achieving college students across the United States. They have over 1 million millenial members, are recognized at 300 college campuses, and provide career support, service opportunities, and programs dedicated to the ideals of scholarship, leadership, and service.
As NSCS’s primary audience is college-aged millenials, they wanted their digital presence to reflect the youthful energy and vibrancy of their membership. They needed to provide a large amount of information while maintaining an intuitive navigation. Additionally, the website had to be mobile accessible.
Over the past several months, Social Driver has worked with NSCS to completely redesign their website. In the process we learned a few things and we want to share with you some of the top-level considerations we focused on to make this website a success.
It’s easy to talk about yourself, but it’s far more effective to talk about your customers. To tell the story of your company or organization, be sure to show the people you help and lift their stories. NSCS’s mission is to elevate high achievers, but their old website focused more on the organization than on the students they supported.
For the new design, we wanted to share stories and images of NSCS’s members. The website now features large splash images of their members as well as an entire section dedicated to recognizing great alumni stories.
Determining navigation starts with having a clear understanding of your audience, the actions you want them to take, and a clear content architecture that supports those goals. Menu structures that are too shallow rely on a massive list of unrelated information which is confusing to the visitor. Conversely, menu structures that are too deep end up burying relevant information under excessive layers of menus.
For a complex website, we use information hierarchies that keep all of the content within two to three layers of the homepage. To accommodate for the large amount of information, we used multiple navigation bars that slide onto the page giving the visitor the ability to explore the different areas of the site more freely.
Every site’s architecture will be different, but keep in mind who you are targeting and what action you want them to take.
We’ve said it again, and again, and again. Designing your website responsively is an absolute necessity in today’s digital arena. NSCS’s primary audience is college students, who access the web through their mobile devices at an increasingly high rate. (TeensAndTechnology2013.pdf)
For NSCS, we divided the information into breakpoints that condenses the navigation into two expandable menus, leaving access to the entire site content while not overwhelming the visitor with a laundry list of menu options.
Congratulations to NSCS on a successful new launch!
We are so happy to welcome Julia Rocchi, the Managing Editor for the National Trust for Historic Preservation back to the Social Driver blog (see her previous post 5 Essential Tips for a Successful Nonprofit Website Redesign). At our most recent Social Driver’s Ed, Julia shared 5 tips for finding and engaging influencers through social media.
Julia talked at our event about a multimedia documentary project called “Buffalo Unscripted.” They initially wanted to do a documentary of Buffalonians talking candidly about their city, but what started out as a marketing piece just for Buffalo turned into a great marketing piece for the Trust because of the incredible engagement they found with the people of Buffalo. Here are the 5 tips that Julia talked about in her talk:
The Capital Area Food Bank distributes 30 million pounds of food annually, half of which is fresh produce. They are an incredible organization and when they came to us looking to refresh their website with a new brand identity that they had developed, we were honored to be able to help. They had limited resources and a quick timeline, but needed a website that reflected the incredible programs that they run in the DC area, like the Governor’s Bowl and the Map the Meal Gap. Many of the people that they help don’t have access to a computer, so the website also had to be accessible through mobile devices. The new website that we helped them design and develop highlights the work they are doing in our community. It is also a responsive design, so the same content is viewable across any type of device (try dragging your browser window to see).
Congratulations to the Capital Area Food Bank on a successful launch! You can read the official announcement here (thanks for the shout out!) We support the Food Bank’s mission and look forward to the exciting opening of their new food distribution center.
The Fund for American Studies is a leader in creating DC summer internship and learning experiences for young adults across the country. Their approach is to recruit young people likely to pursue careers in public policy, journalism, international affairs, business, government and related fields, and to educate them in the ideas most conducive to human achievement.
TFAS was capturing thousands of visitors with their dcinternships.org domain name, but the number of visitors converting into applicants was slowing dropping because of the unorganized website design and unclear messaging. We created a separate microsite for students interested in doing an internship in DC so that when they visited dcinternships.org, they were greeted with content relevant to them, presented in an engaging, navigable design. From there, they can choose to learn more about the US Programs that TFAS has to offer.
Visitors are no longer accosted with program acronyms that have no meaning. Instead, they are greeted with an engaging website, complete with a 14 video series shot and produced by Social Driver, which highlights how doing an internship in DC is an excellent experience.
The TFAS Website is currently in development, but it is expected to launch this summer.