Usability Study Videos
This is a Usability and Persuasion Review of the home page for FINCA, a wonderful micro-financing organization that provides small loans to the world’s lowest-income entrepreneurs so they can create jobs, build assets and improve their standard of living. They really change lives so let’s see how they could be more effective in reaching donors.
Usability expert Jacob Nielson’s recent report on Web usability for non-profits found that most potential donors had two problems:
1) They felt sites did not tell you up front what they did in simple understandable terms
2) They did not show how they spend the donations
The site has both issues. It is not clear what they do. And the feature of the site, the powerful rotating photos don’t connect me with the recipients. We’re going to talk about the second issue because the photos are powerful and present a great opportunity.
I want to tell you a story….
Even saying that is inviting isn’t it? People love stories. And pictures. In her book Neuro Web Deign, Dr. Susan Weinschenk discusses how pictures wake up the brain’s more primitive areas and most importantly, the emotional centers. The latest neuro research has shown that people make decisions – like where and when to donate – on a sub-concious level through emotions. Even though we think it is conscious. So waking up the emotional centers is important.
FINCA could really take advantage of this with DIRECT links to compelling stories about the people who benefit right away. If potential donors surveyed felt sites did not show how they spend the donations, connecting them immediately to the recipient is crucial so they become involved right away.
What do we mean by compelling?
By compelling, I mean how do the people look? Do they look like they have been helped and are happy? How do they make me feel? Close-ups of smiling people bring you in. The one in the yellow stripe on the right is really powerful. She’s beautiful and powerful. I want to know everything there is to know about Sherida Mkama, mother of 10 in Tanzania! Unfortunately, the link to her story was broken. Broken links really undermine trust.
The web site has great photos featured, but they could be even more effective if they would immediately connect us with the people in the photos, not information about the organization. That comes later, once people are really involved. The movement gets your attention but the movement becomes distracting and it does not contribute to building trust because the links don’t take me to the people in the photos. They move so fast, I got anxiety trying to read the text to know which one to click on. As it turns out, they all go to the same page, with no story.
What about usability?
The yellow column on the right is distracting and it draws attention away from the main image. On some laptops white on yellow is virtually unreadable. These calls to action would be better placed where people intuitively expect actions which is the upper right corner. And they should stay there on all the pages.
There is an overwhelming amount of buttons and images and links which are unclear. All links need to clearly tell people where they will go and what they are about to develop trust.
This is my sister’s site and she’s new to blogging. This video shows the most common mistakes new bloggers make adding irrelevant content assuming it is better than nothing, but it isn’t. It turns people off and they may not return. Many links were broken and the ones that worked took me out of the site, possibly never to return.
Is your Web site turning people on or turning them off? A beautiful site is not enough. It has to be easy to use (usability) and intuitive to navigate and most importantly it needs to deliver relevant and valuable content. People need to be able to find the information they need.
The most important issue on any site is to clarify the purpose of the site. This is especially important in a non-profit organization. In Usability expert Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox of March 30, 2009, he talks about how important it is for non-profits (and really for any business) to make it crystal clear what they do, who they serve and how they spend their funds.
“Non-profits would collect much more from their websites if only they’d clearly state what they are about and how they use donations. Our new usability studies revealed considerable frustration as potential donors visited sites and tried to discern various organizations’ missions and goals — which are key factors in their decisions about whether to give money. ”
Watch the 20 minute video of a Cognitive Walkthrough Usability Test used to discern emotional impact as well as reveal navigation and content problems. We’ll see how not finding relevant content, navigation that is not intuitive, links that are leaks from the site taking the user away, and not having easy to find content for different users can cause a visitor to have a negative experience.