Originally published on the NPower blog in March 2012, this post highlights the forward-thinking work being done by three Seattle-area nonprofits in providing good mobile web experiences. In addition to pointing out what works about each of these three examples, this post offers tips and additional resources to help your nonprofit determine your mobile design needs.
Mobile sites and apps can be easily overlooked by nonprofits who are busy focusing on creating good content, updating social media and running fundraising campaigns. However, as more people access the Internet on their mobile devices, many nonprofits are stepping up and creating better mobile experiences for their users. Here are three Seattle-based nonprofits who are leading the way with their great mobile websites and apps:
On the left, you can see how the Burke Museum’s website is normally viewed by a mobile web browser. While the website looks good, you can easily see how this site would be quite hard to navigate on the small screen of a mobile device. On the right is the mobile site. The design is much simpler than the full site, containing very few graphics (which can slow down mobile browsing), just a few clear buttons that link to specific information that viewers may need to know on the go.
Woodland Park Zoo
Offering both a basic mobile website and an app on both the iOS and Android markets, Woodland Park Zoo has its mobile viewers covered. Above is a screenshot of both the full website viewed on a mobile screen and the iOS app on the right. The menu at the bottom allows mobile viewers to check zoo hours, connect with the zoo on its social media channels or find out more info on specific animals they meet along the way. Woodland Park Zoo even included a fun map to help users find all of their favorite animals!
Seattle Public Library
This great mobile app from the Seattle Public Library allows patrons to check the due dates on their books, search the catalog and download digital books and media to their mobile devices. A good mobile site helps users access all the information of a website from the reduced screen size of their mobile devices.
3 tips for good mobile sites and apps
- Keep designs clean and graphics simple -- Slower website loading times and the small screens of mobile devices mean that users need to be able to access your information easily.
- Include hours and location information -- Often viewers who access your nonprofit’s website from their mobile devices are trying to find your contact info or have other specific questions. Make it easy for them to find out where you are located, what times you are open and how to get in touch.
- Link to Social Media channels -- Much of what mobile device users do on the Internet connects to their social media channels. Including a link to your Facebook page or Twitter stream can be a great way to integrate your online communications.
Do I need a mobile site?
Obviously not all nonprofits need to have complete mobile websites or apps. Sometimes, all that is needed are some tweaks to your current site to make it more accessible to mobile viewers. 501 Commons' consultants can help you sort out the options. Also check out the Website Design and Implementation section of our Technology Knowledge Center for more information and helpful resources.
Resources to learn more
Five Must-Have Characteristics of Nonprofit Mobile Websites: A solid set of best practices for nonprofit mobile websites.
33 Nonprofit Mobile Websites: Great examples of other nonprofit mobile websites.
Why Your Business Needs a Mobile Website Right Now: Statistics about the use of the mobile web.
How To Build A Mobile Website: An in depth guide to building your own mobile website that takes into account usability and current web design standards.
- Abby Nafziger