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Charity websites – how are they responding?

23 November 2012

If you work in digital, you’ll know about responsive websites. And if you don’t work in digital but you’re responsible for a website, you should know about responsive sites. I bet you’ve heard of ‘responsive’ somewhere. So what does it mean?

Responsive is the big thing at the moment, and it’s a response (ha!) to the huge rise in mobile web usage. Our Forster website is a simple responsive site – if you’re reading this post on a computer then try re-sizing your browser and see how this page re-organises itself after a certain point (if you’re reading it on a phone then you’ll be seeing the version designed for the smallest browsers). ‘Responsive’ simply means that webpages are designed and built to respond to the size of the browser they’re being viewed in, which means that they’re more easily readable on devices other than computers i.e. tablets and smartphones.

Does having a responsive website matter for non-profits? Well, in short yes: especially if you’re a non-profit looking for online donations and membership. More and more people are using their phones and tablets to look at websites while they’re on the go and it’s in your interests to make it as easy as possible for them to find the information they’re looking for and putting the calls-to-action right in front of them.

Although there’s an extra cost for making your website responsive (designers have to plan how your site will look at various different sizes, and developers need to build the site on a different framework which allows your site to adjust), that cost is going to come down as it becomes more and more common and it’s still a worthwhile investment at any time. If you’re considering re-building your website, it’d be a huge wasted opportunity to not make it responsive at the same time, if nothing else because it’s more cost-effective to do a responsive site from the outset rather than doing it retrospectively.

Who’s doing it well?

Happily, there are increasing numbers of brilliant responsive sites popping up all over the place. I like all of these examples, they might look like they’re following different design principles but underneath all are straightforward structures and clear calls-to-action.

World Wildlife Fund 

Fork CMS 

Food Sense

Pixel Creation