Web design has evolved dramatically since the Internet was founded. Is your association website W3 or ADA compliant? Do you use XML? Are your navigation menus logical and easy to use? Is the writing acceptable for the Web? Would a blog or twitter feed work on your site? Consult the information below for articles and helpful tips to assist in the redesign of your association's website for the 21st century.
Top 10 Guidelines for Homepage Usability
- Include a one-sentence tagline.
- Write a visible window title in search engines and bookmark lists.
- Group all association/corporate information in one area.
- Emphasize the site's high-priority tasks.
- Include a search input box.
- Show examples of real site content.
- Begin link names with highly relevant keywords.
- Offer easy access to recent homepage features.
- Don't over-format critical content, such as navigation areas.
- Use meaningful graphics.
Source: Top ten guidelines for homepage usability, (Alertbox, May 12, 2002).
Ninth Annual Outstanding REALTOR® Association Web Site Contest Winners, (REALTOR® Association Executive, Spring 2011).
Website Accessibility and Your Association, (Associations Now, Mar. 2011)—While association websites are not currently required to meet ADA standards, they soon could be. Being proactive now will mean less frustration and anxiety down the road. And better yet, it could also make for happier members.
Non-Profit Organization Websites: Increasing Donations and Volunteering, (Jakob Nielsen's Alterbox, Feb. 16, 2011)—Giving money on charity websites is 7% harder than spending money on e-commerce sites. Donating physical items is even harder. For non-profit websites, social media is secondary; the top priority is to write clearer content.
Make the Move to Mobile, (Associations Now, Aug. 2009)—People carry their mobile phones everywhere. If you make it easy for your members to find and interact with you on the mobile web, they could essentially be carrying you with them all the time.
MLS Public Facing Websites -- Why, or Why Not?, (Realtown, Jan. 26, 2009)—There seems to be a sharp divide over the value/cost of a consumer facing website, but it is something you might want to consider when launching a redesign.
Boards and Blogs: Does Your Association Need a Blog?, (REALTOR® Association Executive, Spring 2009)—Some of your fellow associations have established blogs that are definitely worth evaluating, if not emulating. Here are 8 Great REALTOR® Association Blogs.
Getting Beyond the Blocks, (Associations Now, June 2008)—If you build a Web 2.0 site and your members can't access it, does it make a (virtual) sound? Luckily, there are ways to help them get over, around, or through IT blocks that prevent them from reaching important online resources.
Forget about the Web: If you're not shifting your IT budget into the mobile Web, you're at a competitive disadvantage, (CIO, July 2011)—Today's market leaders are now leveraging the capability of increasingly powerful mobile devices, whether through apps or the mobile Web. Q
Mapping Out a Mobile Strategy: Creating Content That Delivers Value On-The-Go, (EContent, Mar. 2011)—Designing suitable content for an increasingly diverse array of devices and platforms requires a comprehensive upfront strategy that brings together delivery and context to create more value for the user. Q
How Engaging is your Website Design?, (Target Marketing, July 2010)—Three online marketing professionals share what works - and what doesn't - when it comes to wooing the ever-elusive, and increasingly multi-tasked, web cruiser. Q
Fresh vs. Familiar: How Aggressively to Redesign, (useit.com, Sept. 2009)—Users hate change, so it's usually best to stay with a familiar design and evolve it gradually. In the long run, however, incrementalism eventually destroys cohesiveness, calling for a new UI architecture.
A Website Redesign Owner's Manual, (Online, Sept./Oct. 2009)—Fifteen do's and don't of beginning a Web site redesign project are presented. Q
HTML 5 Starts Looking Real, (InformationWeek, Aug. 31, 2009)—The dilemma: HTML 5's openness or the power of Flash or Silverlight? Q
Mobile Usability, (useit.com, July 2009)—In user testing, website use on mobile devices got very low scores, especially when users accessed "full" sites that weren't designed for mobile.
Web Site Redo, (REALTOR® Association Executive, Spring 2007)—Here’s what to look for in a development company when it’s time to overhaul your association’s Web site.
REALTOR® Magazine Tool Kits: Build an Effective Website, (REALTOR® Magazine, n.d.)—We've collected the information you need to create the most effective Web site for your business, whether you're just starting to create an online presence or you're an Internet veteran. Read the articles for tips on Web design, content, online marketing, strategies for capturing Internet leads, and more.
Writing for the Web
Writing Correct Website Content: A Guide to Grammar, Punctuation and Vocabulary, (eBizWebpages.com, n.d.). Covers the basics of English grammar, punctuation, spelling and common mistakes.
Writing for the web—useit.com's collection of studies on how people read webpages and how you can write most effectively. Includes outside sources and suggestions for further reading.
E-Mail newsletter success story, (REALTOR® Association Executive, Spring 2007).
Ten Ways to Foster Better Online Writing, (Online, May 2005). Q
DevGuru.com, (DevGuru)—A reference source for all those acronyms developers like to scatter around like bread crumbs to ducks.
HTML Goodies, (Jupitermedia)—Site with tips, guides and reference sets for new and growing web developers. Arranged in sections from a completely non-technical concept intros all the way through to keyword references.
Jakob Nielson's Useit.com—Part archive, part blog (updated every two weeks) useit.com is the go to site for usability issues and ideas for making your website better, faster, stronger.
W3c World Wide Web Consortium, (w3.org)—The international web standards consortium.
eBooks & Other Resources
The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:
101 Ways to Promote Your Web Site (Adobe eReader)
Building a Web Site for Dummies® (Adobe eReader)
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Creating a Website (Adobe eReader)
How to Say It® Marketing with New Media (Adobe eReader)
Maintaining and Evolving Successful Commercial Web Sites (Adobe eReader)
Nonprofit Internet Strategies (Adobe eReader)
Put Your Business Online (Adobe eReader)
Web Copy that Sells (Adobe eReader)
Web Design: A Beginner's Guide (Adobe eReader)
WordPress for Dummies® (Adobe eReader)
Books, Videos, Research Reports & More
The resources below are available for loan through Information Central. Up to three books, tapes, CDs and/or DVDs can be borrowed for 30 days from the Library for a nominal fee of $10. Call Information Central at 800-874-6500 for assistance.
Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, (Berkeley, CA: New Riders, 2006). HF 5548.5 K78
Web site fundamentals: an ASAE background kit, (Washington, D.C.: American Society of Association Executives, 2003). HF 5548 Am3ws
Hot text: web writing that works, (Indianapolis, IN: New Riders, 2002). Z 253 P93
HTML & web design tips and techniques, (Berkeley, CA: Osborne/McGraw Hill, 2002). HF 5548 J22
Executive's guide to Internet law, (Washington, D.C.: American Society of Association Executives, 2001). HF 294 M61
Field Guides & More
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