Something’s killing charity donations – and it’s right in front of our faces

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This is a guest post from User Experience specialists WhatUsersDo. We’ve invited them to share their thoughts on the benefits of how a considered website user experience will pay dividends for your donation conversion rate. As part of their support to the sector they are also giving away £10,000 worth of free user experience testing to one lucky charity. Details on how to enter by November 17th at the end of this article.  

Most charities have a donations collector working 24 hours a day, every day of the year – even though this steadfast worker is often ignored. This trooper is often pushed to the bottom of the list of priorities and sent to promote your charity, while looking as dodgy and shabby as possible.

Most people who consider donating to your charity will consult this neglected company ambassador, long before they talk to anybody else. I’m talking about your website – and the fact that its poor user experience is almost certainly costing your cause the support it deserves.

Charities, like other eCommerce companies, need to maximise the amount of commerce generated by their websites. The only difference is that for-profit companies are miles ahead, in terms of persuading website visitors through the power of user-friendly design.

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1. What is user experience?

We define user experience (UX) as everything that happens to people when they interact with your organisation via your website, application or online communications. It includes everything they see, hear and do, as well as their emotional reactions.

How many times in your personal life, when shopping online, have you grown frustrated with a website’s confusing design, hidden fees or other annoyances? Many times, I’m guessing.

If you’re anything like the 75% of people who abandon online transactions (as of the time of writing), you leave these websites as soon as they’ve frustrated, confused or annoyed you. This is the sad cost of a poor user experience.

And which issues do people blame for causing a poor user experience? Here’s a sample:

  • Poor first impressions
  • Low-quality images
  • Unhelpful, confusing or unappealing messaging
  • Confusing navigation design and cluttered website layout
  • Being forced to create an account
  • Hidden fees, mailing list signups or other “dark pattern” tricks
  • Limited payment methods
  • Website errors or crashes, and slow page loading
  • Too many form fields, or forms that are too long and ask for unnecessary information

You’ve probably noticed that all of these factors affect charities as much as they do for-profit businesses. They push people out of charity websites before a donation can be made. Or even worse, while a donation is in the process of being made.

2. How charities can improve website user experience – and increase online donations

If user experience is all about how people behave and feel while using your website, then the best way of knowing what to fix (and how) is to simply watch people go through that process.

You can do this through remote user experience (UX) testing. This involves using software to record the spoken thoughts and actions of people, while they use your website. This lets you see exactly what to keep, improve or ditch, based on what people struggle with and what they enjoy.

For-profit companies are already using this simple process to increase online revenue by up to 115%.

3. Benefits of UX testing to charities

  • Giving website users a better experience leaves a positive impression and strengthens your brand
  • You can run UX tests on other charity websites, to learn from their strengths and avoid their weaknesses
  • Google’s search engine primarily focusses on user experience metrics, so a better UX increases your rankings
  • Regular exposure to how people use your website and their feelings, improves the quality of even offline interactions with your audience
  • Providing an effortless and pleasant experience on your website increases the likelihood that more people will be referred to make a donation

£10,000 giveaway for UX testing charity websites – enter now!

I work with WhatUsersDo, a remote UX testing company. We know that although charities are most deserving of the benefits of UX testing, they’re probably the least likely to be able to afford it. So, we’re giving away free user experience testing and optimisation (worth £10,000) to charities.

There’s no catch. No trick. No gimmick.

We simply believe a good user experience can be a force for positive change, in a world with an increasingly digital dimension. If you believe your charity would benefit from a better website user experience, simply enter the £10,000 giveaway for a chance to win. Nominations are open till Thursday, 17 November 2016.

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Copywriter extraordinaire at WhatUsersDo