Top tips for top sites.. lessons for public health campaigners

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When it comes to technology in general, I think I probably fall somewhere in between early and late adoption, somewhat suspicious, and require everyone around me to already be somewhat on board before I feel the weight of impending social exclusion before I feel motivated to jump on the band wagon. To be honest it’s not purely suspicion, its actually that I am incredibly busy and tend to rely on services I know very well, rather than invest time in something that I am a bit unfamiliar, even if there is a promise of long term efficiency gains. I drive my husband mad! (Although he is a definite innovator, so how can I compete??)

Web-design is something that I have never dabbled in. I just really didn’t have a prior need. My exploration was surprising, I think I can actually do this! My long-winded introduction was designed to illustrate just how easy web-design (using the highlighted websites) actually is. Like incredibly unbelievably easy. I used wix.com, and the enormous range of really professional website template were quite mind boggling. It allowed a technology novice like myself to create my own website, and a pretty decent one at that! With links to other pages and everything! How fun!

What did I learn about web design and development from my exploration?

  1. A great website needs clean, crisp images. Public health websites tend to have less glossy (less of the *cringe* “poverty porn”) images, and more educational in nature. They are still evocative, however a little more professional in the way they elicit emotion. Here’s a good example below.

http://www.taskforce.org/

Contrast to another great website that is not public health related:

http://hansen-lydersen.com/

Food websites are a great example – Gorgeous earthy and sleek images, which rotate through, and a great layout. However these sites do seem to have a little less credibility as they are a little more superficial with their ultra gloss pictures.

Powerful images (like below) are very evocative, but doesn’t really produce the sorts of change that public health wants to create; it tends to result in charity rather than promote real change for example.

pov porn

  1. Text needs to be scattered at different levels – having columns and only short segments of text are far more appealing to a reader. Having large paragraphs or masses of text is overwhelming to a reader and visually unpleasant.

wordy

http://simonrogan.co.uk/

– Also great use of other multimedia here.

  1. Your website needs to be easy to navigate. Ensure the links make sense and actually work, and don’t have a fussy design.

ooohhh these just make me nauseated….

fussy fussy2

4. Don’t have a website that is “coming soon” or “under construction” – never link to a website that is a dead end. It just comes across as really unprofessional – not finished, don’t publish it yet! Last point – do a spell check!

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6 thoughts on “Top tips for top sites.. lessons for public health campaigners

  1. Chloe! This is such a great post! I could totally relate to your experience level with web design. I particularly liked this post because of how you displayed images and links to each numeric topic you had to offer. It helped me organize your message in my head and then dig deeper on topics I might have needed clarification on. I agree with all your topics, most especially having clear and crisp images. Clean websites make it easier to become comfortable with, like you mentioned previously, and thus attract not only more people, but continued use. Great job.

  2. The websites you gave as good examples and those as bad examples are perfect examples! I can’t believe there are still websites out like Lingscars.com! The Task Force website seems to me to be a great example of how an organized non-profit should design their website.

    Constructive points . . . hmmmm . . . I do think it would be good to increase the font size of the headings of the 1 – 4 points. Makes that text standout and seems to allow the flow to move along. Perhaps a little more description of each point as well.

    Coming soon and under construction are ridiculous! I have been to some sites that have said that for over a year. Clearly not a priority for that org. Good points and I hope this class allowed you to get a bit more comfortable with technology you don’t usually use!

  3. I really liked your post. I test read it two different ways. The first way was to assume I didn’t have much time, so I skipped through your headings. It took me 5 seconds to read, and I found it very informative. The second was to read the post entirety. Obviously, much more detailed and informative. But, I was still able to get a good idea of what you were saying in less than 5 seconds because of the images you posted and the way you bolded and introduced your topics. I think this is a great way of presenting information, because you will inevitably have individuals reading your posts with limited time, and if you structure in this concise way you appeal to greater audience. It could even serve as an “appetizer”, and those interested can come back to it later and read the full post. Thanks for the info! I liked the part about staggering text, it was a method of interesting the reader I had not known about before.

  4. Very easy read. Nicely done. I particularly like #4 “coming soon” or “under construction.” It definitely makes you feel when you reach such a site that the organization is less professional. I can also relate to your hesitancy to adopt new technology into your daily life. I often stand on the side lines of technological advances and have only recently been more proactive in learning about new tools. #3 is also great. The two example photos gave me a headache lol. Too much info to try and comprehend on a single website page. Constructive thoughts may include having 5 points versus 4. Maybe it is OCD or something, but 4 points seems like a strange number and left me searching for a fifth category. Also, just to be consistent, #1, #2, and #3 all have a picture. But #4 does not. Maybe a picture of a website with its under construction disclaimer would be a nice visual aid. Otherwise, great post.

    • Hah fair enough Taylor! Never thought about that (5 vs 4 points!) Now that you mention it for some irrational reason 5 does seem a little more… errr… well rounded? Thanks for the feedback!

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