Redesigning Bolder Options' Home Page

Background Info

For this weeks' project, I decided to take a look at the organization my husband works for. Bolder Options is a youth-mentoring organization based in the Twin Cities, but they opened a Rochester branch about 7 years ago. The organization is close to our family's heart, but as a non-profit, they struggle with things like marketing.

I had not visited the home page ever before, but I do know a lot about the organization. Like many home pages, this home page has a big task to do. It needs to explain what the organization does, who it serves, and how people can get involved. Each one of these categories also has several sub-categories. It's a lot to accomplish.

The Relationship

Bolder Options will have several possible users visiting the site.
  1. Curious folk
  2. Potential mentors
  3. People interested in volunteering or getting involved in other ways
  4. Financial Supporters
  5. Families looking for extra support
  6. Professionals wanting to refer a child to the program
  7. Partners
So, when I visited the home page, I was curious to see how these relationships would be addressed. I did not get a strong introduction when I visited. I didn't feel welcomed as any one of these potential visitors. I kind of felt like someone who walks into a building - not knowing if you're in the right place or not - and not really knowing where to go. I didn't get the feeling I belonged, but if I wanted to find out, I had to look around.

The one relationship that did stand out more than the others is probably, Organization introduces themselves to Curious Visitor. I came to this conclusion because the promotional video is the most prominent aspect of the site. Only someone who knows very little about the organization will watch the 4-minute long video.

Analyzing the Current Home Page

Site ID - The site is identified through the use of the company's logo; however, the colors are not the familiar company's colors (black and white)
Tagline There is no tagline. This is a major problem, especially for the curious visitor because they may not understand what the company does.
Search The home page does have a large search box in the upper right
Sections/Hierarchy The sections are in the "right" places, but the categories are all over the place. Here is where it feels very disorienting. Some of these tabs seem to be for the new visitor, some for the regular, and some for the internal users. It's a lot to read and take in when you're navigating the site.
Clickable Tabs For some reason, the date is listed along with all of the other sections and looks like all the other clickable tabs, but it is not clickable. It doesn't open up to today's events or any daily feature. It's just there.
Promos I liked how the page had three promos in the footer of the page to showcase additional information: the calendar, the nutrition blog and their social media feed.

The Redesign

  1. I did not play around too much with the layout of the homepage, although I might another day as I think that would be a fun challenge. But for now, I left it looking similar to its original and similar to many other websites. The first thing I tackled was the header. I changed the color from red to the company's colors of black and white. Black and White is used on all of their other marketing materials (business cards, banners, brochures, etc...). I also added a tagline to the site id (mentoring changes lives) to showcase the mission of the organization. I thought this tagline would be relevant to all of the potential users of the site.
  2. I wanted to re-organize the navigational tabs and make them less cluttered. I moved the About Us to the far left, making it the first one users would read (if reading left-to-right). Next, I replaced existing tabs with new ones. Instead of Volunteer, Donate, Events and For Mentors, I used Get Involved. I thought this efficiently combined all of the above into a drop-down menu. Instead of Rochester, I used Locations because I think that is a more widely recognized term. Lastly, I added a tab: Make a Referral. This is an important aspect of the organization, and it is not on the home page anywhere.
  3. Next I wanted to create more shortcuts for donating. Raising money is a big task for the non-profit, so by establishing more visible shortcuts, the easier it will be for visitors to donate. I placed one up top by the search tool and another one in the middle of the page by the promotional video. I might consider a third someplace else. I think I would also add another shortcut for potential mentors.
  4. I didn't really like that you had to watch the whole video to learn what Bolder Options is. I saw another approach to this idea on the Big Brothers Big Sisters site. They've incorporated a very low-key, non-distracting video as the background to their page showing off the essence of what their program does. I liked how the video told a lot about the program and conveyed a lot of emotion without any words and just by sort of being present in the background. I wanted to adapt that idea and have the motto of Bolder Options be prominently displayed as an overlay to the video. I sill included the promotional 4-minute long promotional video off to the side for the user to click.
  5. I removed "Programs" from the original navigation and turned it into a gallery of clickable boxes lower on the page. These act "learn more" teases or hints about the program. I got this idea from Youth Empowerment This organization has a rather busy homepage, but I thought it was presented in a way that everything looked interesting. Even though it seems like a lot going on, and maybe a little work to explore it all, it was inviting and exciting. I wanted to look more. So, I would borrow the concept from them.
  6. Lastly, I left their feature promos alone. I liked how they were there at the footer of the page just showing off additional content.

Now that I look at it more, it might be too busy. I feel like my redesign is more organized and user-friendly, but it still might be too much, and it still might be disorienting for the user. I'm not sure this page wold help to establish trust, although, I think the right images in the video would do a lot in that regard.

So... back to Relationships: Everyone Wants to Feel Needed
I wanted to establish a relationship with the user that emphasized the organization's need (and the child's need) for everyone to be involved - regardless of your reason for visiting the site. I thought having a video of kids interacting with their mentors and involved in a variety of activities would pull on the heart strings a bit. If you're a parent or a professional referring a child, you will feel reassured that this organization values kids. If you are a potential mentor or donor, you might feel pride and being a part of this great work. I thought having the motto large and putting the YOU in bold might address the user more directly and make them feel empowered. I also think by changing the terminology/verbage in the navigation, the user feels more included.

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