Canton Goodfellows Website Redesign Launched

Canton Goodfellows website on desktop, laptop, tablet, and mobile

I’m happy to announce the launch of the redesigned website for Canton Goodfellows.

A local nonprofit organization, Canton Goodfellows is dedicated to providing gifts and clothing to Canton, Michigan children in need during Christmas time. Their mission is to ensure no child in Canton goes without a Christmas.

Why Redesign?

The existing Canton Goodfellows site consisted of two pages of content, entirely text except for the rotating banner images.

Their existing website had very little visual interest to encourage website visitors to explore further.

Headings weren’t used, which meant users had to read up to ten paragraphs of text on each page to find out:

  • What Canton Goodfellows was all about
  • How to apply for help
  • How to get involved
  • Upcoming events

While the website provided information for people to donate via PayPal, there was no donation link.

Website visitors were given an email address and left to figure out the steps to donate on PayPal.

Their main goals for the existing site were to provide information for community members to request help, volunteer, and donate.

Though some of the plugins were in need of updating, I was glad to discover the site was built with WordPress.

Given last year’s news about the organization facing a holiday budget shortfall, I contacted Canton Goodfellows to discuss how redesigning their website could better convey their work and increase donations.

I met with the board members, listened to their comments about the existing sites, and shared my thoughts on how the site could be redesigned. After reading my proposal, the board members agreed to move forward with the project.

We worked together to plan the site redesign, with expectations to launch before their busy fall 2016 season began.

Goals for the Redesign

For the site redesign, we wanted to make sure the site was responsive, accessible, easy to navigate, and had an attractive design.

In addition, the goals were to make it easy to:

  • Learn what Canton Goodfellows does and who the organization serves
  • Apply for help
  • Find out how to get involved
  • Donate

The site would remain on WordPress, but I proposed moving the site to hosted WordPress.com.

I explained the difference between WordPress.com and self-hosted WordPress, highlighting the benefits and disadvantages of each.

One of the main advantages of moving to hosted WordPress.com: Canton Goodfellows was no longer responsible for maintaining and keeping the site secure.

With limited technical resources, that’s an important feature for many nonprofit organizations.

Since the organization’s needs were minimal, their goals could easily be met with hosted WordPress.

I recommended they purchase the Premium plan, which includes a custom domain name and advanced design customization.

Redesigning the Site

The first step in the redesign was gathering text content and imagery for the site.

After reviewing the content, I created a site map. Their website grew from two to eight pages. The content was chunked out for the different site pages.

Based on their goals, I reviewed multiple responsive accessible-ready themes on WordPress.com. I found a recently-released theme by Anariel Design I thought would work well.

Developed with charity organizations in mind, the theme focused on the mission of the organization. It was clear to me the designer took extra care with the design of the theme.

Once I received approval for the theme from my contact person at Canton Goodfellows, I modified the theme’s CSS for color, font, and headings on the site.

I made changes to content at the top of the home page to better highlight what Canton Goodfellows does.

To improve interaction, I added subtle CSS color transitions to the Donate buttons. Other style changes were made to spacing, line-height, and text display from centered to left-justified.

The background images on non-home pages proved to be a bit challenging. The photo at the top of the page is displayed as a background image in CSS. But only a horizontal slice of the photo displays.

And the view of the background image changes as you scroll through content on the page.

For those background images, I needed to pay attention to cropping the image while providing something interesting to view. Images needed to have a dark, non-distracting background near the center so the page title would display.

In addition, I had to ensure the background image would display well on desktop, tablet, and mobile. This required some changes to the CSS media query changes.

Headings were used throughout the pages so users can easily scan for the information they seek. A calendar page displays all the events for the year. A direct link for making a donation via PayPal was set up so donors could easily donate to Canton Goodfellows.

Social proof was added to multiple pages with testimonials from clients and volunteers appearing on the page, in the sidebar widget, and in the footer.

Summary

The Canton Goodfellows board members were very pleased with their redesigned site.

Looks terrific! Very well put together, nicely done.

Website visitors can now quickly find out what Canton Goodfellows does.

The navigation menu provides clear labels directing website visitors to the page they seek. Donors can easily find the Donate button at the top and bottom of every page.

It was my pleasure to work with them to create a better user experience for their clients, donors, and volunteers. I’ve been working with nonprofits for years, it was great to work with one in my own community.

If you want to make sure no child goes without a Christmas in Canton, visit the Canton Goodfellows website.

Website features: WordPress, WordPress.com, responsive design, CSS animation, mobile-friendly user experience.

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About the Author

Deborah Edwards-Onoro helps small businesses, consultants, nonprofits, and higher ed with creative and distinctive websites. Deborah shares her expertise with web design, user experience, and accessibility on her blog, social media, and at meetup events. As organizer of Refresh Detroit, West Metro Detroit WordPress, and Metro Detroit WordPress, she encourages members to share their knowledge and experiences. In her free time, you'll find her birding, shooting photos, reading, or watching tennis.
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