Never has it been more important for an organization to communicate to the world who they are and what they do with a well-designed website. But what makes a well-designed site? How does someone concerned with running a social impact venture know which elements make up a ‘good’ website? Striking the balance between form and function is a delicate and difficult task especially for those not familiar with the aspects of what makes good web design. To help you out, we’ve created a list of necessary criteria for any social impact website and compiled ten websites from the Tulsa area which serve as optimal examples.
Here are the main criteria for good web design. This is not an all-inclusive list, but is a good list to get you started.
Easily Identifiable Purpose
The first item that catches any website viewer’s attention should be a company’s logo, but the second should be the company’s purpose. Your website should answer “What does this organization do?” at a glance. When a user visits a site, the screen they see before scrolling is referred to as above the fold. If the purpose of the company is not located above the fold, a user may never see it. The goal is to make the user work as little as possible to find the information important to them and answer the question what do you do?
Responsive Web Design
These days, users are not only accessing a site from a typical computer setup or even a laptop. Users have tablets of varying sizes and are quick to pull out smartphones when they see an advertisement or have a question. For that reason, an important element of any website is a responsive design. Responsive web design means a website adjusts the sizing and spacing of its parts according to the size of the screen from which a user is accessing the site. Looking at a website on your smartphone and having the site load incorrectly or having to zoom to read text gives users a poor perception of a business, making it one of the top criteria for a successful website.
Ideally users won’t stay on the homepage of your site, but in order to drive traffic to other pages and help your visitors get where they want to be, a site needs to have intuitive navigation. Navigation elements should be clearly marked and highlight the various sections of your site. Dropdown menus can be a functional and clean way to organize a lot of different content. Messy or difficult navigation frustrates users and drives them away, causing them to have a negative perception of your organization.
Clear Call to Action
A beautifully designed website, while a great asset to any organization, means little without an ask. Sites do offer information, but what do you want visitors to do when they visit your site? Whether the answer is donate, sign up for a newsletter, or share your site with others, those actions should be clear. A website without any clear direction is a website wasted.
Without a blog, a website tends to stagnate. Websites need fresh content to keep viewers coming and continue to drive traffic (website views). Each organization needs a way to keep donors and followers informed about progress, special events, and advocacy issues within their field. Blogs can also be a good way to highlight staff in your organization and serve as educational tools which can be circulated more broadly to raise awareness about unique issues and your organization’s work as a whole.
Although your navigation should cover any major topics a user would like to see, some users visit sites with a specific question or topic in mind. At this point, a built-in search function becomes essential. Users need a fast, easy way to find the content they need.
Have you ever had a specific, off-the-wall question, or maybe need some details that just aren’t available on a website? Every organization needs to have their contact information easily accessible on the site. A contact form will help users who may become frustrated with the online experience, or people who may need to locate your physical office. Websites can also seem impersonal, but providing a phone number, email, and address is a great way to add a touch of humanity and ease to your site.
Top 10 Social Impact Sites in Tulsa
Now that we know the basic elements of a well-designed site, how is that information applied? We’ve compiled some of the best examples of social impact websites in Tulsa.
1. CAP Tulsa
CAP Tulsa Website Homepage
CAP Tulsa works to help children and families through their programming for increasing literacy and school preparedness. In addition, CAP offers comprehensive programs in parenting, career training and family support specialists to address the needs of the whole family and provide opportunities for all.
Although CAP Tulsa doesn’t have a blog, the website possesses clarity, simplicity, and a community appeal. Conscientious of those they serve, CAP offers a clear function to translate their site in either Spanish or Zomi. Marked by compassion and simplicity, this website both engages and informs visitors.
2. 36 Degrees North - Tulsa’s Basecamp for Entrepreneurs
36 Degrees North Website Homepage
36 Degrees North offers a space for entrepreneurs and remote workers to collaborate and build connections. Named after the latitudinal line which Tulsa rests on, the organization has quality space for meetings and resources such as advisors and networking events.
This website is not only beautifully designed but contains all the essential elements to guide and interact with users. A pop- up gives an immediate call to action, the purpose of the organization is clearly stated, and the navigation is clear and functional. The mobile view is just as aesthetically designed and is not simply a scaled down version of the full site.
3. Leadership Tulsa
Leadership Tulsa Website Homepage
Leadership Tulsa’s mission is “to identify, develop and connect diverse leaders who impact the community through service.” They accomplish this by training members to be involved with other programs and organizations; their current reach includes 240 area agencies and businesses. With special emphasis on diversity, Leadership Tulsa hosts a women’s summit and a Hispanic Leadership Institute.
This site displays information in a clear way, keeping viewers engaged by the large rotating image and the news and calendar. Leadership Tulsa relies on the banner and name to communicate their mission, placing more information in the about section. All in all, this site has improvements that can be made, but made the list for its bold look and frequent information updates.
4. YMCA Tulsa - For youth development, for healthy living, for social responsibility
YMCA Tulsa Website Homepage
YMCA Tulsa’s mission is clear right from their homepage - “for youth development, for healthy living, for social responsibility.” The Y offers a variety of programs to accomplish their mission ranging from before and after school care, sports programs, community health programs, swim lessons, healthy cooking nutrition programs, ropes courses and mentoring programs, just to name a few.
The website has nice engaging images front and center that grab your attention. And considering the amount of programs listed on the site, they organize the information very well. The area where there is room for improvement is for a blog. The closest thing found to a blog is the "Storytelling Resources" section of the site and the data are laid out a bit clumsily. This section could benefit from a grid layout for a streamlined look and to better organize the details and great resources they offer. Flyers could also be listed as downloadable files put behind a subscriber form to capture more leads. Overall, the Y has a great site with engaging pictures and easy-to-find info. We are so glad the Y has a strong presence in Tulsa.
5. Big Brothers, Big Sisters
Big Brothers, Big Sisters Website Homepage
Many are familiar with Big Brothers, Big Sisters and their mission to provide children and teens in need with mentors. Built on caring volunteerism and personal time, the organization aims to inspire purpose and strengthen communities through personal relationships.
The Big Brothers, Big Sisters website is as impactful as their programming. The stark color contrast draws attention to the logo and call to action, the video that plays serves to communicate their purpose and impassion potential volunteers. Scrolling down the page leads to a wonderful display of recent blog posts and announcements to keep viewers informed and engaged. This site is both compelling and beautiful, allowing Big Brothers, Big Sisters to communicate what they do in a way that compels others to be involved.
6. Greenwood Cultural Center
Greenwood Cultural Center Website Homepage
The Greenwood Cultural Center's mandate is to carry the cultural torch, to promote and preserve the African American culture. Committed to remembering Tulsa’s blighted history with race and educating on the difficult and inspirational emergence of Black Wall Street from the ashes, the Greenwood Cultural Center provides an array of programs including those for women of tomorrow and young entrepreneurs.
A picture of the center’s elegant exterior dominates the homepage of this website. Although the cultural center doesn’t have a clearly stated purpose on the homepage, it is easily located, and the purpose is also included in the name. In addition, a call to action in the form of a red button takes center stage in the design. With the simple navigation and large map on the front page, the site entices viewers to visit the center in person and experience all the cultural enrichment themselves.
7. Tulsa Hub
Tulsa Hub Website Homepage
The Hub not only offers transportation education courses but provides refurbished bicycles for children and support for the disenfranchised as well. Through encouraging volunteerism and being active, the Hub has been helping Tulsans since 2008.
Tulsa Hub’s website is impactful at first view. The bold purpose statement overlaying the footage of Tulsa cycling ensures that you know immediately what the Hub does. The rest of the site is simple yet covers all the basics. Offering few visuals, the pages are primarily made up of black and grey text on a white background, but its simplicity allows viewers to focus on the essential information, including the very clear call to action and hours.
8. Disaster Resilience Network
Disaster Resilience Network Website Homepage
Disaster Resilience Network (DRN) focuses on fortifying cities against possible disasters, a critical undertaking to protect people and economic investments in any city. They accomplish this through providing educational materials and sessions and promoting stronger home builds.
DRN’s mission takes front and center on the beautiful green cityscape. Their homepage not only has a compelling call to action featured center stage, but is divided into several sections, each highlighting a different action a visitor can take. DRN chose to make their ‘About Us’ section the first thing users see--a personal approach--and honored their sponsors right alongside their mission, conveying a culture of gratitude. Although their homepage is compelling, the DRN site does have room for improvement. Some buttons only reload the existing page, and various graphics are fuzzy or display different fonts. While DRN put their best foot forward with the landing page, it’s clear they have a ways to go to make a truly compelling site.
9. Code for Tulsa
Code for Tulsa Website Homepage
Code for Tulsa is an organization that uses technology to address social and civic issues. An affiliate of Code for America, its website is really downplayed considering all the high caliber initiatives they have been a part of and reads more like a blog than anything else. Unfortunately, the site hasn't been updated in quite some time, but does have current links to get connected to the group of civic-minded programmers.
10. Tulsa Dream Center
Tulsa Dream Center Website Homepage
The Tulsa Dream Center has been in the North Tulsa community since 1999. As it says on their homepage, they "see a need [and] meet it," they "see a hurt [and look to] heal it." The Dream Center focuses on addressing needs in three main areas - education, medical and hunger. They have programs going on six days a week.
The Dream Center website has an engaging video background, but there is no clear call-to-action and a missed opportunity to have an "About" page that centralizes information on its mission and vision of the organization along with its history and leadership.
All in all, we have a great list of organizations that are doing good work to bring positive social impact to the Tulsa community.
This is not a comprehensive list of social impact organizations in Tulsa, but rather a list of social impact organizations that have done a pretty great job of presenting themselves well online. Tulsa is a pretty great city that has many organizations whose primary goals are to help, to equip, and to empower members of the community through the various initiatives and programs they offer.
If you're interested to get more involved with the organizations that are helping our city, check out our blog on Places to Volunteer in Tulsa.