Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Goals = reasonable (and reachable) expectations

Happy New Year! These past few weeks have been a little busy with year-end giving, so my break from the blog was actually pretty nice.

I'm glad to be back and would like to bring you up to speed on some key developments. First of all, the week ahead will be huge as we begin to put a face on the national redesign with a site map and wire frame. After 6-months of talking about what we can do online, we'll finally get a glimpse of what's around the corner.

Talking about our redesign has been good, if not therapeutic at times, but most folks want to see stuff not talk about it (forget about brown bag lunch seminars too, it's happy hour workshops from here on out - a different but an equally important lesson learned). It's been a long half-year of trying to envision what's ahead, but I'm looking forward to focus less on what we can do and more on what we will do.

This is a slight transition from thinking broadly out of the box to, ...um, defining our box. Our world (or box) over the next 6-months has to be within reasonable expectations. Basically, there are many things we can do and want to do, but we have to take small steps and work within our limits. i.e. budget, staff resources, etc. We definitely want to stay away from the 'field of dreams' complex - if we build it, they will come...

To get started, our website focus group and the firm leading the challenge met for the second time (see the first meeting) to review our goals for the new website. This is pretty key for moving forward and probably one that I'll revisit as the events continue to unfold. These goals will also be good to measure our success online as well as thinking about future plans.

Our website redesign goals:

  • Reinforce and extend AR’s image and reputation as a national organization focused on healthy rivers and related issues
  • Streamline navigation and make it easier to find relevant information: navigation to resources is a key issue
  • Elevate appeals to convert more activists to donors
  • Adopt a more accessible tone throughout website text
  • Elevate action alerts to the home page
  • Taking action should not require a login
  • Incentivize users to log in by offering members premium content and other benefits, such as screensavers, wallpaper, etc.
  • Leverage Convio’s application set to invite more user-generated content and online community
  • Deploy Convio’s content management system (CMS) more broadly throughout the organization
As a recap, our October 10, 2006 meeting also provided us with these key takeaways:
  • Dynamic content keeps a page fresh and appealing
  • Create a clear hierarchy for what’s important on the home page
  • Photos linked to content are strong calls to action
  • Provide one-click access to key issues or action items
  • Consider “Find an expert” feature for Newsroom or Resources
  • Resist the urge to pack everything on the home page; instead, establish a flexible navigation structure, good content management system and update the site often to promote things when they need it most

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