Effective Web for Engaged Organizations: A Case Study of Amnesty.ca

Effective Web for Engaged Organizations: A Case Study of Amnesty.ca

By: Lauren Kresowaty
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Whether you are passionate about defending human rights, or are in the process of designing a website to promote your own community engagement or philanthropic organization, I highly recommend visiting the website of Amnesty International Canada at www.amnesty.ca. A quick visit to their site provides more than enough ideas for getting involved in human rights, or for getting visitors to your organization’s website involved in your cause, whatever it may be.

Most notable about Amnesty International Canada’s site is the image carousel on its homepage. Each image highlights an individual or an issue currently being taken up by Amnesty International. Importantly, each image also provides either a bright yellow “Take Action” button (that will take you to a page with a petition, for example), or a bright yellow “Learn More” button (where you can find more information about the specific individual/issue). Though you could find ways to take action through the website’s “Get Involved” page, or learn about the issues through Amnesty’s “Our Work” page, once a site has grabbed the attention of its visitor with a compelling image, it’s important immediately direct this attention to the relevant action or information. If a visitor to Amnesty’s site saw these images and felt inspired to take action, but then had to comb through the website navigation to find the related petition or information, the momentum created by the original image would be lost and the visitor may be less likely to follow through with any positive action.

Another important feature of the site’s homepage are the many ways it offers to get involved and/or learn more about Amnesty International. These options are easy to find and clearly marked. Above the image carousel, you can learn about Amnesty’s work (“Our Work”), find ways to get involved (“Get Involved”), make a donation to Amnesty International (“Donate”), or find out more about the structure, core values, and organization of Amnesty International itself (“About Us”). The links below the carousel invite you to more direct action—you can “Sign Up” for Amnesty’s mailing list, “Donate Now” to help fund Amnesty’s work, or “Act Now” on various initiatives or issues. There is also an additional option to “Act Locally” to become an activist for human rights in your community.

At all times while on Amnesty International Canada’s website, a consistent webpage header ensures that the options to visit the  “Our Work”, “Get Involved”, “Donate” and “About Us” pages are readily available. Using website headers with consistent menu options is common practice on a lot of websites nowadays (and many templates on blog platforms like Wordpress tend to provide this option) but deciding what to include in that header means putting a lot of serious thought into what information and actions are most important for your audience to have access to.

Obviously, most of us do not run globally prominent organizations like Amnesty International, and most of us do not have access to the funding or expertise required to have expertly designed websites for our organization. But reaching out to a wide audience for support and involvement means being able to effectively communicate, and poking around on well-organized websites like Amnesty’s for design and structure ideas is free (if you have the time). You don’t need to have a flashy marketing campaign to make a difference, but at the end of the day, even the most worthwhile cause in the world can’t possibly garner enough attention or action if you aren’t able to point people in the right direction.

Lauren Kresowaty finished a BFA in Theatre Performance in 2009. She has since returned to SFU to study creative writing and English literature part-time. When she's not in class, you can usually find her at work in the Faculty of Education.

Posted on February 21, 2013