August 02, 2012

Michael J. Fox Charity's Home Page: Patience Required

The home page of The Michael J. Fox Foundation finds a way to avoid some of the potential pitfalls of a popular design approach: the slideshow.

But the page doesn't meet all the standards that a good page needs, as I noted in my overview post.

The fact that the main slide disappears before most people would probably have enough time to absorb it works against the group. The main text, “The answer is in all of us,” sounds a lot like marketing speak and doesn’t tell us anything of substance.

However these problems are mostly offset by a strong brand identity reinforced by a famous celebrity, the subtitle, “You can be part of our mission to speed a cure for Parkinson’s disease,” and the organization's name, which includes "for Parkinson's Research."  If the organization didn't have such a clear name and well-known celebrity, it might struggle to keep visitors engaged long enough to understand its purpose.

Below the slideshow, viewers see three clear calls to action and a fourth just below this row with sign-up forms located on the home page.

The fact that all four of these fall below what many people will see without scrolling down, and that the design of the top three calls to action gives them equal weight, decreases the likelihood that people will click to learn more.

All in all, though, this is a site that has a strong brand behind it and offers anyone with a bit of patience a good glimpse into the group's activities and how to get involved.

More: The Secrets Behind Successful Nonprofit Home Pages

Matthew Scharpnick is the co-founder of Elefint Designs, a strategic design studio that works with good causes.