Does your audience need a PhD to understand your website?

People are often shocked that many pages on their website have a post-graduate reading level. As part of my process of talking to potential clients, I offer a brief website audit and a reading level analysis is part of it. Often people also have many text-heavy pages and only a few photos or graphics. The result is a website that is dense and inaccessible.

My clients work for social change by prioritizing the needs of communities and people directly impacted by injustice. Too often, though, their websites fall short of that mission. Luckily, there are some straightforward ways you can make your website friendlier and more accessible to a variety of audiences right now.

  1. Start with user personas. User personas are fictional people based on your real audiences. Consulting these imaginary people ensures you don’t get too stuck in your own perspective. If you’re not sure where to start, I can help.
  2. Check the reading level of your communications. Without meaning to, you may be alienating a lot of people by making things too complex. Hemingway App is a great tool for simplifying your writing.
  3. Use graphics. Even simple icons like the free ones at the Noun Project can increase the friendliness and accessibility of your words. Or, if you want custom icons, let’s talk.

These are just a few of the tools I employ when collaborating with people on a website redesign. Try them out, or chat with me to see ways I can help make your website itself be a part of your organization’s work.