Easy to read websites pay off for Vision Australia

Not-for-profit charity has increased monthly donations by 160 per cent

Text heavy websites which readers found hard to navigate are a thing of the past at not-for-profit Vision Australia.

The charity works in partnership with more than 50,000 clients who are blind or have low vision. In addition to those with disabilities, the websites are used by the families of clients and people wishing to donate.

The not-for-profit’s corporate, Seeing Eye Dog and radio station sites needed to be accessible for people with impaired vision, but at the same time appealing to others with normal vision.

Vision Australia e-communications manager Aimee Sanderson told Techworld Australia that the not-for-profit went into the project in late 2012 with a few business goals.

“A lot of sites appear as monochrome for clients and we wanted to avoid that. We also wanted to increase online donations and that was across Seeing Eye Dogs Australia and Vision Australia.”

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Using Telerik’s software development tool Sitefinity, the charity’s IT partner Websilk created customised websites with less text and incorporated an e-commerce engine to support online donations.

“To date, we have increased our monthly donations by 160 per cent just through the right kind of user experience and design,” she said.

“It also comes down to mobile functionality because our old sites weren't responsive. People can now view the websites on tablets.”

The charity also increased donations through distributing videos about its annual Christmas appeal, Carols by Candlelight, on Twitter and YouTube last year.

Vision Australia is now exploring the development of a text to speech option on its corporate website which will convert text into spoken words for vision impaired people.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Techworld Australia on Twitter: @Techworld_AU

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