In July 2016, my team launched a redesigned website for IREX, the international NGO where we work. David Hobbs Consulting contacted me to discuss our process.
The following interview originally appeared on DavidHobbsConsulting.com. During our conversation, David and I discussed my team’s decisions for the redesign, including our approach to user research, stakeholder alignment, content migration, and content strategy. Read more . . .
International development organizations are full of smart, pragmatic people. But just as the rise of digital has disrupted public, private, and nonprofit organizations in other sectors, digital poses fundamental challenges to the international development community.
In the rush to implement projects and demonstrate progress, international development organizations have created a confusing ecosystem of websites, logos, microsites, apps, campaigns, social media channels, publications, e-mail lists, and knowledge portals, often in response to donor organizations’ requests.
When the funding runs out or interest shifts, it often seems easier and less expensive just to abandon the old assets and commission new ones. This vicious cycle generates financial costs, security risks, privacy risks, and legal risks while undermining the organization’s efficiency and effectiveness.
Fortunately, we do not need to invent a solution to these problems. Organizations in other sectors have experienced similar growing pains as they’ve become more digitally mature. It’s time for the international development community to take the next step as well by embracing content strategy. Read more . . .
In the fall, I joined an international development NGO in DC to lead digital strategy. We’re a midsized NGO, with offices in twenty countries. Before the organization created my position, the communications team had only two full-time employees and an intern.
Here are some of the activities that we’ve tackled during the past nine months:
- Conducted lean research on a rolling basis
- Adopted a phased approach to renovating our website
- Drafted a digital strategy, digital roadmap, and digital guidelines
- Conducted training sessions and held brown-bag discussions
- Obtained approval to develop a digital governance framework
If we can do it, there’s a good chance that your nonprofit can, too. I’d like to share some of the steps that we’ve taken so far—and some of the resources that we’ve consulted—to better achieve our mission. Read more . . .
Posted on January 1, 2016 by Josh Tong - User Experience
Several people have asked how I conduct remote moderated usability testing for international nonprofits. I’d like to share my approach.
Here’s the three-sentence version:
I use Skype to share screens with users who work in developing countries. I ask users to complete a set of tasks, and I observe which steps give them trouble. We talk to each other while sharing screens so they can ask questions and give feedback in real time.
In this post, I’ll briefly describe the main aspects of remote moderated usability testing. I’ll suggest when to use this research method and which software to consider. I’ll also share my process for conducting the research and a few resources for further information. Read more . . .
Posted on July 18, 2015 by Josh Tong - Strategy, User Experience
It seems that many nonprofits install Google Analytics but don’t know what to do with it. Fortunately, there are many things that nonprofits can do to make Google Analytics much more useful. In this post, I’ll describe how to get started with five features:
- Event tracking
- Campaigns (with Google URL Builder)
- Goals (with conversion funnels)
- E-commerce tracking
- Custom dashboards
I’ll also share some ways that I use Google Analytics at an international NGO, and I’ll walk you through the process of identifying the metrics that matter most to your organization. Read more . . .
Posted on July 13, 2015 by Josh Tong - Strategy, User Experience
It’s no secret that many US nonprofits have struggled to recover after the recession. As old funding models decline, nonprofits are anxiously searching for new models that might lead to more financial stability.
How can nonprofits continue to fund their important work without compromising their mission or alienating their supporters?
A report published in the Nieman Lab describes how public media could supplement its old fundraising model with a new model of membership. The report should be required reading for all nonprofits and digital strategists. Read more . . .
I’d like to share a tool that I recently put together to address a common content problem.
This tool is not a substitute for a comprehensive content strategy. However, if your organization has not yet decided to create a content strategy, this tool could help nudge teams in that direction while solving some important content issues. Read more . . .
Here are some books and other resources that have been indispensable to my work. I’ve grouped them into several broad categories:
- Content strategy, information architecture, and user experience
- Digital marketing, content marketing, and social media
- Design thinking, change management, and organizational development
- Marketing and communications
- Writing and editing
- Graphic design, layout, and production
Read more . . .
Posted on November 16, 2014 by Josh Tong - User Experience
Design thinking allows teams to broaden their perspective by learning about their users’ needs. Teams can then redefine problems from their users’ point of view, generate fresh ideas, and test prototypes with the people who will use the final product or service.
Unfortunately, design thinking makes many organizations uncomfortable. So how can we introduce design thinking in a nonthreatening way? One inexpensive but powerful method is journey mapping. Read more . . .
Posted on June 30, 2014 by Josh Tong - Strategy, User Experience
What challenges do content strategists face when working for the government? Three content strategists for government agencies shared stories and advice during a panel discussion on June 26, 2014. Read more . . .