Competitive Analysis: Redux

In my original competitive analysis of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound site,  I identified recruiting volunteers, raising money, building its own online community and creating mentoring advocates as the site’s main goals.

I will now review the site from a task-based perspective and will see how easy it is to: sign up to volunteer, make a donation, join the organization’s online community and learn more about becoming a mentoring advocate.

I will look specifically at ability to quickly find information on site related to task, persuasiveness of call to action and ease of completing task.

Task #1: Signing up to volunteer

Ability to find info: Once you figure out that “Be a big” means becoming a volunteer, it’s relatively easy to find information. I understand that the organization is trying to reinforce it’s branding, but that language could be confusing to some users. “Be a big” buttons are present in both horizontal and right column navigation on the home page.

Persuasiveness of call to action: The site says: “Fun can make a world of difference for a child in your community. As a Big Brother or Big Sister, you can experience childhood again for a couple of hours a week. All you have to do is be a friend to a child in your community.” I found this to be very compelling. As a volunteer, I can make a huge difference by just donating a few hours of my time each week.

Ease of completing task: It took me three clicks to get me to the web form to sign up, which I thought was too many. And that’s just to get contact information. A Big Brothers and Big Sisters representative then has to get in touch with you.

Task #2: Making a donation

Ability to find info: On the home page, there are two donate buttons, one in the top horizontal navigation and one in the right column navigation. This was very easy to identify.

Persuasiveness of call to action: On the donation landing page, I wasn’t wowed by the headline, “Support mentoring.” As I scrolled down, I thought the copy that said, “We can change the way children grow up in America” was much stronger and more likely to motivate people to give.

Ease of completing task: Once I clicked on “donate,” I expected to be taken to a form. It took two clicks to get there. Donating should be made as easy as possible and should only be one click away.

Task #3: Joining the organization’s online community

Ability to find info: On the home page, the top horizontal navigation simply says “Our Community,” which is vague and could mean anything. The right column navigation has more detail. It says, “Join our community. By connecting with us, you can make a BIG difference.” This is clearer, but I think it should be really obvious that the site has a significant online community.

Persuasiveness of call to action: Seeing the headline, “Already a big?” as the first line of copy on the online community landing page was confusing. I wanted to join the online community. Of course, once I scrolled down, it was clear. However, I didn’t really see the benefit of creating a user profile.

Ease of completing task: It’s easy to find the form to sign up to create a new user account. It’s a standard form and what a typical web user would expect to see.

Task #4:  Learning more about becoming a mentoring advocate

Ability to find info: On the home page, the top horizontal navigation simply says “Advocacy,” which is vague and could mean anything. The right column navigation has more detail. It says, “Advocate. Speak out about the importance of mentoring.”

Persuasiveness of call to action: The “Join our network” headline on the advocacy landing page isn’t compelling at all. I wanted to take action and start advocating right away. Instead I’m asked to receive alerts about important legislation, e-mail my elected officials and stay current on mentoring issues. That sounds really boring.

However, when I got to the LeadBIG! Network page, I was more convinced by this language:

“You can make a big difference in just 5 minutes. That’s all it will take to learn the issues and send an email to your elected officials. The actions of our government have an enormous impact on the lives of you and your family, and we hope you’ll use this site to learn about things that matter to you.”

It was easy to take action, wouldn’t take a lot of time and I could make a big impact.

Ease of completing task: “Join Our Action Network” took me to a simple form to fill out. “Send an email to your elected officials” went to a page that said, “The alert you’ve requested has expired.” If you’re interested in public policy issues, Big Brothers Big Sisters makes it simple to participate.

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