Design and build for an online resource for the third sector

Tasks included

The website presents a mixture of conventional ‘static’ information and collaboration features focusing on the needs of charities and social enterprises, particularly of smaller organisations – of which there are several hundred thousand in the UK. These organisations have little time and often no formal training in running their charity as a ‘business’, yet they need to be efficient and effective in order to benefit the people or causes they were set up to help.

The launch

The site, funded initially through a grant from Big Lottery Fund and supported by a range of third sector ‘infrastructure’ organisations, was launched formally at the end of April 2009.

The site has a range of expert-written conventional content that makes it a useful reference. Users are encouraged to join in by commenting on and contributing to content drafts, as well as joining interest groups on special subjects. There is already a ‘management soap opera’, Millcaster Tales, which is also available as an animated series.

New features

In the past year we’ve added new features to the site; these include: a study zone with training videos, discussions and the facility for users to suggest training topics; a ‘How To’ section, updated personal ‘dashboard’ for registered users; and an online store.

Flexible development

Which tools will make a permanent appearance, and how they will work, is deliberately being left hazy. Text Matters is designing and building the site, working iteratively to prototype promising-sounding features then revising, developing or scrapping them depending on reactions from early users.

Test and revision are central to the design and build process, and have already led to shifts in approaches, information architecture, language and visual treatment of design elements.

Further work

Our work on this site is ongoing – we recently completed a redesign of the website with new areas and features and are developing a range of informal and semi-formal online learning tools. [visit the KnowHow NonProfit website]

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