Govn’t, nonprofit and school websites worst teen usability offenders.

A teen boy gazes intently at his smartphone.

I am super excited. Copilot was just hired by the Annex Teen Clinic to redesign their website. With any new web project, comes research into new target audiences. The Annex’s target audience? Teens and young adults, primarily ages 15 to 25, who they seek to serve with low-cost, non-judgmental, and fact based sexually related health care services in the North Minneapolis area. Since I’m doing all this research, I thought I’d share it with you. After all, many of us in the nonprofit sector are trying to connect with teens on our websites. The key findings so far?

Myth busted: Teens are not the internet hotshots you (and they) think they are.

This doesn’t come as a surprise to me personally, but what I find amusing is that one of the things that characterizes teen’s internet use is that they overrate their ability to use the web to find and do what they need.

The lesson: You must take pains to make your site easy to use for teens. The stereotypes of teen tech savvy-ness are not true, and their self-ratings of skill are not reliable.

So how good are teens at using the web in general? A recent Nielsen Norman Group study found that in self-directed activities, teens only were able to successfully complete tasks 71% of the time. Compare that number to 83% for adults.

3 top reasons teens surf the web less well than adults:

  1. Teens simply don’t have the reading skills adults do.
  2. They’re less good at researching things, including using tools like search successfully.
  3. They have dramatically lower levels of patience.

Perhaps the most troubling finding to me from the Nielsen Norman Group’s research is that organizations dedicated to social good — government, nonprofits and schools — do the poorest job making their websites usable for teens. We can do better. You’re probably wondering how. Stay tuned. I’ll be writing a series of posts that break down and illustrate sites that do things right for teens, and those that don’t in coming posts.

Photo CC Pabak Sarkur

How to Make a Slider Revolution Photo Gallery in WordPress

Website visitors love photos! Especially if they’re photos of people they know. Adding more visual material on your website is a great way to engage your audience, and help tell the story of your nonprofit.

In this particular video, I share a tutorial on how you can use the Slider Revolution plugin to make a gallery of photos in WordPress. These galleries can easily be added to either a WordPress page or post.

Slider Revolution is a paid WordPress plugin, but at $19 for a single license, it’s worth every penny. Your purchase of a single license will also enable you to get future upgrades of the product so you can ensure that your galleries and sliders continue to work as you upgrade your core WordPress application.

You can purchase it at CodeCanyon. For the record, I don’t get any kick back for endorsing this product, it’s just one that I trust and regularly use for my web development clients.