Researching websites and platforms

A quick look at some of the research that's happening in our discovery phase.

— by Hoyam on 24 June 2015 #digital #internship #research

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Hello!

My name is Hoyam and I am a Digital Research Intern for the digital participation team and SCVO Labs. My role involves researching the digital activities of charities and non-profit organisations, not just in Scotland and the UK but internationally as well.

Currently I am working on a market research task where I have been analysing the websites and digital platforms of around 100 charities and organisations in the UK, Europe, United States, Australia and New Zealand. Some of the factors I’ve been looking at while evaluating these websites include colour palettes, fonts, graphics, use of photographs, layout, text, menus and navigation, videos, facts and figures, and calls to action. I’ve been trying to identify these features then discussing how and why certain websites are more successful than others.

I began my research by taking a snapshot of all the websites and posting them in our Google Drive folder for the team to have a look at. I then printed off all the snapshots and on coloured card I wrote a short summary of key points of each topic to mention, along with a couple of pages to put as an example. You can see a picture of this part in the photograph above! I then identified recurring features and tools that websites use such as modern fonts and simple colour palettes, and also added in some examples from others with key points to avoid such as too much text or overloading a webpage with images.

After this, I looked at the websites’ functions and what we, as the user, are able to do including searching for a specific topic, giving and replying to feedback, creating an account etc. I recorded all of this in a spreadsheet. Next, out of the 100 or so websites I chose 14 that I thought where most relevant to the sorts of products the team here is building. I then went on a hunt to try and find out more about their background, such as when they were first launched, facts and figures about their service, user activity, and what sort of response they have had.

This research and analysis has helped us as we try to understand the popularity and success of different websites, and we are using key points from my analysis to help inform the design of the products the team is working on.

So far I am half way through my internship and I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I have definitely learned a lot in terms of work structure and the way of presenting my research. Whilst working in this sector I have picked up how research should be done and learned how to use spreadsheets, tables and flow charts to sum large amounts of written text to get my point across to others quickly. I also now know how to use different applications that I haven’t necessarily used before such as Excel, and hope to be using what I now know in future jobs.