Greenpeace is a nonprofit whose mission I believe in. I’ve been giving them a donation each month for the last few years. I receive their emails regularly but I don’t visit their home page much.
Since Greenpeace is a big, well-known organization, presumably with a relatively large amount of funding behind it, I assumed their website would be pretty well-done, with little room to suggest improvement.
I was surprised to find that Greenpeace’s site actually kinda sucks in a couple pretty important ways.
When you first land on greenpeace.com, they give you a full-screen overlay.
What you can’t see from this screenshot is that there’s a big bright green “Donate Today” button below the fold. The arguably single most important element on the page is hidden from view! So there’s an easy opportunity for improvement: put the “donate” button above the fold.
What happens if I do click on that “Donate Today” button?
One of the fundamental principles of effective landing pages is to keep the choices to a minimum.
On this page, I have to first choose whether I’m going to make a monthly or one-time donation, and then I have to choose the amount. These choices are probably necessary although the process of making the choices probably could have been made easier for me.
Also, it seems a little “forward” of them to immediately ask for a donation. It’s like “asking to get married on the first date”. What if they just offered to educate you on the benefits of donating?
Let’s move on from the donation popover and take a look at the main page above the fold.
Apparently one of Greenpeace’s favorite things to do is to put call-to-action buttons below the fold. There’s a green “take action” button below the headline which you of course can’t see except for the very top of it.
There are also way too many choices on the home page. There are four competing sections on the page: the white rectangle, the darker gray top bar, the lighter gray are underneath that, and the “take action” call to action.
These all seem to be competing for visual prominence, and to my eyes, there’s no clear winner. My eye is equally drawn to the nav links on the left in the white bar and the other nav links inside the lighter gray area. But my eyes are also drawn to the red “Donate” button in the top right corner.
I’m left confused about what I’m supposed to do. I didn’t come to the site to make a donation, so that’s out. I just came here to kind of check out the site and maybe learn a little more about Greenpeace. Should I pick “What We’re Doing” or “About”?
If I go to click “What We’re Doing”, I’m surprisingly presented with a “drop-down” that shows me yet more options!
Ugh. I just wanted to see what Greenpeace is up to! Now I have to decide which of these things I want to read about? I care about most of these issues, not only one of them. I don’t know how to decide.
And it’s kind of funny how a “donate” button shows its face again. It’s brightly-colored and features a photo, making it the most prominent element on the drop-down.
By this time I’m annoyed, confused, and just want to leave the site.
- Having too many equally-weighted options gives people “analysis paralysis”.
- “Asking to get married on the first date” is offputting. Better to build rapport in smaller increments.
- If your page features a call to action, it should be visible above the fold.