We as communications students are in an interesting position in regard to the opportunities that are around us to help others. There are a huge number of non profit organizations in the Philadelphia, and numerous that could use the help of someone with an understanding of how a webpage should look. That someone could be a communications professional that these organizations simply cannot afford, or it could be a smart and educated communications student like myself and my classmates that would be purely doing it for the experience.
One such non profit organization that I feel could benefit from our help on their website by administering a usability test is Campus Philly. While I feel that they have a very good platform already there are definitely some things I feel could be drastically improved on their website. The first thing that I noticed on the website was the colored headings below the colored city skyline. While I think this visually appealing I had no idea that it was meant to be clicked on until I put my mouse over it. A minor flaw, yes, but something that can be improved upon non the less. I also did not find the middle news feed to be very self explanatory until I starred at it for a few seconds to figure out that they were opportunities posted in descending chronological order.
Another organization that could benefit from a usability test is the Horizon House. The Horizon House helps adults and children with psychiatric and developmental disabilities to get off the streets and overcome whatever their challenges may be. Their website offers a good explanation of what services they offer, but offers little to no explanation of how to become involved with the house from an employment or volunteer angle without a decent amount of searching through the site.
The website for the Energy Cooperative, which is already being changed, is far too busy. Just looking at the page you would have a hard time deciding where to start looking for whatever you are on the page for. The heading on the middle feed are not obviously clickable, and their is no way to search the site for what you are trying to find. The only way to find anything is through clicking through the sidebar links, and from a usability standpoint this is a huge hassle that can be time consuming depending on what you are trying to find.
Overall, these sites have a fairly solid working base already. However, with a simple usability test there are many areas of each site that could be drastically improved to make them more user friendly.