Options for Children in Zambia works to improve relatively neglected healthcare needs in rural African communities to improve quality of life. Specifically, Options is pursuing a novel strategy that utilizes oral health prevention as a catalyst to promote other healthcare and quality of life-improving services to low-resource rural communities.

Getting the message out to those willing to help and encouraging donations to support their important causes is crucial. Unfortunately, the organization’s website was cumbersome, difficult to update, and visually uninteresting, failing to accurately portray the mission and hard work of Options for Children. To remedy the situation and modernize its website to properly reflect its needs, the organization turned to Pixelslam to redesign and update its site.

Outlining the critical needs

Pixelslam began the process by clearly outlining the challenges with the organization’s existing site. Those included:

Inflexibility – The site was so old it was virtually impossible to update with in-house staff. The organization wanted to share news of their various plans and progress but was unable to do so.

Lack of engagement – The organization wanted to build a current contact list by capturing the email addresses of people visiting the site. They weren’t able to because of the site’s underlying infrastructure.

Lack of visual interest – The organization had a number of vibrant images that they wanted to share with site visitors, but the existing design was not able to accommodate that need.

No eCommerce capability – The organization wanted to add a store to their site where visitors could purchase various beaded products. This would have added another revenue stream for the organization, but the current site could not properly support the eCommerce capability.

Cumbersome donation process – The organization relies heavily on donations to carry on its work, but the existing process was not integrated, forcing donors to leave the site. This confused potential donors who weren’t clear about where their donations were actually going.

Lack of mobile design – The site was not designed to support mobile devices so users weren’t able to easily view or engage with the organization on their smartphones or tablets.

Transforming the site

At the same time the Pixelslam team began restructuring the site, the organization conducted a rebranding exercise which became a key element of the blueprint for the site upgrade.

The power of WordPress allowed Pixelslam to quickly build in the flexibility to enable easy updating. This allowed the organization’s staff to design and incorporate changes on the fly to better adapt to client content needs. The underlying wireframes were designed so that there was no need to redevelop when changes needed to be made.

Pixelslam then focused on making the site more visually attractive by incorporating vivid photography that gave site visitors a true sense of “being there.” More imagery and high resolution photos along with improved content placement brought the site alive.

The redesign also dramatically updated the donation section, not only encouraging visitors to make contributions, but also enabling them to sign up for the latest organization news. This served the dual purpose of better informing visitors but also capturing their contact information to promote even further engagement going forward. The redesigned site also provided the ability for the organization’s staff to put up blog posts – giving them another way to communicate their message.

The Pixelslam update included an eCommerce component that enabled the organization to set up a store that allowed visitors to purchase products, again increasing engagement while at the same time raising additional funds.

Finally, the new site update used responsive design, enhancing the user experience for visitors when accessing the site on a mobile device.

Providing visibility to the cause

The organization’s newly designed website checked all boxes of the organization’s needs: ease of updating, mobile use, and driving better engagement to more effectively spread the word of their mission.

There may be more causes worthy of support, but unlike more well-known health needs in Africa such as HIV, tuberculosis, infantile diarrhea and parasitic infections, very little government, NGO or philanthropic effort supports the causes of Options for Children in Zambia like oral health or sickle cell disease. The hope is that a modernized, well-designed website will help get the message out and garner the additional support that is so badly needed.