If there’s one web design trend I think we should all pay attention to in the social entrepreneur space, I think it’s one-page websites.
One-page websites play an important role in today’s internet world.
They help people focus, usually on a problem or an action.
And, unlike a regular website, which might have a full navigation menu and multiple inner pages, a one-page website usually cuts to the chase and presents all the information someone needs on a single page.
If done right, it will get people scrolling.
People will also want to dig deeper until they are compelled to join your community.
In today’s article, I want to spend some time talking about the value of one-page websites and how social enterprises can use them for social justice. One of the best examples I’ve seen recently is Google’s Downtown West mixed-use plan website in San Jose.
I first heard about this website after hearing that San Jose had finally approved the tech giant’s plan to build a new 80-acre campus in the middle of the city.
This question has been full of controversy for years.
Activists and residents have turned up at meetings to protest the development and voice concerns that Google is displacing many workers, who have contributed to the city’s culture and made the city their home for decades .
After all, San Jose — which is California’s third-largest city and in the heart of Silicon Valley — isn’t the cheapest place to live. Last year, the median home price was $1.1 million. If you are a tenant, you also pay high prices.
To Google’s credit, they didn’t just push their plans through the community (although that seemed like it at first).
They hired people to hold meetings with the community and get some real feedback. In turn, Google incorporated community concerns into its final plans, which were approved by the city council and San Jose residents.
If you haven’t figured out where I’m coming from yet, we’re not just talking about real estate or good website design (which Google knows back and forth).
This whole issue is about social justice.
So when you check out the website Google designed to promote its new downtown campus, you’re not just learning about its latest real estate project. You see an example of how Silicon Valley is slowly learning that coding can’t solve everything when it comes to people’s daily lives.
The first post you see in the heroes section is awesome.
It doesn’t focus on what makes Google so great, but on what makes San Jose a great place to live.
There are many large social enterprises and non-profit organizations focused on social justice. But one thing I often see missing on their websites is a clear message about what makes their mission so important to the community.
Just below the fold, they give you a quick overview of the project, why the project matters, and what community members think about the issues they care about.
I look at this part a bit like the first three to five paragraphs of the inverted pyramid model you see in many news articles.
The inverted pyramid is a method of writing news in which the broadest and most important points are delivered at the top of the story. This method of storytelling is designed to grab the reader’s attention as quickly as possible. The rest of the story is filled with additional information as the article unfolds.
Good website storytelling follows the same structure.
If I was designing a website for a social enterprise, I would put the theory of change and some testimonials in this section.
Only once it is established that Google’s development project has lasted for years do you get more details about how the project actually works.
This section is a bit like the section of a social enterprise website where they talk about the issues they are trying to solve or the programs they run.
The trick is that you have to get people interested first before they start caring about the issues, if that makes sense.
If you have numbers to back up the impact you are having, this is the place to show it. Find out how the website helps the community imagine what they’re going to create with facts and figures to back it up.
I also love how they took the time to create visuals that help people imagine how they will improve the community without ignoring the history and culture that made San Jose what it is today .
A nice slider works well in this section.
More importantly, they include a call to action at the bottom.
There’s always some debate about where to place a CTA (or whether to make it a pop-up), but I think this one was done well. The reason I like it is because it’s not just a basic contact form.
It invites people to continue the conversation by giving them a prompt to respond.
If this was a one-page website for your social business or non-profit, imagine how powerful it would be. And you wouldn’t have to worry about creating multiple inner pages that people might or might not click on.
In conclusion, if you are looking to make an impact and design a good one-page website for your social business, steal some ideas from Google’s Downtown West Mixed Use Plan website in San Jose.
The reason their new development website works so well is because they incorporate the following into the story and design:
- A clear message about what makes their mission so great for the community they are trying to reach
- An overview of their theory of change
- More details on the problems they are trying to solve and their approach to solving them
- Supporting facts and figures after explaining why people should care about their approach to solving the community’s biggest problems
- Strong visuals that help people imagine how the development will improve the community without getting rid of the soul of the community
- A Call-to-Action that invites people to continue the conversation