Communications: Site Visit -

The RNID has undergone an extensive online redesign, based on a careful evaluation of its stakeholders and visitors. The charity admitted that its former site, though informative, was also poorly structured.

The new version, which is being launched next week, emphasises navigability and accessibility.

The new site will also be easier to extend and maintain because of a content management system that will let staff keep its information up to date.

Main pages

The charity has a nice phrase for what it has set out to achieve - it's "a window on what we do, not the whole house". The new homepage is much less text-heavy than its predecessor and offers far fewer - and more relevant - options: 'how you can help', 'how we help', 'information and resources'.

The central news and announcements panel is well used, as is a restrained use of constantly refreshed graphics. Destination pages are consistently laid out and feature user-friendly tools such as printer-friendly print options.

Special features

The revised shopping section, from which members can purchase products to help the deaf or hard of hearing, is extremely strong for a non-profit organisation. A strong search engine runs a close second for best feature.

RNID says

"The new site will be the destination of choice for anyone looking for information on deafness, hearing loss or tinnitus. The thousands of people who use our site each month will be able to find information or buy specialist products with just a few clicks. We've shown that it's possible to achieve a highly accessible website without compromising design."

Site Visit is by technology writer Gary Flood

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