Responses by Viget.
Background: The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is the go-to information resource for LGBTQ people and allies worldwide. The purposes of the organization’s website are as broad as its initiatives; it’s the home base for its advocacy work, a place for updates on legislative news and an information library for millions of people. The new site conveys this breadth of work and its unique, indisputable significance to visitors.
The website provides vital information about the ongoing pursuit of equality for the LGBTQ community. It shares the history of the hard-won victories, provides updates on current relevant legislation, and offers and annual, comprehensive snapshot of the LGBTQ-friendliness of hospitals, state legislatures, municipalities and businesses. What’s more, the site then provides myriad opportunities for users to act through donating, signing petitions, connecting at events or getting involved with their local HRC steering committee. The new site equips users with the knowledge and opportunity to effect real change.
Design core: HRC needed a website that reflects the organization as it exists today: progressive, forward-looking and action-oriented. Our new design and messaging better mirrored the vibrancy of the LGBTQ community and the impact of HRC’s work—ensuring the most marginalized people in our communities have maximum access to resources, information and representation. This streamlined digital ecosystem serves as a natural extension of HRC’s print-focused brand guide, while catapulting its brand identity into the future.
Challenges: Navigating site accessibility issues can be a challenge. But it isn’t just a “nice to have,” it’s a matter of equity and is central to HRC’s values. We took its content to a new level by applying international accessibility standards and redesigning the most popular resource types—interactive tools we called “data explorers”—for digital-first usability. By converting PDF content into HTML integrated with HRC’s Salesforce database, the content is easier to maintain and more actionable for users making real-world decisions about where to work, how to seek healthcare and whom to vote for.
Navigation structure: When we were thinking about the navigation, we leaned into the discovery phase to understand how people actually use HRC’s site. We interviewed HRC staff and website users to zero in on the problems we needed to solve. Along with interviews, we audited the site information architecture and analytics, researched peer organizations, and held a workshop with the HRC team. Chief among our findings was that its site content model and overstretched CMS made the organization’s many resources and updates hard to find for visitors and staff, leading to ad hoc workarounds and an abundance of one-off microsites. We also learned that only 7 percent of site visitors ever went to the homepage, a datapoint that helped drive the strategic direction for the site structure and homepage narrative.
Technology: The new hrc.org was built on Craft CMS, a PHP-based content management system from Pixel & Tonic. Site search is powered by Algolia. The site features several direct integrations with HRC’s Salesforce database.