Starfish Family Services is a leading provider of early childhood development and parenting programs serving Metro Detroit and is located in Inkster, Michigan.
The home page features a What’s New section that uses images in a slideshow showing families and children. This is visually appealing and represents what Starfish does in the community. The images also have links to other parts of the site such as a program information, video, the latest newsletter, and news about recent funding, etc.
The sidebar of the homepage has Donate Now options, one is for paypal, another link is a donation form, as well as job and volunteer opportunities.
The site displays events allowing people to register and donate securely on their website using Eventbrite.
There are programs on the home page you can click on to view details of each program they offer such as Early Childhood, Parents and Family, Counseling and Health Services etc.
Starfish has a Facebook page that they update with latest blog posts and information. They also have a Twitter page showing current tweets.
What I Like
- The use of images on the home page gives visitors a good visual view of the organization, what it’s involved in, which is helping families and children in the community.
- Social media icons displayed prominently at the top of each page. This makes it easy for users to get to Starfish’s social media pages from anywhere they may be on the site.
- The consistency of the image used on their Facebook and Twitter pages. This shows that they update their social media. It’s November as I write this, and they have an image of Fall colors and it says Happy Fall on both Facebook and Twitter . This give visitors a consistency of look across Starfish’s social media sites and shows that they keep their social media pages up-to-date with what’s going on in the community.
- Consider including Donate options at the top of every page, similar to the social media icons, giving potential donors easy access to donate from any page they may be on.
- I’d like to be able to control the image slider, maybe provide next and previous links allowing users to go to the next or previous slide. (Update: I just noticed that Starfish added next and previous links to the image slider, good job!)
This page also has engaging images and describes the organization and its goals. There are also publications displayed on this page. I would have liked to see publications and/or newsletters available from other pages on the site. For example, if someone is on the home page, they wouldn’t necessarily know that there are publications to view.
There is a list of news for the organization. There is current news displayed which again shows that Starfish keeps website visitors up-to-date, and is not showing old news items. I think each news item could be broken up so it’s clearer where one news item ends and the next one starts.
Learn About Our Work
I really like this page since it clearly shows Starfish’s vision, and also displays statistics that the program is working. Important statistics are displayed, for example:
- 87% of Starfish’s Inkster Preschoolers enter kindergarten ready for school success compared with only 2/3 of Michigan preschoolers overall
The simplicity of this page works well, it shows each leader with a picture and a description. In the sidebar there is more information about officers and directors.
Brighter Futures Blog
The blog page displays the latest post. In the sidebar there are links to other posts, archives and tags.
What I Like
I really liked that the post is very recent. This means that they are active with the site and keep it updated with news and information. This helps to keep people coming back because they’ll know there may be something new to read.
I didn’t notice the other posts in the right sidebar right away, and would like to see them displayed more prominently. Maybe the other posts could have more space between each one, or some type separator, making each post stand out from the others.
- I’d like to see more calls to action to donate, volunteer or contact Starfish throughout the website.
- Starfish offers many programs, and it would be nice be able to see their programs and services from any page. A possible solution would be to include programs and services in the main navigation, or possibly in a drop down menu that would show all their programs.
- I like the images used on the website which seem to fit Starfish’s organization. The famous quotes displayed on different pages of the site is a nice touch as well.
- Additional future website changes to consider: Many websites are now responsive in that they are easy to read and navigate on smart phones and tablets, limiting the amount of scrolling or zooming needed.
by Norm Euker