Iconography for Categorizing Content
I see a new trend toward using iconography for categorizing content in nonprofit websites. By “using iconography” I mean that the organization establishes a recognizable, visual symbol to correspond with an area of their focus. This symbol is repeated through the website, giving a visual cue about which focus areas are relevant to whatever the visitor is viewing.
When an organization has multiple areas of focus, this can be especially helpful. Especially now that everything on the Web is becoming more graphical and visual, and that people are increasingly impatient, consuming web pages through glancing and skimming rather than pouring over every word.
Health & Environmental Funders Network’s new website is a great example of this. On the homepage, large grayscale versions of the 4 icons are shown to the visitor.
Clicking one of them leads to a corresponding landing page, showing you the most recent items related to that focus area.
When reading the HEFN blog, each post shows a small version of the related icons in the sidebar. The same goes for resources, funder stories, and other types of content on the website that might be categorized by focus area.
The Ecology Center is another good example. The homepage shows the major areas, with shape icons and color coding.
These are carried throughout the site. For example, on the list below, you can see at a glance that the first is a resource related to water and shelter; the second is a video related to water.
A third example, with a slightly different twist, is ENVISION. ENVISION uses the icons to indicate type of content, rather than topic area. In the resource library, users can see at-a-glance what type of resource each item is (report, video, etc.).
What are your favorite examples of nonprofits using iconography to categorize their website content?