Tree Pittsburgh has the noble mission of protecting and restoring Pittsburgh’s urban forest. Not only do they get down in the dirt and plant more trees, but they also work behind the scenes, promoting care, education, and advocacy. To spread the good word without harming any trees, Tree Pittsburgh needs a spot-on website that expresses their wonderful cause.
When you first arrive on their desktop website, you see a great header bursting with info. Prioritized, above the main navigation bar, are three quick links to their most important–and more commonly needed–information: their mission, how to get involved, and how to donate. Below that is the more detailed main nav bar which offers News, Events, Resources, About Us, History, and Contact Us. To the right of that is a search bar and social media links. This shows they know how to prioritize. They’ve given you the most helpful and important elements right away.
Next up is an image/link slideshow. While the slideshow is just slow enough to read and transitions smoothly, the images themselves are not linked (there is a small text link in the bottom lefthand corner) and there are no arrow buttons on the side to toggle through the images so if you wanted to re-read a slide, you would have to wait for it to come around again.
The first content below the fold is a section dedicated to describing the organization. This is a great use of space. Now that the user has been introduced to the site, they should be introduced to the organization itself.
Next, the page breaks into three columns in two sections, showing users what Tree Pittsburgh is doing to make a difference, and how the users themselves can also make an impact.
After that the site breaks into two columns where you can find news and events. Unfortunately, when you select to view all upcoming events, the event page is just a list. There are no graphics or a calendar, etc.
You will find though that if you are on any page other than the homepage, there will be a box to the right offering fun “did you know” facts about trees. This is a great, helpful tool for those who know very little about the importance of trees and are already on the site looking for more information.
Finally, in the footer, they have a section suggesting users sign up for their mailing list. The text and images are friendly and inviting and makes it actually sound fun to sign up for a mailing list!
While the desktop site has few flaws, the mobile site–or lack thereof–could use a little love. Right now, there is no mobile site–it’s just the desktop site displayed on a mobile device. And since the desktop site is already fairly unresponsive, the mobile site is simply compacted so the text is too small to read and some overlaps.
By making the desktop site more responsive and/or creating a true mobile site, the mobile version of the site could be much more accessible and attractive!
The site had 13 HTML errors and 4 CSS errors, which, overall, isn’t terrible. However, it’s always worth giving a little maintenance. It also had a few errors on the WAVE test for accessibility including linked images missing alternative text and redundant links. It’s important for those using screen readers to have clear alt text so they can understand the image that they can’t see.
The biggest thing that Tree Pittsburgh could benefit from is optimizing and compressing their content so the site is lighter and runs faster. It also really needs an official mobile site to truly get across their message.
Definitely stop by Tree Pittsburgh’s website and check out their links for how you can get involved in the community and help make a change. Whether it’s taking a class, volunteering, or just reading up to find out how to take care of your own trees, there’s lots of wonderful information just waiting for you on their site!