Communities Foundation of Texas wanted to provide an exceptional online user experience for current and prospective donors while furthering their reputation as a hub for philanthropy.

Communities Foundation of Texas is a Dallas-based foundation that has grown to be one of the largest community foundations in the nation. Part of their mission is to connect individuals’ charitable goals with real community needs. They approached Blackbaud to redesign their website to reflect their new brand and modernize their overall online presence. Communities Foundation of Texas also wanted an innovative, intuitive user experience that was both engaging and easy to navigate. This posed a challenge as they serve a diverse audience of donors who offer different levels of funding as well as applicants seeking support for an array of personal and nonprofit causes.

A better approach to navigation was needed

As their site grew, so did the need for a better approach to content structure and navigation hierarchy. Blackbaud Interactive conducted extensive user research that included an open card sort to learn how users would intuitively group the content contained within the site. Different audience segments had distinct needs, and our analysis uncovered navigational preferences from a variety of users.

A task analysis was also performed to understand site users’ primary goals and the steps they needed to complete in order achieve their goals. The result was a highly detailed site map to guide users through navigational steps according to their individual task priorities or ‘goal funnels’. Simplified user pathways allowed for intuitive navigation and easy access to relevant content.


More than 25 of CFT’s constituents participated in a card sorting focus group. This informed the site map structure.


We focused on converting failure to success

Usability testing was first conducted on Communities Foundation of Texas’s existing website to uncover the percentage of tasks that users were able to complete correctly. This testing yielded a 95% fail rate, meaning that most visitors were unable to correctly navigate the existing site and accomplish their desired goal.

A conversion path analysis was performed to uncover patterns in site visitor behavior so that we could better understand which page features engaged visitors enough to perform a tangible action. Based on our findings we implemented changes such as featuring a call-to-action on each page urging site visitors to contact Communities Foundation of Texas. We paired each call-to-action with a link providing contact information for appropriate staff members.

We ran a separate series of remote usability tests to validate our new design, and found that it significantly improved user success in completion of tasks.


The home page wireframe shows how navigation hierarchy and primary content will be structured.

Compelling visuals invite exploration and engagement

We needed a visual design that would help potential donors understand charitable funds, see the community impact of philanthropy, and to be inspired to open a charitable fund. Our design team responded by placing compelling photographs that show the impact of donations and charitable funds front and center on Communities Foundation of Texas’s home page.

Photos, stories, info-graphics and testimonials are prominently displayed throughout the site and encourage discovery and user engagement. Opportunities to take actions are provided on each page. Prominently placed vertical tabs pose questions such as ‘Why create a fund?’ to draw users into exploring further.

While calls-to-action, vertical drawers and links to related content are incorporated throughout the site, they do not overwhelm users or clutter the pages.


Personas were created for each of the five major audience segments. These were referenced throughout the design process to insure we were meeting the needs for each segment.

Testing shows the new site to be intuitive

The result is a visually exciting website with streamlined, goal-driven navigation. A navigation flow test of the primary conversion path was conducted on the original website and then on the new design. The results showed a 94% success rate for visitors navigating the new website compared to 40% success rate on the old website. The time it took to navigate the primary conversion path dropped from 18 seconds to 6 seconds.

Usability tests showed
improvement of the primary conversion path.

Organization Type



Content Strategy
Information Architecture
Mobile Design
Search Engine Optimization
User Research
Usability Testing
User Experience Design
Visual Design/Redesign