Non-techies can diagnose web issues

June 16, 2014       The NonProfit Times      

The word “triage” might remind you of old “E/R” reruns or some other television medical drama. But triage – determining priority based on one’s condition – can also be applied to other situations, even nonprofit websites.

Heidi Blobaum, digital product officer for The International Rescue Committee (IRC) in New York City offered a step-by-step triage, of sorts, as part of a panel duirng this year’s Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC) called “Welcome to the Website Emergency Room: Find and Pinpoint Problems When Everything Falls Apart.”

Frantic hair-on-fire emails from the development director on Dec. 31 about the donation web page malfunctioning might, in fact, be catastrophic. Or, it could just be that her web browser doesn’t work well with your site. Blobaum offered some reminders about how to avoid future heart palpitations:

  • Train staff to collect key information, such as user information, error message, URL address, steps they took before experiencing the problem, and the device and operating systems they’re working on;
  • Set up email/mobile notifications to monitor performance, such as spikes or dips in website traffic on Google Analytics, site speed and performance dashboard on your hosting service, and monitor your donation dashboard;
  • Be more aware of website code changes and their risks and set up new communication around code releases; and,
  • Find user experience issues before users make them by testing prototypes with tools like Invision App or UserTesting.com for recruiting user feedback.