Bridges and Barriers
The process of building a website has been a strange one for me.
Who is it for? the people helping me build it asked reasonably. What do you want them to do?
Why are you doing it? friends asked when they saw me scratching my head.
A good question.
Information from other people — other givers, my team, the non-profit teams I’ve been giving to — has been enormously helpful to me. If more information about these gifts can be helpful to anyone, I want to share it.
Designing a website that reflects and fulfills this simple intention has been tricky.
Directing user action, maximizing clicks, keeping users on the site, I don’t want or need to do any of these things. I have nothing to sell.
Highlighting the work of non-profits is important; sharing other information is important as well.
Focusing words and features can enhance understanding; adding other content can help prevent fraud.
The push and pull of sometimes conflicting design imperatives took us through many rounds of revision.
And throughout it all, were the many steps driven by our unwavering commitment to presenting information about the work of non-profits with search terms they can choose and mission statements in words of their own.
In the end the result has been this: a large volume of data carefully loaded and sorted according to the preferences of non-profits, and some words by me about what we do, and why.
Will the website be helpful? Will expressing things in my own way (laboring over every word) lead to any misunderstanding? Will misunderstanding be a barrier between us? Yes. Sometimes humans misunderstand each other.
And yet, over time, each of us can help remove barriers through what we continue to choose to do.
With that in mind, here again are the pledge I made in 2019 and the goals I posted last winter, and below them a link to a website built with care by an incredible extended team, for use by anybody who has ever helped someone by sharing what they have or know.
Posted on The Giving Pledge, May 2019:
Posted on Medium, December 2021:
Posted December 2022: