Barrier Free Living is the leading non-profit organization that helps people with disabilities, who suffer from Domestic Violence in NYC. Project Barrier Free Living (BFL) aims to support BFL to achieve its first fundraising goal in 2020 by content optimization. In this case study, I'll share how I came up with the final content strategy proposal from research, evaluation, to application.

Instructor / supervisor Nim Dvir

Content strategist Kimie Ou Yang

Course INFO 642 - Content strategy

Executive Summary


After research, evaluation, appilication, and deployment phase, I’ve summarize the outcome with concise description. It covers the process / methods I went through with the outcome to provide the overview of this project. 



Problem / Challenges

  • Low discoverbility
  • Unclear navigation and label design
  • Low user engagement across all channels
  • Poor Donation Experience Design
  • No Place for Users to Check Common Questions 


  • SEO is the Key
  • Responsive navigation and labels to make it more intuitive
  • User form is the way to get to know more about the users and increase the engagement rate
  • Social proof provides credibility and could also obtain trust from users 
  • Add FAQ Section

Results / outcomes

  • Four main pages information architecture redesign recommendation
  • Donation page high fidelity design
  • Future steps

Example / Image

Donation page design (High fidelity)


Our vision is a barrier free world. We strive for a world free from abuse and bias, where people with disabilities live in a supportive environment.

- Barrier Free Living 2019

Research Summary


The focus in this phase is to get the overview of non-profit industry and the current state of Barrier Free Living in order to come up with recommendations to fullfill the needs. The goal of this project is pretty straight forward as below.


The project goal is to support the fundraising / donation activities of BFL in 2020 with optimized content strategy.

Getting to know about Barrier Free Living and the target audience

By getting to know more about Barrier Free Living and the target audience, I’ve checked the content distribution accross all channels, came up with persona, broke down the user journey and the flow in order to understand the overall experience as a user. Also, I’ve documented all the content into a Barrier Free Living content inventory with suggested audit and optimization. 


The content inventory and the audit of Barrier Free Living

In the research phase, I walked through the content of Barrier Free Living accross the all channels form official site to social media. This content inventory contains the problems I discovered page by page and marked with priority and actions. The purpose of the content inventory aims to organize the content and be able to modify / update with details in ease. This really helps me to get the overvielw of the content that Barrier Free Liveing has.

Summary of stakeholder interview

  • BFL already has enough in-kind donation, but still no real money donation yet, would like to know what to do from a content strategy perspective to make the fundraising activity happen.

  • Google ads helps more victims to come for help, would like to attract more doners / supporters as well.
  • Want to know what channel should share what content if BFL would like to focus on donation / fundraising. 

Summary of user interview (people who donated before)

  • Users care about the politics in the organization and if they are familiar with the organization.
  • The value of the organization is the key factor to determine if the users would want to donate / support.
  • If the cause is good and relatable, it would increase the intention to donate / support.

Insights and take away


The combination of businees objective, user needs, and current content pain points help me to come out with insights. These insights provide the direction and guidance on the recommendation of the content strategy. 

  • SEO matters, to increase the discoverbility would help the organization to reach more potential doners / volunteers / partners 

  •  The offered programs / services should be eplicit and easy to understand by just look at the program name (labeling). 

  • Donors care a lot about the value that delivered by the organization.
  • Donors care a lot about if the organization is trustworthy, and the transparancy of the donation usage.

  • To increase the social interaction accross social media is the key to bring more engagement, and users would be able to get to know more about the organization.

  • Good storytelling matters when it comes to fundraising.

Evaluation Summary


In the evaluation phase, I’ve put the main competitor Safe Horizon into the SWOT analysis from the content strategy aspect. By reviewing the strength, weakness, opportunity and threat altogether, I came up with the challenges and recommendations of Barrier Free Living as the possible direction to optimize the content for a better user experience from the content prespective. 


Content strategy challenge and recommendation

Challenge 1

Low discoverbility

When users search keyword for domestic violence help in NYC, Safe Horizon has the most visibility of all other alternatives, and Barrier Free Living is not visible with those related keywords, which causes the low discoverbility when it comes to keyword search.


Recommendation 1

SEO is the key

Make sure the related search keywords cover majority of the search use case when users look for help.Suggested keywords should be able to be indexed by search engine. 



Challenge 2

Unclear navigation and label design

Current Barrier Free Living website desktop version uses hamburger menu for main navigation. Hamburger menu make the main navigation options not explict, in this case, users would need to go back and forth to “open” and “close” the menu when switching between main pages. And the labels are not straight forward and understandable enough, which causes usability problems..

Recommendation 2

Responsive navigation and labels to make it more intuitive

Apply responsive design to the main navigation is the better option to accomendate differenct needs accross  different screen sizes. Rename the labels into a more straight forward way would also improve the content accessibility to help users to complete the tasks.


Challenge 3

Low user engagement across all channel

Barrier Free Living does have multiple channels for content updates, but all of them don’t have high user engagement, and there is no content update rules for each channel to follow. 

Recommendation 3

User form is the way to get to know more about the users and increase the engagement rate

User form could help the organization get to know more about their users by asking specific data from users. In this case, content updates could be more precise to different target audience in order to increase the engagement from the users.



Challenge 4

Poor donating experience

Lack of donation related information, and direct users to leave Barrier Free Living official site could cause a major bounce reaction without completing the donation. This experience is really similar to any online scam / fisihing site, which might drastically increase the insecurity when users click donate option from the top navigation.    .

Recommendation 4

Social proof provides credibility and could also obtain trust from users 

Showcasing the well-known organizations / companies could help gain trust from users. By recognizing the supported organizations, users would be able to know if Barrier Free Living is trustworthy enough to determine wheather to donate or not.


Challenge 5

No place for users to check common questions

When it comes with help resources, there would be tons of frequently asked questions that most of people have in mind. There is no such a section across all the channels especially on the official site, the search function can’t really help in this case either.


Recommendation 5

Have the FAQ section  

To gather all the frequently asked questions into a specific section is the easiest way to handle this issue. Also, by having this section, Barrier Free Living could also save some resources by not answering the same questions separately the whole time, which it’s super benifitial from users and BFL’s ends.





We’ve got the insights from reaesrch, the chanllenges and recommendations from evaluation. Now it’s time to apply designs to support the goal- a better design to support fundraising / donation activities of Barrier Free Living. In this section,  I would cover the new information architecture, the suggested content optimization for specific pages, the content style guide with editorial calendar to support Barrier Free Living to achieve the goal.

Information architecture and interaction design

One of the strong recommendations on the site is to reorganiza the site structure from a gigantic shollow / wide tree map, into a simpler version withour deleting existing content. The major difference here is to move individual blog post from main structure level to the sub level from the SEO indexing perspective. 

Current site map


Suggested site map


Interface design

Annotated wireframes

The main focus of this project is to support fundraising / donation activities for th upcoming year. Thus, the content + information architecture + user interface design would focus on four pages : Home page, Get involved page, donation and fundraising pages. Click images to see the full page designs.


Content Style Guide

Overview Message

Voice & Tone

BFL is the leading organization of Domestic Violence solution and prevention, specialized in accessibility resource support. 


Professional & Helpful


Respectful & Empowering


Clear & Accessible

Content Guide

1. Inspirational Storytelling

Feature blog or regular blog/ Hero image or video / Social Media Sharing

It’s really important to make sure thet content is relatable and inspiring. An inspiring story could be the bridge to connect the organization and the audience. When the audience is connected with the organization, it would increase the support rate.


2. Educational Resources

Knowledge about Domdstic Violence / Practical Workshop information / FAQ

Educate the audience to gain the awareness in related topic with lecture, workshop,  and other format of content. The educational resources should be as part of the important content to showcase the advocacy of the organization.


3. Supporter Recognition

Showcase the appreciation from people who receive the help

Supporter reconition not only shows the appreciation from the organizations that received the support, but also provide a social proof as a “guide” for those who might share the same values with the organization to make the decision to take actions.


4. Communicating Impact

Show the needs with statistic / show the good result with statistic

Statistic is a very powerful way to demonstrate the scale of needs and how critical the issue needs to be solved by taking actual actions. Also, to show the good results that solved by donation indicate how impactful a small gesture could be.


5. Driving Action 

Hero image or sections with compelling header 

A compelling hero section with an inspiring headline could be the key factor to drive the action. The hero section is the best place to showcase how impactful the target audience are and make them feel empowered in order to persuade people to take actions. 


6. Transparency and Accountability  

Financial report and what amount of money really helps in different degree / team and the policy

Transparency shows a clear plan to the target audience, it would help thtarget audience know the vision and plan of the organization they support. With accountability, it would help the organization to gain trust from the audience.


Editorial Calendar


Editorial calendar aims to plan when to execute the content update with specific platform as guidnace.


Design with sample content

Since the major goal of this project is to support monry donation and fundraising for the upcoming year, I’d like to focus on the donation page as the design focus to demonstrate / deploy the recommended content strategy I’ve developed.  


Current donation page has some critical issues that would potentially impact the donors to donate:

1. No context / information about the donation

Lack of information means lack of transparency, donors would have concerns about where the money goes and the usage, also,  lack of info would cause trust issue that to stop the donors to donate.

2. It’s an external page

Money is an super sensitive topic for UX, especially if you ask donros to provide their credit card information, it raises the risk of being scammed, and an external page oftentimes would means a fishing site in web scam case.

The new design aims to solve these critical issues by:

1. Add context and information about the organization and the donation 

The information not only about the vision of the of the org, but also the planned usage for the donation. Also the social proof would helpthe org to increase the credability in order to gain trust from donors.

2. Make the page as an internal page

Be sure to make the page as an internal url to make the UX consistent, also, an internal page would reduce the feeling of insecure compare with an external one.

Design detail


Driving Action 

A compelling headline to showcase how impactful thw donation would be even just a penny. This would drive more donation especially small money.


Transparency and Accountability  

How an organization plan and distribute the donation would provide the transparency of the donation usage. By sharing how the org would spend the money, donors would have a sense of what they could actually help in different level. Also, providing flexiablilty on how much donors could donate would also help to increase the small money donation under $10.


Supporter Recognition

Social proof is one of the key factors to persuade a successful donation based on the users interview we’ve done. Social proof not only showcasing the credability of the sire, but also a way to reflect the vision of the org subtly. Vision is also one of the key factors for donation. 


Inspirational Storytelling

Showing how impactful the donation could help is also really important to drive the action. Donors would be driven the action by connecting themselve with the story. Life transformation is always inspiring and powerful to drive actions. 

Content strategy decisions and key takeaways 

The four major strategy decisions / recommendations that had been applied into the donation page design as an example:

  • Make sure the goal of the content is to drive action, in this case, would be to drive the doner / supporter to donate or support.
  • Supporter recognition is not just about to show the appreciation to the doners / supporters, it’s also a way to gain the trust from target audience as a social proof element.
  • Transparency and accountability also help the doners / supporters to determine whether to take action and make impact or not.
  • Speaking of a type of content to drive action, the best direction is to share the inspiring stories, especially about life transformation is the most powerful one.

Future steps

The future steps would focus on real content deployment page by page  across all channels. To be more precise of the execution plan, there are a few directions could pay attention on:

  • Make sure a content is reusable for multiple channel when creating it. For example, share a 10 sec version of BFL minute on instagram / Twitter, grab a screenshot from the video as story cover image.

  • Make sure to follow the conventional way of spreading information across different channel. For example, follow the hashtag usage on Twitter / Instagram.
  • Use existing channels to establish the fundrising activity instead of using thrid party solution. For example, using Facebook / Instagram to do fundraising. 

Link to presentation