Using Website Banners and Resource Pages to Share COVID-19 Information with Clients

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Why Add a Website Banner and Resources Page?

As the coronavirus forces legal aid organizations to adjust some of their intake practices, organizations need to communicate to the public that they are still open for business and available to help. Posting a COVID-19 banner and resources page to their websites is an excellent way to share their hours of operation as well as services that are available during the pandemic.

Banners sit at the top of a website homepage and typically have a background or text color that grabs readers’ attention. Banners also contain a short phrase or statement alerting readers about emergency changes to hours or services. Readers can click on the banner and be directed to a resources page with more COVID-19 information.

Resources pages are typically linked to these banners to ensure readers can easily find them. The resources can be shared in text form on the page, in videos, PDFs, or a combination of all three. When creating a page for COVID-19 information, organizations should consider the staff and funds available to make the page and who will update the information.

To ensure that both website banner and resources page are accessible to as many readers as possible. Legal aid organizations may want to consider:

  • Offering translations into the languages spoken in their local communities
  • Avoiding small text sizes that may challenge some readers
  • Writing in a style that is easy to understand for people of different reading levels
  • Avoiding colors and designs that create problems for assistive technology

Below are two models for COVID-19 banners and resource pages from two LSC’s grantees, including tips for any organization looking to do the same.

Case Study One: A Pop-Up Announcement, Website Banner, and Resource Page

Land of Lincoln Legal Aid developed a COVID-19 resources page in March and promoted it on social media. Some readers reported difficulty finding the page, so staff added a COVID-19 pop-up announcement and a website banner to their homepage.

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The website’s pop-up is the first thing readers see. It alerts potential clients that they can ask for help online or by phone. When readers close the pop-up, they can click on the blue “Learn More” button on the website’s COVID-19 banner.

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Land of Lincoln’s resource page compiles a list of answers to frequently asked questions about how COVID-19 impacts topics like landlord-tenant law.

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Internally, Land of Lincoln’s Director of Litigation and Advocacy works with the organization’s various Task Force Chairs to create or update these answers. The organization’s Manager of Donor Development and Communications is then in charge of posting any updates to the resource page, banner, or pop-up.

Land of Lincoln’s website uses a Google Translator plugin. However, the plugin does not work with the COVID-19 pop-up or the PDF files on the resources page. The website also has a UserWay Accessibility Widget to toggle options like contrast and text size. The widget also does not work with the COVID-19 PDF files but does work with the pop-up on the homepage.

Land of Lincoln, which contracts out their website design, reported it took three hours for their designer to create the pop-up and website banner.

Case Study Two: An Accessible, Integrated Banner and Resources Page

GeorgiaLegalAid.org is a statewide website and self-help resource run by the Georgia Legal Services Program (GLSP) and Atlanta Legal Aid Society (ALAS). ALAS staff who work on statewide website content added a “Coronavirus Information” button to the top of the website in March.

The button was originally part of the navigation bar. However, the staff found that mobile users could not see the navigation bar and missed this link to their resources page about the pandemic. So, the program’s staff also added a COVID-19 banner message. That message sits on the top right of their homepage, next to the logo.

Georgia Legal Aid's website includes a banner section at the top of their website with a link to an FAQ page for coronavirus information

The statewide website’s COVID-19 banner and the navigation bar both link to the same, bilingual resource page. This page features collapsible text sections in Spanish and English. Each section explains what federal and local resources exist for healthcare, stimulus payments, consumer scams, school and court closings, and other topics. The section lists website links, phone numbers, and other self-help resources for readers.

The bottom section embeds short, bilingual YouTube videos produced with Atlanta Legal Aid about filing unemployment benefits and fighting evictions, among other topics

The Georgia Legal Aid FAQ page for coronavirus includes sections for common topics like health information, has bilingual videos at the bottom of the page, and a side bar for navigation

The website had been overhauled recently to meet more accessibility standards, ensuring both the current homepage banner and COVID-19 resource page comply with many of those standards. ALAS staff also worked with a Spanish translator from the Atlanta mayor’s office to create the bilingual website videos.

Thanks to a 2017 TIG grant, the statewide website staff had already organized workflow and identified content experts for the videos by the time COVID-19 hit. ALAS staffers were also able to use their Teleworking Capacity Building Grant to purchase their video creation software, Lumen5, which costs $19 a month for basic projects.

But while the teleworking grant, TIG grant preparation, and Atlanta collaboration helped, staff reported that creating all their COVID-19 resources was still time-consuming. The web content writer assigned to the job worked exclusively on creating the text resources for three weeks between March and April. Each video also required an additional two to three hours of labor.

Lessons Learned

  • Land of Lincoln’s staff report that their resource page took their designer a day to build and cost $250 because originally, each FAQ was a separate web page. The staff has since transitioned to using one page with links to information in PDFs – something they can upload more quickly themselves and which is cheaper to create.
  • Both Land of Lincoln and the staff working on the Georgia Legal Aid website learned it was easier to have one person in charge of publishing and updating COVID-19 web content. They reported that a clear workflow was important for quickly reviewing content with staff attorneys and maintaining a consistent, accessible writing style.
  • Staff working on Georgia’s statewide website previously updated their style guide to require public resources be written for a 5-6th grade reading level. Staff noted having this guidance made it easier to write COVID-19 resources in a consistent, accessible style. 
  • Each of the Georgia COVID-19 resource videos run less than a minute long – a length staff said was necessary to qualify for instant play on Instagram and reach more viewers.

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