Five union websites worth getting inspired by in 2020

union websites responsive mobile

There’s always a union somewhere that’s redeveloping its website, or creating a campaign-specific website, and it’s been a long time since I last pulled together a list of well-designed union sites.

It’s fair to say that since 2013, union design standards have significantly improved, driven largely by Vic Trades Hall and the ACTU — both of whom employed excellent, professional graphic designers. This has especially played out on social media (Facebook especially – currently the most important battleground).

The most important feature for any union website in 2020 is not design (although great design is important). It’s speed and mobile accessibility.

Simply put, your website must load within just a few seconds, and be “responsive” (that is, automatically re-size based on the size of the screen/device viewing the site).

Union websites that are slow, or are not responsive, are not only being penalised in Google search results, but increasingly will see visitors to the site leave before the site is finished loading.

Even back in 2013, having a responsive website was important – in 2020, it is absolutely essential. More than half of your website visitors are likely searching for you and clicking onto your site from their mobile. An increasing number of people want to join via their mobile (some unions report as high as 80% of members join online) – or access information about your union, such as your member-service number.

That’s why this list for 2020 will only include mobile sites.

United Workers Union website

United Workers Union

The United Workers Union is a new union formed by the amalgamation of United Voice and the National Union of Workers.

Things I like:

  • Clear call to action – the United Workers Union is strongly emphasising their diverse membership. And their video (created at for the launch of their new
  • Fast loading – although the website is relatively large, it loads in fewer than 3 seconds.
  • Simple – perhaps because of the newness of the site, the UWU site is not crowded with content. Instead, everything that is on the homepage is purposeful.

AFL-CIO website

AFL-CIO

The AFL-CIO is the peak council for unions in the USA (the equivalent to the ACTU). As a peak body, its homepage must present a greater diversity of issues, campaigns and information.

Things I like:

  • Responsive – there’s a lot of content on the AFL-CIO site, so it’s important that it all be readable on a mobile or tablet.
  • Fast loading – for a large site, it loads very quickly, due to best-in-class Cloudflare hosting and a CDN.
  • Action oriented – despite having loads of information, the site is also action-oriented, with most links out of the home-page pointing to a campaign or petition.

Prospect Union UK website

Prospect

The Prospect Union in the UK recently underwent a re-brand. Their new website is the result. Around 80 percent of Prospect’s members now join online,

Things I like:

  • Member oriented – the Prospect site effectively balances the dual needs of recruiting new members and providing information to existing members.
  • Fast loading – this site is seriously fast. quickly, due to best-in-class Cloudfront (Amazon Web Services) hosting and a CDN. AWS is one of the fastest, most reliable web servers available, not withstanding the terribleness of Amazon itself.
  • Dedicated join page – with almost all new members joining online, Prospect has made the excellent decision to have a dedicated landing page for new membership joins (read more about landing pages here)

TUC UK website

TUC

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) is the peak union council in the UK. Like the AFL-CIO, the TUC has to provide a lot of information about unions, campaigns, issues and more.

Things I like:

  • Clear messaging – because it is the peak council, the TUC needs to immediately and effectively explain what unions and what we do. I think they’ve succeeded.
  • Fast loading – this website loads in under 3 seconds, but could probably increase the speed by using a CDN and gzip caching.
  • Content strategy – I’m a big proponent of union blogs, which are an important component of any digital strategy. The TUC has a range of blogs and other content that will assist in improving its SEO performance and consequently the number of visitors the site receives.

Young Workers Centre website

Young Workers Centre (CBR)

This is a bit cheeky – the Canberra Young Workers Centre is the centre that I established in UnionsACT. And I also created the website.

Things I like:

  • Calls to action – The YWC site is designed to do two things: encourage young workers to join their union, and provide free, basic workplace information.
  • Fast loading – this website loads in under 2 seconds, but I think I could make it faster by upgrading the hosting and doing a few more optimisations.
  • Tech stack – Behind the scenes, there’s a lot of cool tech involved in this site, including an AI-powered answer “bot”. I definitely think more unions could use this affordable, but powerful, software.

Want to see the page-speed test for this blog? Click here.

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