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The Birth Site

The Birth Site

This site is graded C by One-Click Charity Check
This one-click charity is approved and has a grade of C.

Date of Review: July 26, 2001

Pertinent data for this site:

  • Owned by: not stated
  • Owner profit type: non-profit (but not registered for tax exemption)
  • URL:
  • Donations go to:
  • Percentage of revenue that goes to the beneficiary: 99%
  • Method of payment (i.e. whether sponsors send money direct to beneficiary or to the site): not stated
  • Geographic limitations: US
  • Language(s): English
  • Calendar day for this site starts at: not stated

Jump to the summary of what this site should do to improve

Criteria that have been met will have a checkmark graphic, and criteria that have not been met will have an X-mark graphic, as shown below. Further details will be listed below each criteria specifying what elements resulted in the checkmark or X-mark.

[Checkmark] [X-mark]

How this site scored on the criteria (version 1.21):

Critical Criteria

  1. [Checkmark] I have confirmed that the beneficiaries are getting the money owed them as follows:
    • Mary Cunningham Agee, Executive Director for TNN, confirmed via email that her organization is indeed receiving funds from The Birth Site.
  2. [Checkmark] Contact data for the one-click company/individual is displayed on the site as follows:
    • Email or Form Mail (required) - shown on the contact page
    • Phone number (strongly recommended) - not given
    • Postal address (strongly recommended) - shown on the contact page
  3. [Checkmark] There is a clear description of who gets the money, as follows:
    • Several pages, including the main page, state clearly that the site is raising money for TNN. There are links, information, and contact information pertaining to TNN, which is very good.
  4. [Checkmark] There is clear indication that the site is still operating (as of the date of this review) as follows:
    • The donation totals are current until a few days before the review. It's possible that this page is run by a server-side script, but the fact that it is not being updated daily makes me suspect it's more likely being done manually. It would be nice to see other indications that the site is still operating, such as "last updated" dates on pages, or an updated copyright notice on the bottom of the pages (it currently says 2000).
  5. [Checkmark] The site does not require users to visit another site, nor perform any activity other than clicking on a donate button/graphic for a donation to count.
  6. [Checkmark] The site counts donations regardless of user input or registration.

Important Criteria

  1. [Checkmark] There is no apparent conflict of interest.
  2. [X-mark] All possible ulterior motives (such as religious affiliation, being part of another organization, being part of a marketing campaign from some corporate entity, etc.) are listed as follows:
    • While it is very good that the site has declared that it is non-partisan and has no official standing for or against abortion, the absence of owner information makes it difficult for users to really know who's behind the site. This may be a generous individual, or it may be part of some other organization or company.
  3. [Checkmark] The site has up-to-date, accurate information throughout, as follows:
    • There isn't much information to judge, but what is there seems reasonably accurate and timely. However, the copyright notice still says 2000, instead of 2000 and 2001. Also, there are links to The Hunger Site, which has been closed down, but I'm not counting that against The Birth Site since this is very recent news. If the copyright hasn't been updated by the next review, and/or there are still links to non-existent charities, I may consider downgrading this point.
  4. [Checkmark] The site has a good frequently asked questions (FAQ) area.
    • The FAQ is pretty good overall, but a few other questions could stand to be answered there, such as more detail on the nature of the site's owners and when the calendar day begins.
  5. [Checkmark] The money is not just being collected for the future; it is in use now.
  6. [Checkmark] The site specifies how much each sponsor pays per click as follows:
    • The FAQ and the sponsorship page both state that each sponsor pays 0.5 cents per click. It would be a good idea if this information was also provided on the Thank You page, as that would let users know immediately how much their click was worth, and could serve to encourage users to come back and click another day.
    • Type of currency is not stated. It is presumably US dollars, and while many users will assume this, it should be stated for clarification for foreign visitors.
  7. [Checkmark] There is a clear privacy policy.
  8. [Checkmark] Users can access information about the site, such as the FAQ, Privacy Policy, etc. before clicking to donate. Sites that require the user to donate before providing links to information are asking the user to donate blindly, and that is unfair.

Useful Criteria

  1. [X-mark] The site is accessible to the disabled or to slow computers as follows:
    • Bobby test results (for the main page only):

      This page does not meet the requirements for Bobby Approved status. Below is a list of 1 Priority 1 accessibility errors found:

      • Provide alternative text for all images. (5 instances) Line 42, Line 116, Line 135, Line 152, Line 170

      User checks are triggered by something specific on the page; however, you need to determine whether they apply. Bobby Approval requires that none of them apply to your page. Please review these 6 item(s):

      • If you use color to convey information, make sure the information is also represented another way.
      • If this is a data table (not used for layout only), identify headers for the table rows and columns. (7 instances) Line 37, Line 60, Line 118, Line 175, Line 168, Line 215, Line 57
      • If an image conveys important information beyond what is in its alternative text, provide an extended description. (9 instances) Line 42, Line 46, Line 62, Line 110, Line 116, Line 135, Line 152, Line 156, Line 170
      • If style sheets are ignored or unsupported, are pages still readable and usable?
      • If a table has two or more rows or columns that serve as headers, use structural markup to identify their hierarchy and relationship. (9 instances) Line 40, Line 37, Line 60, Line 118, Line 113, Line 175, Line 168, Line 215, Line 57
      • Provide alternative content for each SCRIPT that conveys important information or functionality.
      There are two main barriers to accessibility on The Birth Site: the lack of ALTs on some graphics, and the user of java popups for extra information. The java popups are not readable in Lynx, meaning they're probably not readable by many screen readers either. The lack of ALTs is inexcusable, as it takes only seconds to type in an ALT for each graphic.
    • Standard elements such as ALT tags are not always present
    • Site looks reasonable in Lynx, but some information is inaccessible because it is contained in unsupported java popup windows
  2. [Checkmark] This site has good navigability as follows:
    • navigation information on every page except the Thank You page, which is acceptable, if not preferable
    • navigational graphics and image maps have ALTs or other workarounds
    • URLs are short and logical
    • most navigation does not require javascript, frames, etc. without an alternative, but some extra information is contained in java popup windows that are inaccessible to some users
    • While the links work, they don't always go where the user will assume they're going. The How To Do More page has several links that, instead of going to the logical page associated with the information (such as the sponsorship page when seeking sponsorship information), result only in a popup window that contains a blurb about the point clicked. Even these popups do not contain a link to the logical place to find more information than contained in the blurb. This is inefficient, inaccessible, and illogical. I'm still giving navigation credit to the site because most navigation is sensible, but if these popups haven't been improved/removed by the next review, I may consider downgrading this point.
  3. [X-mark] The site is aesthetically pleasing and uncomplicated, as follows:
    • While the colour scheme is good, and there are few animated graphics, the abundance of javatoy popups is a problem. Since I didn't take the point off for this in the criterion above, I'm taking it off here. There is simply no need for these java windows; the information contained within them could easily be provided in a more accessible, more logical manner within the text of the pages themselves.
  4. [X-mark] The site does not promote, inadvertently or otherwise, poor behaviour such as spam.
    • Although the site does have an anti-spam policy in the FAQ and in a popup window on the How To Do More page, this policy is not presented where it is most needed: on the Tell A Friend page. There isn't even a link from the Tell A Friend page directly to the anti-spam information. The site will not get credit for its efforts against spam until it puts the policy alongside the spammable feature.
  5. [Checkmark] Cookies are not required for donations to count.
    • The site asks to set a cookie on almost every page, but denying the cookies during the Lynx test didn't seem to make a difference in navigating and donating. I can't tell for sure if the donation counted, however, because the donation totals aren't automatically updated (which is actually a good thing in terms of demonstrating site operation) and there is no real indication on the Thank You page that the donation has counted. I'll give the site the benefit of the doubt on this, but they really should state whether or not cookies are required.
  6. [X-mark] If the money collected is only going to one country or smaller geographical division, this is noted as follows:
    • The site is US-based, as is the beneficiary. However, both The Birth Site and TNN's site say TNN works in "all 50 states and 25 nations" without mentioning what those other nations are. I could find no indication of what other nations are served, nor how much service is provided. Without clarification, the assertion of service in "25 nations" not enough to indicate that the money is going outside of the US, and the site hasn't stated what proportion is staying in the US.
  7. [X-mark] There is detailed, accurate information about why the money is needed, and statistics are used in a responsible, contextual manner.
    • There is very little information given about the issues at hand. The How We Help page and the About Us page each give a tiny tidbit of information, but without detail, citation, or emphasis on why the need is so great. The statistics on the main page have no citation or date, rendering them no better than rumour. Statistics should not be used without information on who compiled them, how, and when.
  8. [Checkmark] Donation totals are posted.
    • The donation totals aren't updated daily, which is fine, but the site should specify how often updates are posted so users don't wonder why the list is a few days out of date.

Considerations outside of criteria

Usually I try to tailor the application of the criteria according to whether the site is run by a large organization or a generous individual. Because I couldn't tell who is running The Birth Site, I tried to adopt a middle ground; where one criterion was hard to decide, I may have conceded the point, but then not conceded the next difficult decision. And there were a number of difficult decisions, because sometimes the points of a criterion would only be half-satisfied, or there would be some other issue that negated another element.

Overall, The Birth Site looks good, provides an acceptable minimum of information, and has the required elements of a passable one-click site. Care has obviously gone into the design and setup, which makes it unfortunate that missing ALT tags and the presence of java popup windows hinder accessibility for some users.

The site would be well-served by making a better case for why expectant mothers need assistance, and specifying what kind of mothers get help from the beneficiary. TNN does not provide services to all pregnant women; just those who need help with an unexpected pregnancy. It is not a birth centre or women's clinic. It fills a specific niche, and The Birth Site should make this clear. The Birth Site should provide more details on the need for a support network for mothers with unexpected pregnancies who do not wish to abort for whatever reason. Statistics should be cited with their source and date, so users can decide for themselves whether or not they should trust the statistics. The Thank You page and other pages could stand to include information as to how the clicks add up to actually benefit someone, i.e. giving the costs of some of TNN's services and showing how many clicks would be needed to provide one instance of that service.

Providing this information would help encourage users to come back and keep clicking daily, because it gives them a sense that they are actually helping, instead of just putting drops into a bottomless bucket.

Summary of what this site should do to improve

The owner should be named, or at the very least, identified as a private citizen if that's the case. If the site is owned by an organization, this should be mentioned.

The site should clarify whether sponsors send cheques directly to the beneficiary, or whether the site collects and redistributes the money.

Clarification should be made regarding the "25 nations" served by the beneficiary. Is the money being raised by The Birth Site really being used globally, or pretty much entirely in the US? If it is going to many countries, which countries?

The site should state when its calendar day begins, in terms of when the server is reset to allow the next day's donations.

Unless the site is owned by a private citizen, the administrator should consider putting up a phone number on the contact page.

If donation totals aren't updated daily, the page should state how often they are updated. Also, it would be a good idea to otherwise indicate that the site is still operational, such as providing "last updated" dates on pages, and correcting the copyright information to include the current year.

Links to The Hunger Site should be removed, since that site has been closed down.

The type of currency being collected should be specified, instead of expecting users to assume it's US dollars.

ALT tags should be added to all graphics.

The java popup windows are inefficient, illogical, and inaccessible to some users. They should be fixed, or better yet, replaced with text in the main pages. If they must be present, they should not take the place of links to more comprehensive information, or at the very least they should include the necessary link.

The anti-spam policy is good, but it isn't where it is most needed: on the Tell A Friend page. At the very least, there should be a link to it from that page.

The site should specify whether or not cookies are required for the donation to count.

More information as to why the money is needed, as well as more responsible statistic usage, would improve the site and help encourage users to return.

Review History:

  • Original Review
    • Date: July 26, 2001
    • Grade: C
    • Problems:
      • Owner should be identified
      • Should clarify method of payment
      • Can't be sure of service outside of the US with unnamed "25 nations"
      • No statement of when calendar day begins
      • No phone number
      • No statement of how often donation totals are updated
      • Copyright date is last year
      • No other indication site is still current
      • Links to The Hunger Site should be removed
      • Type of currency not specified
      • ALTs missing on some graphics
      • Java popup windows are inefficient, illogical, and inaccessible
      • Anti-spam policy doesn't accompany Tell-a-Friend feature
      • Should specify whether cookies are required to donate
      • More information about why money is needed would be good
      • Statistics should have full citation and date

This page was last updated on July 26, 2001.

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