Aida Nasirah Abdullah, Hanipah Husin, Hazmilah Hasan, Kalthom Husain, Aziz Yahya


This research is the first attempt to cover best practices for environmental
websites in Malaysia. We chose five environmental NGOs in Malaysia
(ENGOMs) for a case study, and evaluated website practices they used to
communicate their missions and goals. A quantitative data was collected
and analysed via content analysis of the five ENGOM websites. The content
analysis of the websites sought to determine, identify and assess the best
practices of the environmental websites features. The research questions
focused on the use of online communication (OC) by ENGOMs in order to
advocate specific environmental issues and potentially mobilise government
or public action on these issues. How do the ENGOMs effectively use
the website to communicate their organisations’ missions and goals? We
conducted an extensive literature review to identify features of websites
such as the usefulness of information, interactivity, navigability, and
design that have been evaluated as important by previous researchers.
Then we used these features as a basis for assessing the effectiveness of the
practices of environmental websites in Malaysia. The web content analysis
demonstrates that all the five ENGOMs had relatively small websites,
providing useful information such as mission, goals, and organisation
background. Most of the global issues advocated by them were meant to
mobilise support and action. This is considered a rather ineffective use of
OC. Interactivity features available across their websites were categorised at
a ‘low’ level of utilisation. The ENGOMs did not fully utilise them for the
purpose of conducting online campaigns and encouraging dialogue. The
navigability of the five ENGOMs’ websites was categorised at a ‘good’ level,
given that the majority of them provided good and easy navigation. The
majority of the websites also met the ‘well designed’ requirements. Overall,
the five ENGOMs have delivered most of the best practise features expected
in effective environmental websites; Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) was
ranked as the best website, while Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) is at the
opposite end of the spectrum. ENGOMs’ employees expressed views about
enhancing their websites to be more interactive in the future. Financial
constraints seemed to be the biggest problem faced by all ENGOMs in their
endeavour to develop their websites. However, a key finding is that the
websites with more resources did not use them as effectively as websites with
fewer resources. Thus, one or two conscientious and well trained employees
could be successful with limited resources.

Keywords: online communication, interactivity, navigation, web design,
online campaigns.

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