ACUI Improves Member Experience with New Website
When ACUI launched its new brand on March 14, it also released a completely redesigned website. Both the 2012 Technology Survey and 2015 Needs Assessment, as well as anecdotal member feedback, indicated that ACUI needed to invest in upgrades to its online tools.
Although ACUI has made advancements to its online technologies to benefit members—creating online forums for communities of practice, launching an app that provides access to the membership and event guides, and developing an online library—members still desired faster, more intuitive, and more thoroughly developed solutions. Two other key issues were that the former website was not mobile friendly and its search functionality was limited.
In 2016, ACUI had the opportunity to invest in improving its online experience. The first step was to understand how the website was being used. A review of past surveys and analytics revealed what drove members to the website. Reasons included to network with colleagues, especially through communities of practice; to find information related to events; and to read resources, such as The Bulletin. This allowed ACUI to determine that the website should deliver timely, instructive content that educates and engages members.
ACUI had to find technologies that could help achieve this goal. A dedicated community platform was developed and integrated into the website. New community-based features include a landing page that brings together recent posts from multiple communities, the opportunity to control notifications on an individual community basis, and the ability to reply to a forum post directly from the notification email, without logging into the site. Additionally, member profiles are now easier to update, and the member directory search is more intuitive.
As the community platform came together, it was time to focus on other website content—how should it be organized, what should migrate from the former website, and how educational content could be made more relevant and easier to access. To provide expertise, ACUI partnered with website development firm Foundation 648.
ACUI reviewed past surveys and talked with members to assess what members needed most from the site and what the worst pain points of the previous site were. Combining this knowledge with the content strategy, ACUI and Foundation 648 developed a site that is mobile and user friendly. During user testing, the most common descriptor for the site was "clean," indicating a clutter-free quality that members appreciated. Features of the new site include:
Faster loading time
More readable and larger font
Robust search functionality
Ability to easily share content
Improved online Bulletin experience
While ACUI is proud of the new website that was launched on March 14, additional improvements are on the docket for later this year.
Questions about the website or the development process may be sent to Director of Content Curation Elizabeth Beltramini at firstname.lastname@example.org.