Growth within an organization comes in many ways and brings with it a variety of benefits and challenges. As offerings expand, they need to be presented to the customer or member in a way that is accessible and easy to use, such as on a website. When it gets to the point where an organization is managing separate websites for various reasons, the task becomes larger and turns to ensuring those sites have a complementary functionality and a cohesive look and feel with the main site.
New Target collaborated with the American Retirement Association (ARA) www.usaretirement.org which, over the course of its 50 years, had grown to represent five additional associations. Each of the associations has its own website, and the time had come to revisit the design, CMS, and user experience of three of them, including,
– American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA) – https://asppa-net.org
– National Tax-deferred Savings Association (NTSA) – https://www.ntsa-net.org/
– National Association of Plan Advisors (NAPA) – Currently in development
Seeing that the websites had been developed in WordPress and DNN, New Target moved them to the more powerful Drupal. Drupal gives the organization a more stable, secure, and robust CMS. Within Drupal, New Target used the access control module so that users can control viewable content for members and non-members, Apache Solr for expanded search, and Workbench for content editing workflow.
Understanding that the consistent use of branded graphics and messaging is important across each website, ARA was deliberate in their use of a news grid on the homepage across each of the websites. Each website also features a similar layout with blocks of content that gives users a variety of choices in accessing information specific to their interest.
There are a few ways that the websites were integrated for a better user experience, the first being that visitors can now toggle between the websites with a tab feature at the top of the page. The second is substantial integration with ARA’s Personify-based association management system. Additionally, articles on the ASPPA and NTSA websites are pulled from the main ARA website which enables users to see related articles from the other websites and to quickly find them. The revamped sitemap makes these new features, and the sites in general, easy to navigate.
A focus on membership features includes membership blocks on the homepage so it’s easier to learn about joining the association. The member directory was also improved so that users can expand their search by name, company, state, credentials, and job function.
Through the redesign, the sister sites within ARA have kept their identity, but also have design and functionality features in common. This makes for a richer user experience where visitors can easily move both vertically within the sites and horizontally across them.
Together, New Target and ARA were able to greatly improve ARA’s websites to the benefit of its 20,000+ members.