New SIIA Website Improves Member Satisfaction
As the principal trade association for the software and digital content industry, the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) offers membership to firms whose primary business is the creation of software, information or other publishing, including distributors. As a technology-focused association, SIIA recognized the importance of its website in providing a positive user experience (UX) for members and potential members. And, with a mission to inform the industry and serve as a resource on trends, technologies, policies and related issues that affect member firms, SIIA relied on its website to carry out this goal.
When it came time for the association to rebrand and redesign its site, SIIA identified several opportunities to improve its online presence, streamline internal content management efforts and simplify user interactions. First, SIIA sought to replace its existing content management system (CMS) with a more flexible, enterprise-level CMS. The open-source CMS SIIA employed was difficult to keep up to date because major modifications prevented upgrading without significant re-work. It was also challenging to update and curate content, as the CMS’ page-editing tools proved inefficient and cumbersome.
Second, SIIA wanted to provide a better UX by integrating its website with Protech Associates’ MX Online eCommerce solution. Already using the membership database portion of Protech’s association management software (AMS), SIIA looked to introduce the eCommerce software to enhance user interactions, especially with event registrations. Previously, members signing up for an event were taken to a separate web page, where they went through a multi-step, time-consuming registration process. Because some members only interact with the website to register for events, SIIA knew improving this process was a priority.
Developing and Integrating SIIA’s New Site
SIIA brought in Engage, a full-service firm that designs and develops web and mobile solutions for enterprises. A Protech partner, Engage possessed the web development skills, knowledge of the association marketplace and familiarity with Protech’s solutions to help SIIA attain its goals. While SIIA designed its new site internally, Engage built it out on DNN’s Evoq Content CMS, which integrates seamlessly with Protech’s software. Engage employed various DNN modules to more dynamically present content (such as news items and upcoming events) and implemented a new search function. This allowed SIIA to extend the CMS capabilities easily without altering the core CMS. Also, Engage made SIIA’s site responsive to give members an optimal browsing experience no matter the device they are using—smartphone, tablet or desktop.
Next, Protech deployed MX Online to connect the association’s member database to its website. To seamlessly integrate MX online into SIIA’s website, Engage created customer-facing designs that coordinated with the association’s established brand and ensured that all systems—the website, MX online and the AMS—“talked” to one another.
Results: An Improved UX for Greater Member Satisfaction
Today, SIIA’s new website is providing an improved UX and streamlining content management efforts to help the association best-serve members, increase the likelihood of new member acquisition and further its mission to serve as a vital industry resource. In a year-over-year comparison using Google Analytics, SIIA reported that visitors’ average session duration increased by 11.5 percent, while pages per session increased by 9.2 percent. Notably, now that the website is responsive, mobile session duration has grown by 31.9 percent.
Internally, SIIA staff is using Evoq to more easily and efficiently update and curate content—with minimal HTML knowledge—for a more rapid time to market. In fact, with the new CMS, SIIA has cut its time to market new content in half. This frees up staff to focus on other tasks and makes certain that members are always accessing the latest, most relevant information.
In addition to easier content curation, SIIA is managing multiple sites within one instance of Evoq. So, there is no need to create and manage independent sites for events or different divisions, and all “microsites” are maintained under one roof by logging into one portal. This saves administrators time and resources while establishing brand control.
For members, SIIA’s site’s navigation and search functionality are helping them more quickly find the information they seek. The site’s seamless integration with Protech’s AMS, along with Engage’s aesthetic touches to MX Online’s customer-facing interface, ensure members have a better overall UX. Specifically, Engage’s designs helped create a smooth flow from SIIA’s event landing pages through the registration process. Not only are users experiencing a consistent, familiar look and feel, but are also enjoying a simplified process.
For large event registrations, SIIA has reduced the number of screens from eight to five, using MX Online. For smaller events, SIIA cut the number of screens to two, which means a quicker checkout and less chance of cart abandonment due to a long process. SIIA also reports fewer complaints and positive feedback from members that the registration flow is cleaner, simpler and faster.
“Engage’s experience working with the DNN CMS and technical expertise in AMS integration made them an excellent fit for bringing our new site to life,” said Benjamin Price, SIIA’s web project manager. “Now, members are more readily finding the information they are looking for, and at the same time, our staff is saving time and resources managing content. Also, the faster, simplified registration process has added to our member satisfaction.”
Kevin O’Brien is the co-founder and COO for Engage, a St. Louis-based, full-service web and mobile design and development firm servicing clients in a variety of markets, including associations and nonprofits.