Bright Clients: Successful Membership Website Development

Intercultural Society Takes Bold Steps to Consolidated Membership Solution

Posted by Lamees Abourahma on Oct 17, 2016 8:44:09 AM

The Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research in the United States of America (SIETAR USA) is an educational membership organization for those professionals who are concerned with the challenges and rewards of intercultural relations. Frustrated with an outdated website design and outsourced conference services, SIETAR USA took bold steps to a consolidated solution that gave them a brilliant online image.

The Challenge

Even though the SIETAR USA Board had for years frequently discussed its outdated website, these discussions never materialized into an actionable solution. The structure of the site hadn’t been changed in years, and the website theme didn’t represent the best image of the organization. They needed a site that was modern, attractive and easy for members to use. 

In addition, the conference was hosted on an external website, and the third party who managed the conference site charged SIETAR USA thousands of dollars to rebuild the pages every year for each new conference. SIETAR USA also couldn’t make any changes to the conference site without going through the third party, which was frustrating. According to the treasurer, Amy Rasuch, “it’s going to be a lot nicer for us to have all this on our main site.”

The Solutions

Rausch took the reins of the project and decided to make something happen. She heard from another board member about the work Webbright had done for Families in Global Transition (FIGT), and checked out Webbright’s site and spoke with people from FIGT. She presented the idea of working with Webbright to the SIETAR USA board, but some board members wanted to investigate other options before deciding on a provider. Despite the delay, Rausch says, “eventually Webbright made the most sense because they [Webbright] specialize in the same platform that we were using for our membership (Wild Apricot), and did such a fantastic job for FIGT. You came so well recommended.” 

            “Webbright made the most sense because they were working on the same platform we were using…and you did such a fantastic job for [other clients]. You came so well recommended.”

Once SIETAR USA decided on Webbright to help with their website redesign, there was a very tight turnaround time. SIETAR USA had two months to devote to the project, and needed someone who was focused and responsive at all hours. According to Rob Pusch, Senior Communications Advisor at SIETAR USA, that was exactly was SIETAR got. Pusch says, “Webbright’s questions about the organization made us sit down and really think about the structure of the site.” He also notes that “if I had problems or questions, Webbright was great at getting back to me quickly. I was pretty much putting new content in on a very short timeline, and over a US holiday (Memorial Day). That didn’t matter. I still got quick responses to any questions.” 

Webbright walked the six-people team (three from Webbright and three from SIETAR USA) into a redesign process starting with deciding on a color palette, something SIETAR USA never had before, and working through a "creative brief" to communicate organization's preferences and expectations. The outcome included a new site structure (i.e., section title and pages were updated) and design mockup for key site pages (including home page and site conference pages). The team met on a weekly basis to review design mockups and revisions before the changes were finalized and moved into implementation. The approved design was first implemented on a development site to allow SIETAR USA to review live. Having finalized the design, site structure, and development plans, all changes were implemented on the live SIETAR USA site over Memorial Day weekend, presenting members coming back from the holiday with a new, vibrant, modern and fresh website.

Results

Overall, says Pusch, “I thought the process went really well. I found the templates easy to work with. Also, it helped that they added pages that I could just duplicate under each sections versus having to add new ones, so they were all set to have content added.” 

The response to the new website has been overwhelmingly positive, says Rausch. “We pushed hard and got it done, and with the conference coming up, people are going to the site and using it. We’ve heard wonderful things from members. The feedback’s been really good.”

“We pushed hard and got it done. The feedback’s been really good.”

Sietar_Design_Mockup.jpg

Topics: membership website case study