This blog comes with the Member-Centric User Experience Checklist & Worksheet to help you get started.
When it comes to membership websites, user experience and user interface are important concepts to become familiar with. They are the tools that connect your members to your content, member benefits and communications that your association is providing. User interface and user experience impact everything from design, tone, online forms, you name it. It speaks of the quality of the experience you want your members to have while they connect with you on your website.
Here are seven key pointers to follow to help improve the user experience on your association's website.
1. Keep it Simple
Your association's website and membership site are the storefronts that connect you to your members and prospective members. You want your website and membership site to be easy to use. When a website is clunky, confusing or overwhelming, we bounce right out of there. The user should not have to take pause to guess what is on screen. The information and visuals presented on your association's website must all be easy to understand, and their meaning clearly defined. The meaning of the words, icons, images and buttons should be intuitive to your users.
Any part of your site that is confusing is detracting from your credibility rather than adding value to your membership. A good rule of thumb to avoid confusion is to be consistent throughout your site. For example, buttons and links should look the same throughout, the register of the vocabulary should be uniform and easy to understand. Navigation should function logically with an obvious hierarchy of content.
2. Take Your User On a Journey
Your website and membership site users will be more relaxed and comfortable when our web design choices lead them where we want them to go. While some people are adventurous, most what a predictable, uneventful ride. The preferred action we want them to take (eg. book a meeting, register for an event, purchase a membership, volunteer, donate, etc.) should be obvious. The design and navigation should support your priorities. When your users report that they are confused about what to do next, this is your signal to revisit this part of their user journey to add clarity to the process.
3. Keep Users in the Loop
We are asking our website and membership site users to interact with us on our websites, and we have to meet them halfway. When a prospect or a member fills out a form, registers for an event, or buys a membership, we need to respond in kind (ideally) right away. Confirmation messages, feedback, and information about next steps and what to expect is part of both good customer care and building out an enable user journey for your users. When your prospects and members ask what will happen next, this is your cue to set up an automation to complete the feedback loop to send them confirmations and more information. Send confirmation or status information to the user immediately to avoid any guesswork and frustration that might come about due to a delay.
4. There is Comfort in the Familiar
Our eyes love to see familiar things. Familiarity is comforting and gives us confidence. When it comes to the design of your website and membership site, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. When you use common design, including graphics and the flow of content, the user will feel much more comfortable using your interface. The user will be pleased to see familiar elements and colour combinations in the still unknown world of your application.
5. No-Shame Mistakes
Users dislike the feeling that they have made a mistake. It is important to remove anything that is confusing to eliminate error-prone conditions. Offer instructions and help text on-demand on screen. The design of your site and membership site should prevent users from making serious errors.
As an example, let's pick filling out a form. The form should be seamless with easy and clear next steps. And if a user makes a mistake, he should be given the opportunity to solve the error in a quick and painless way.
6. Several Easy Steps is Better than One Complicated Task
Users are more likely to disengage from an involved process on your site. To get your prospects and members to engage on your site, we want to avoid a "big ask" and replace it with a series of "small asks." Users are more likely to accomplish a complex action when it is divided into several smaller steps. No one likes to fill in long, complex forms because they can appear as a boring time commitment requiring too much headspace. By dividing the form into several steps and showing a progress bar, the user will move along the process with less resistance. This is the law of simplification: people, are more likely to perform 10 small steps than one giant step.
Your member wants to be able to read the text on your website very clearly, otherwise, he is not going to do that. Good typography is more than just a pretty typeface it is the language of communication with the user. If your text is not highly readable – and scannable – it’s nearly impossible to provide a solid visual connection to the content. The most readable typefaces are scannable and don’t draw a lot of attention to themselves. These almost “invisible” typefaces are so readable that users won’t think about the lettering much at all … simply because it works.
These pointers are an investment in your member satisfaction. They are helpful to increase your member engagement, and in the long run, will also increase your member retention.
Ready to learn more about user experience?
Head over to our blog for UX vs UI: How to Build an Effective User Experience Strategy for Your Website.