When we talk to association we hear a familiar story and are asked similar questions.
Of course, along with the similar issues we see, every association has a couple of unique issues that take some time and thought to solve, but we usually come through.
Recently we've been dealing with making sites responsive (the art of setting up your site to be viewed on every device, phone, tablet, note, etc) - and even though the Smart phone has been around for 10 years, many are still not. Along with that we also help with the integration of their "database" (the AMS) - providing single sign-on (SSO) for members and a seamless user experience for event registration and subscriptions.
Take a minute and scroll though some of the Associations we've worked with and let us know how we can help your association.
The Association for Jewish Studies (AJS) was seeking a complete website redesign, including the selection and implementation of a new content management system (CMS). In particular, they required a CMS that could be easily updated by nontechnical staff, and one that would integrate well with netFORUM, their association management system. The existing website was text-heavy and light on graphics, hard to navigate, and not encouraging member / user interaction. They also wanted to maximize search engine optimization (SEO).
Hodgson applied our proven five-step process and developed a clear project plan for AJS. We met extensively with the Board and the staff, and listened to what they wanted in the redesigned website: how should it look? How should it function? What capabilities does the CMS need to offer? After carefully considering different CMS platforms, we recommended and implemented Sitefinity.
This is a CMS that could be easily maintained and edited by the AJS staff, and offered a lot of the required functionality out of the box—a news module with social media sharing, an easy way to showcase directories and other resources, an events widget with simple registration, a calendar, and minimal integration with netFORUM (reskinning) or, if they later chose, a complete integration. Our design team presented visually appealing, clean designs from which AJS selected the look they wanted. We created an organized way to present publications and research materials, making it easy for members and nonmembers to find the material they sought and, if appropriate, subscribe. We offered guidance as AJS developed content to render it search-engine friendly. The website launched in 2017 and is quickly becoming a sophisticated, information-packed resource on Jewish studies for members and the general public.
The Association for Jewish Studies is a learned society and professional organization whose mission is to advance research and teaching in Jewish Studies at colleges, universities, and other institutions of higher learning, and to foster greater understanding of Jewish Studies scholarship among the wider public.
The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) and The National Alliance for Radiation Readiness (NARR) sought a technology partner to develop a web-based clearinghouse for radiological preparedness tools and resources. The site needed to be able to house numerous varieties of resources, including these: response plans, documents describing best practices / lessons learned, talking points, toolkits, training modules, and other relevant forms and templates that may be of use to the public health and healthcare practice community. In addition, ASTHO needed a vendor to design a logo for NARR before designing and building the website itself. The entire project needed to be completed within a span of four months on a limited budget.
Hodgson began the project by meeting with ASTHO and NARR personnel and stakeholders to establish the specific design goals for the project. Hodgson’s creative team developed a logo for NARR and also established color palettes and style sheets for the new website. The designs for the logo and the web-based clearinghouse were refined based on an iterative process of presentations and revisions that included feedback from ASTHO and NARR stakeholders.
Hodgson recommended WordPress as the ideal CMS for the NARR clearinghouse because of its simple yet effective content management functionality. Hodgson designed and built a WordPress site that fulfills all of the following roles:
A searchable repository of online documents in multiple formats on which users can provide feedback
A portal for users to submit documents and for administrators to review and approve / reject submissions
A real-time emergency response resource that can be easily updated in times of crisis
The online home of NARR
The NARR website may be viewed at www.radiationready.org.
In 2015, Hodgson’s creative team and WordPress developers completed a design refresh of the NARR site to bring the site’s design and functionality in line with modern web standards, including responsive design.
The National Alliance for Radiation Readiness (NARR) is a coalition of public health and healthcare organizations dedicated to radiological preparedness. It is funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Environmental Health, and it is led by the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO). ASTHO is a nonprofit 501 (c)(3), the membership of which consists of the chief Health Officials representing the states and territories of the United States.
NARR's mission is to enhance radiological preparedness capability and capacity in public health and health care systems through a coalition of organizations committed to improving the nation’s ability to prepare, respond, and recover from radiological emergencies at the local, state, and national levels.
Goodwin House, Inc. was in need of an experienced web technology vendor to redesign their website (www.goodwinhouse.org) in order to make it a more effective vehicle for promotion of their wide array of offered services and the high quality, active lifestyle experience by their residents.
Goodwin House staff felt that their original website was not warm or inviting, featuring instead a text-heavy, outdated look and feel. The original site also had a difficult navigation structure and lacked accessibility features. In addition, it did not offer the online donation or contact form functionality that the staff needed.
In order to offer Goodwin House an online home that would serve the needs of staff and residents while promoting their services to prospective residents, Hodgson redesigned and rebuilt the website on the WordPress platform, thereby allowing Goodwin House staff a user friendly means of controlling content and serving key audiences. WordPress is particularly straightforward and intuitive as a content management system, and it was selected precisely because it would allow non-technical Goodwin House staff to edit content without difficulty.
Hodgson’s creative team designed the new site to reflect the established branding guidelines of the organization. The goal was to build a site that was vibrant, engaging, innovative, and warm. The site which resulted from this redesign process is easier for staff to maintain and update; it offers highly accessible information about the multiple Goodwin House locations and associated amenities; and it serves as an effective sales and marketing tool for attracting new residents.
Goodwin House’s new online home includes a number of desirable features aimed at making it an informative, user-friendly web destination: text resizing options for improved accessibility; secure online donations; an online events calendar; an online tool for calculating the value of living at Goodwin House; a virtual tour section for prospective residents; site search functionality; and different, community-oriented content for each of the Goodwin House locations and the Goodwin House Foundation.
Goodwin House Incorporated is a nonprofit, non-stock Virginia corporation organized in 1955 by resolution of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the Diocese of Virginia. The GHI family owns and operates two continuing care retirement communities—Goodwin House Alexandria and Goodwin House Bailey’s Crossroads, includes Goodwin House Foundation, and is management agent for The Lewinsville Retirement Residences, Inc.
The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrations (AAMVA) approached Hodgson with a clear focus: they wanted an experienced firm to take a comprehensive look at their corporate website and assess its strengths and weaknesses. After an analysis of the findings, they requested a report outlining the recommended actions for improvement. AAMVA required that the assessment specifically involve a review of the website and interviews with staff, members, and other website users, and that Hodgson offer recommendations for improvement in the content, navigation and functionality of the website.
Hodgson had the perfect solution to AAMVA’s scope of work: our Definitions phase. This research and discovery process took a close look at all aspects of AAMVA’s website. We conducted a web strategy meeting to analyze how users were interacting with the website and developed detailed functional requirements to outline the way the website needed to work. We looked closely at the audiences and developed a set of typical personas, to which we could tailor navigation and content. We took advantage of an annual conference to conduct focus groups with association members. This step proved critical, as we gained further insights and confirmed the findings of our web strategy workshop. We also developed a taxonomy to leverage the search functionality of the content management system and performed an in-depth content analysis to determine the most impactful and effective content. We created an intuitive information architecture to ensure smooth navigation with a minimum of clicks.
After completing these steps, we had a detailed understanding of the website and how the association’s members and other audiences wanted it to function. We documented all our findings and presented several supporting documents to AAMVA. AAMVA used our recommendations to plan the scope of work and create a budget for the next phase of their web redesign project.
The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) is a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization developing model programs in motor vehicle administration, law enforcement and highway safety. The association also serves as an information clearinghouse in these areas, and acts as the international spokesman for these interests.
Founded in 1933, AAMVA represents the state and provincial officials in the United States and Canada who administer and enforce motor vehicle laws. AAMVA’s programs encourage uniformity and reciprocity among the states and provinces. The association also serves as a liaison with other levels of government and the private sector. Its development and research activities provide guidelines for more effective public service. AAMVA’s membership includes associations, organizations and businesses that share an interest in the association’s goals.
CSA required a complete redesign of their website. The goals for the new website were to enhance the overall member experience and value proposition and provide leading-edge tools that would better serve the needs of the CSA leadership and members. Hodgson began the project by recommending a new content management system (CMS) to take advantage of improved technology capabilities. As the previous site had been built on a combination of Drupal and legacy PHP code, CSA wanted a CMS that offered a lot of functionality out of the box and could streamline all content. CSA also sought a vendor who could improve the design and navigation of the website, optimize search engine results, provide better search functionality, and enhance the member and constituent experience.
Hodgson began the project by conducting interviews with CSA stakeholders and evaluating content management systems that could, potentially, provide the functionality CSA required. We determined the functional requirements of the redesigned website and matched those requirements to Drupal, Ektron and Sitefinity in an effort to determine which CMS was the most suitable. Hodgson recommended Sitefinity, which offered a high degree of scalability. It is also built on the .NET platform, which was suitable to CSA’s intended integration with MemberSuite, the association management system. In addition, it was more cost-effective than other options; it included forum and e-commerce capabilities out of the box, and it offered a “Content Personalization” add-on that would meet many of CSA’s content targeting goals. This personalization, as well as streamlining the sign-up and renewal funnel and centralizing the member portal, were some of the tools we leveraged to better serve the needs of the association’s leadership and members.
The Definitions phase began with developing a taxonomy, which included tagging content to improve search speed and to identify related content items. We created an intuitive, logical information architecture to guide our design team. Hodgson developed wireframes and created several designs for CSA to review. Once a design was selected, we developed annotated wireframes to detail the functional requirements for each element on each template, and then created HTML files before developing Sitefinity templates and completing the implementation. Hodgson integrated with MemberSuite to provide single sign-on (SSO) functionality, allowing members to sign in and be authenticated to access not only member-based content, but individual member profile information. We ensured the website was responsive and tested it thoroughly before training CSA staff on Sitefinity and launching the site.
The California Society of Anesthesiologists (CSA) is comprised of nearly 4,000 anesthesiologists who practice in the state of California. CSA’s mission is to promote the highest standards for the anesthesiology profession, to foster excellence through continuing medical education, and to serve as an advocate for anesthesiologists and their patients.
The National Down Syndrome Socity (NDSS) needed a team of web development professionals to redesign their website and manage Episerver, their content management system. The client also had specific requirements to bring all of the site’s functionality, such as registration for the annual NDSS Buddy Walk, into Episerver. Finally, they sought a partner that could help them with ongoing tasks and website maintenance.
Hodgson assessed the NDSS website and decided that a Webmaster Services contract would be the most cost-effective option for the client. Under this contract, Hodgson was able to provide responsive designs, migrate the registration functionality to Episerver and add an image gallery to the website.
The National Down Syndrome Society is the leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome. NDSS is the national advocate for the value, acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome, and it offers support to people with Down syndrome and their family and friends, and seeks to educate the general public about Down syndrome.
In 2014, The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) initiated a multi-phase project to revitalize their entire web presence, which was built
on the Ektron platform. ASCE needed a website that would provide an optimal visitor experience; be flexible and extensible; be fully responsive to smartphones and tablets; and support the organization in achieving their important goals—technological advancement, lifelong learning, professional development, civil engineering leadership, and infrastructure and environmental stewardship.
After the design phase of their project had begun,
ASCE sought a web development partner with extensive Ektron experience and a track record of success in integrating content management systems with member database software (e.g., Personify, which is the system utilized by ASCE) to perform the technical heavy lifting in the project. At that point, ASCE had already been working with a design and strategy partner to conceive a new user interface, navigation, and content for all ASCE web properties.
ASCE selected Hodgson to build out their web properties in Ektron 9 and to integrate Ektron with all their third party systems. The project kicked off with a review of existing documentation and requirements created by ASCE’s design partner, including responsive HTML and CSS templates. Hodgson’s Ektron development team built out Ektron templates, including Smart Form and PageBuilder templates, and they set up taxonomies within Ektron to relate content within Ektron to a number of external databases. The project also included implementation of an advanced, faceted search using Ektron’s Solr-based search technology.
As is often the case in large, complex projects of this type, the functional requirements evolved even after development had already begun. Early in the project, Hodgson developers had the forethought to create an effective framework for serializing and deserializing smart form data, which allowed them to build all importing, sorting, and filtering of Personify and Ektron data well in advance. This effort proved invaluable late in the project, when requirements were finalized with the go-live date imminent.
Throughout the project, the Hodgson team worked with ASCE programmers to integrate Ektron templates with various existing technologies, including e-commerce applications, the Personify association management system, and other ASCE web properties. The result was a successful collaborative effort that produced a modern, user friendly website that leverages the power and flexibility of the Ektron platform.
The main ASCE website (www.asce.org), ASCE Foundation website (www.ascefoundation.org), and other sites are currently live. Hodgson’s Webmaster Services has been engaged to provide ongoing maintenance and support.
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) represents more than 145,000 members of the civil engineering profession in 174 countries. Founded in 1852, ASCE is the nation’s oldest engineering society. ASCE stands at the forefront of a profession that plans, designs, constructs, and operates society’s economic and social engine—the built environment—while protecting and restoring the natural environment.
It is important to note that the index NACUA wanted was not what the GSA would produce by default (i.e., just by pointing the GSA at the resources). We developed a custom feed for the GSA which provided all the metadata required to produce eight (8) individual indexes, which could be searched and displayed separately.
To accomplish the goals above, we wrote an application that crawled the document repository and built up a finely tuned sitemap.xml file. The sitemap used a configuration file so NACUA could easily specify the behavior for each index; for example, the configuration file would specify if sub-directories were to be included in the index and whether or not a file should be included based on its modification date.
We then wrote a .NET console application which would read in the sitemap.xml file before creating and sending the feed to the GSA. As part of the process, we had to programmatically open each file and extract specific information, such as “Author” and “Title.” This was accomplished for all types of MS Office documents as well as PDFs. These metadata were part of the feed and became part of the index.
In addition to the tasks above, we also created another index that searched the entire web, except for NACUA’s own site, for any given search term. We used Google’s Custom Search Engine (GSE) to accomplish this. For each search term, the query was sent to the GSE, but the results were normalized to match those coming from the GSA. All results were presented in an identical manner.
One of the most significant challenges inherent in this project was the fact that nacua.org is a Classic ASP site featuring authentication against the ClearVantage AMS from Euclid Technology, which is not a particularly well documented product. Given that the search site we developed was an ASP.NET website hosted on a Classic ASP site, we had to implement authentication for the search site separately—the credentials could not be shared across the Classic ASP–ASP.NET boundary.
While we were implementing the new search, Euclid upgraded NACUA to the latest version of their product; however, Euclid’s professional services group could not get the authentication working with the Classic ASP site and needed Hodgson to troubleshoot the issue. We re-implemented the authentication with the new product version, and ensured that the Classic ASP authentication was working as well.
The American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM) approached Hodgson in 2009 seeking a website redesign and WordPress implementation. The association had a list of functionality that was critical to the new website, including a searchable directory and results page, Google site search, ecommerce and a contact us form.
Hodgson took ABAM through the proven five-step web development process. The website was developed in WordPress, and Hodgson’s developers ensured the required functionality was part of the finished project.
As the website grew in size and complexity, ABAM found themselves requiring ongoing assistance. Through a long-term Webmaster Services contract, Hodgson has been able to provide a full team of web development specialists to ABAM. Tasks have included, among many others, WordPress upgrades, the development of microsites, and a domain name change that had to be incorporated throughout the front and back ends of the website.
Hodgson maintains the ABAM site under a Webmaster Services contract to this day.
ABAM is the nation’s first medical specialty board that certifies addiction medicine physicians across a range of medical specialties. The board sets standards for physician education, assesses physicians’ knowledge and requires and tracks life-long education. It is an independent specialty board established in 2007.
The National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO) contracted Hodgson to undertake a comprehensive update of their web presence, which included a complete visual and user experience redesign along with the implementation of a new Content Management System (CMS). In addition, NAPEO was looking to integrate their existing Association Management System (AMS), MemberSuite, for a more streamlined member experience. NAPEO also needed to develop a solution to manage both traditional and online publications for members and non-members alike.
With a large portion of the NAPEO user base utilizing a variety of devices to access the website tools and publications, NAPEO required a strategy to ensure all devices provided an outstanding user experience regardless of screen size. Finally, all of these goals needed to serve two separate and distinct audiences: the public and NAPEO members.
One of the first critical choices was selecting a CMS that would best fit NAPEO’s needs. After considering a number of potential options, Hodgson recommended, and implemented, Sitefinity. This CMS provided NAPEO with standardized page templates, robust site search, workflow, SEO tools and enhancements and the ability to integrate with the MemberSuite API.
Through significant discussion and research, Hodgson determined that by developing a custom publications module, NAPEO could manage all activities related to their publications through Sitefinity. This included allowing members additional access to archived publications and articles, based on membership levels, incorporating a federated search, and allowing NAPEO content provides an intuitive way to add and edit article and publication content.
Hodgson integrated with the AMS to provide single sign-on (SSO) functionality, allowing members to sign in and authenticated against MemberSuite to access not only member based content, but individual member profile information.
The National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO) is The Voice of the Professional Employer Organization (PEO) Industry™. A PEO provides comprehensive human resources (HR) solutions for small and mid-size businesses that include payroll, benefits, HR, tax administration, and regulatory compliance assistance.
BIO required a firm with extensive experience with the Ektron CMS to assist them with their existing Ektron implementation on many of their web properties. They also needed a vendor who was able to work with a wide range of third party applications that would need to be incorporated into the site.
Through Webmaster Services, Hodgson has managed and assisted with enhancements to all web properties for BIO, including convention sites for BIO India and BIO China. The organization purchased an enterprise level Ektron license and manages both public domain and internal operations websites through it. In addition to ongoing maintenance and support, Hodgson has built custom applications for BIO’s convention website (convention.bio.org), has redesigned the convention site, and has overseen all web-related activities for the convention itself. This includes incorporating feeds from social media outlets and other third party systems like Zerista, a convention-focused social application.
Hodgson has integrated session information, schedules, speaker information and personal bios from Zerista with the convention website. During the convention this year, Hodgson developed the homepage to be a large media outlet for all things social—YouTube videos, links to live coverage, multiple live blogs from attendees, Twitter feeds, a Flickr feed, and the official convention blog. Hodgson has also integrated the site with OpenX to allow for the display of ads with a wide range of sponsors and sponsor levels.
One of the most important tools Hodgson has built for BIO is a microsite creation wizard, which allows CMS users to create independent convention sites from the Ektron Workarea. To use the wizard, site administrators need only fill in a few forms and press the “submit” button; Ektron then generates a microsite automatically. This seamless process has allowed BIO to create numerous microsites with ease.
BIO is the world's largest biotechnology organization, providing advocacy, business development and communications services for more than 1,100 members worldwide. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. Corporate members range from entrepreneurial companies developing a first product to Fortune 500 multinationals. BIO also represents state and regional biotech associations, service providers to the industry and academic centers. The mission of BIO is to be the champion of biotechnology and the advocate for its member organizations—both large and small.
Because the Association for the Accreditation of human Research Protection Programs (AAHRPP) website (www.aahrpp.org) has long been a critical component in communicating information to their clients, AAHRPP decided that it
was important for them to enhance the site’s appeal, user-friendliness, and product merchandising in order to increase overall applications and brand awareness. For this reason, they undertook a redesign project aimed at producing a simplified layout and enhanced navigation of the site for both the public and AAHRPP clients. Likewise, the redesign was needed to provide easy access to AAHRPP application materials, learning experiences, networking opportunities, and industry information.
An important component of the project was a design refresh that would establish a more clearly defined visual identity reflecting their organization and research community. A successful project would require that the look and feel of the site be updated and that navigation and information architecture be improved to enhance user experience. Finally, AAHRPP needed a content management system to provide functionality like advanced search, polling, custom form building, and integration with Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
AAHRPP contracted Hodgson to redesign their website and implement the Sitefinity CMS, which would provide them with the content management functionality and third party system integrations they required. Hodgson was selected for this project because of our significant experience in working with systems like Sitefinity and because, in addition to development, we are able to provide usability, content structure, information architecture, and design services.
We recommended Sitefinity not only because of its affordability and powerful .NET platform, but also because it offered important features that AAHRPP needed, including an integrated e-commerce module and email marketing capabilities.
The Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs, Inc. (AAHRPP) promotes high-quality research through an accreditation process that helps organizations worldwide strengthen their human research protection programs (HRPPs).
An independent, nonprofit accrediting body, AAHRPP uses a voluntary, peer-driven, educational model to ensure that HRPPs meet rigorous standards for quality and protection. To earn accreditation, organizations must provide tangible evidence—through policies, procedures, and practices—of their commitment to scientifically and ethically sound research and to continuous improvement.
As the "gold seal," AAHRPP accreditation offers assurances—to research participants, researchers, sponsors, government regulators, and the general public—that an HRPP is focused first and foremost on excellence.
The Government Employee Benefits Association (GEBA) sought a web design firm to design and develop a new website that would accomplish the following goals: promote their brand; showcase their products and services; provide secure online applications and member services; and serve as a source of information and tools for current and prospective members.
The original GEBA site was using the outdated DotNetNuke (DNN) content management system (CMS), and it was characterized by an outdated design and lack of interactive online functionality. All insurance applications on the original site were handled via static PDFs that customers needed to fill out and mail or deliver in person.
Hodgson proposed a full redesign of the GEBA website (www.geba.com), including an overhaul of the dated look and feel of their site and implementation of a modern system that would replace DotNetNuke. We recommended Sitefinity, because it is affordable and because it includes the security features and extensibility of the Microsoft .NET platform.
After we worked through the strategy phase of the project with GEBA staff, our creative team mocked up several design options that were refined into a final, approved version. Our front end developers and Sitefinity developers worked together to build a working website that could be launched in time for GEBA’s midyear open enrollment period.
An important component of the project was the creation of new online applications, which were custom developed by Hodgson to ensure secure transmission of sensitive customer information over the internet. Hodgson continues to maintain and enhance the GEBA website in the context of a Webmaster Services contract, and our development team is currently building additional online applications to help GEBA better serve their members.
GEBA is a nonprofit member-owned employee benefit association dedicated to serving the federal employees of the U.S. Intelligence Community, Department of Defense, Department of State, FBI, and military and contractors assigned to NSA-W.
GEBA offers outstanding insurance and investment products from financially strong and highly reputable companies. Their licensed consultants integrate their expertise in insurance and investment products with their knowledge of federal benefit programs to provide personalized recommendations for GEBA customers and their families.