Member communications and a vibrant community are vital for the ongoing success of The Association of Colleges, a not-for-profit membership organisation that represents more than 95% of further education colleges across the UK.
The Association plays an important role in influencing government on policies affecting colleges, students and staff, both nationally and regionally.
To help them recruit new members and retain their existing ones, the Association tasked Deeson with building its new website, which needed to integrate with complex membership management systems and provide an overall improvement of the user experience.
Engagement among The Association of Colleges' 20,000 users in its online members-only area had been tailing off on the old site. The new website needed to reverse the trend, giving users the best digital experience and kickstarting community interaction; making relevant content easy to discover was a priority.
Deeson worked closely with the client's project team to develop a Drupal website with new information architecture, user experience, front-end visuals and technical development.
A robust and effective content strategy was critical to achieving the delicate balance between subscription-only content, and the availability of enough 'free' content to encourage new member sign-ups.
The responsive build provides a great experience for mobile and tablet users. It also integrates with the client's existing Microsoft Dynamics customer relationship management (CRM) system, to support user accounts and personalised content.
The integration allows automatic updating of any content from Microsoft Dynamics CRM. For example, the member map shows colleges displayed as clustered pins with colour coding to show college type. When college information is changed in the CRM system, it automatically updates on the website.
Logged in users are shown a 'recommended for you' page, displaying personalised content according to their interests. To help users explore, the site also features a faceted search of content, publications and colleges.
The re-launched website has delivered to the brief and kickstarted a dynamic online community for The Association of Colleges.
Motivating students to be the very best they can be, so they can find satisfying careers, is one of the most challenging yet rewarding jobs you can do.