Achieving a Shareable Information Ecosystem for Your Association

By Jacqui Olkin and Duane Degler

Today’s association may be a producer of information, a curator of information, and an authority on subjects within its profession. It may be a publisher, education provider, event sponsor, public advocate, and think tank, and it may own different technical platforms to house the information associated with each of these roles: a website, journal site, magazine site, chapter sites, learning management system, and so on.

No wonder this information, in all these different systems, is increasingly difficult to keep up-to-date, maintain without redundancies, and present in an easily discoverable, unified way within the association’s information ecosystem.

Meanwhile, the association’s information exists in a larger context: Its profession’s information space. To contribute content and other information to allied organizations and others with an interest in the profession, the association must concern itself with existing industry data standards and nomenclature. Standardizing information makes it more easily understood in context, retrievable and shareable across systems, and maintainable without duplication.

Where to Start?

How can your association provide information that is easily discovered by members and other customers, …

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“ Silos are the enemies of associations and the people who use their websites . . . There should be a clear, simple way to see everything your organization offers on a particular search term.”

8 Tips For Achieving User-Friendly Search

By Duane Degler and Jacqui Olkin

Search is an increasingly important component in desktop and mobile online experiences, yet too often search is not designed to meet the needs of users.

Associations have unique challenges that come with serving multiple audiences and delivering a variety of information types through search—for example, balancing the relevance of publications, issue summaries, research papers, membership information, and event information. They must design their search experiences thoughtfully to meet both the needs of users and the aim of the association.

Here, we offer a practical to-do list to achieve user-friendly search for your association’s websites and apps.

Get to Know Your Users as Searchers

To create user-friendly search, it’s not enough to understand users in a general sense. You must also understand why they search, what they search for, and how they think about searching for different types of information.

Search analytics, surveys, and moderated usability sessions involving open-ended tasks and real data help develop an understanding of users as searchers and the various usage scenarios for your particular search environment. When getting …

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