“ 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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Eight Reasons You Need to Audit Your Web Content

When we redesign an existing website, the first step is a thorough content audit. The premise is, you have to know what content you have in order to make good decisions about what to do with it. Some content may be migrated to the new site as is. Some will need to be revised. Some can be eliminated. New content may need to be written to fill gaps.

Let’s be honest, though: Content audits are a pain. They are labor-intensive and can be time-consuming, especially for very large sites. (For ideas for auditing large sites without losing your mind or blowing your schedule, see this post from Brain Traffic’s blog: http://blog.braintraffic.com/2012/04/auditing-big-sites-doesn%E2%80%99t-have-to-be-taxing/.)

Staring down a content audit spreadsheet, clients sometimes ask, “Do we really have to do this?”

Dear clients, Yes. We really need to audit your content. To convince you, I’ve put together a list of reasons, collected from various projects over the years.

You need to audit your content because:

Not even you know what’s on your …

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