Website design checklist to attract and engage association members

Your website reflects your organization. And, it’s your digital first impression. So, it’s important to view it as one of your greatest marketing assets.

Ninety-four percent of people cite web design as the reason they mistrusted or rejected a website. An outdated and poorly structured site can cause your prospects to leave it, even before you have a chance to show them the value of your organization.

Your organization’s website needs to be a vehicle to help you convert prospects into members and keep your existing members happy. We’ve got your checklist for a user-centric website. One to grab and keep your prospects’ and members’ attention.

Mobile responsiveness. All sites, today, should be mobile responsive. This seems obvious. But for many, it still needs to be noted. Just how important is mobile? Mobile devices are projected to reach 79 percent of global internet use by the end of 2018. How often are you surfing the web or interacting with an app on your mobile phone while sitting at your work computer? (It’s okay. So are your members.) Your website must provide the same experience regardless from what device it’s accessed.

Clear navigation. Navigation is a cornerstone of usability. Remember, it doesn’t matter how good your site is if visitors can’t find their way around it. That’s why navigation on your site should be these three things:

 Use the simplest possible structure.

  1. Use options that are self-evident to the visitor.
  2. Use the same names for things in multiple places. For example: A call to action and a menu item directing a visitor to the same place should be the same name.

Effective calls to action. Calls to action direct prospects and members to take your desired course of action. It informs their behavior while on your site. It ultimately helps them find what they are looking for. Effective calls to action draw people through your site to interact, or literally take an action, such as completing a membership application. When thinking about calls to action, keep these in mind: Who is your audience? What do they want and need? How do they want to engage with you?

Calls to action can be presented in different ways. Buttons, banners, boxes, icons, and so on. Your website should be built with a strategy around what your visitors need to do, creating the ideal experience for them.

Page scan or Z pattern. Making your site easy to scan will help prospects and members find what they are looking for or complete a task they came there to do, such as sign up for a membership. Visual hierarchy is how your site presents elements that will imply importance to your prospects and members. This Z pattern is where your eyes focus first, second, third, etc.

Typically, your organization’s logo on the left is the start of the z, moving your eyes to the right as you scan the menu. After that, your eyes go across the hero image/section at an angle to the second tier of the page, which follows the next horizontal line crossing over content to the right to end the Z at a call to action.

The visual triangle is another method designers will use to guide the user’s eyes downward on a page. They strategically align elements that create an invisible downward triangle. This causes the user to subconsciously follow where you want them to go.

Both the Z pattern and visual triangle are great ways to plan and position the top of your homepage.

 Hover states. Ensuring your site visitor understands what can be clicked or hovered on or interacted with on the site is paramount to how long and how engaged he or she will be with your site. Hover states are not just for regular hyperlinks. But, also for buttons, calls to action or any other visual that elicits a click or an action to take. These should be easy for a visitor to recognize and tell that it’s clickable.

Sometimes, designers can make something appear like a button, such as text, with a background color or border. This practice should be avoided. It creates confusion for the visitor. How the object looks tells the visitor how to interact with it. Understandably, most of us would think this was a button instead of a title.

White space. Why should you use white space in a design? The answer is simple. White space gives your design balance and enables the visitor to easily read without feeling overwhelmed. White space also doesn’t always mean the color white. It could include color and images. It’s the margin or padding around particular elements to create balance and legibility.

A few important points about white space. It:

  1. increases comprehension
  2. isolates and draws attention to important CTA elements
  3. creates a clean, balanced and user-friendly design

While these are a few vital things to keep in mind for your design, there are many other elements to consider when designing a website centered around your visitor.

These design tips, though, will get you started in the right direction. They will allow you to work best with your team as you determine the best user-centered design for your organization’s needs.

You can partner with the YourMembership design team today to implement these design tips and attract new members with a modern website.

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