Testing User Experience (On Members - Not Staff!)

December, 01 2016
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You want to provide the best experience for your association's members. we get that. That's why you've invested in products, people, and services that will wow them. But often, association executives test out new ideas and software on themselves as target users. In reality, you need to test new products on your members.

One great example is your organization's website. A common issue is that members can't locate key information on the association's website. Why is this? Because the logic of the website was designed with association staff in mind, rather than your everyday members who will actually use it. Different departments fought over the breakdown of information, but they rarely really put themselves in their members' shoes. Which means they weren't thinking about what members wanted or needed.

To avoid the problem mentioned above, interview your members about what they're looking for in your association, in your website, or in specific products. Use this feedback to design content and features they will actually benefit from and enjoy.

For instance, the California Hotel & Lodging Association recently launched a software platform that allows hotel owners to compare different compensation and benefits packages across the country. Association members were having difficulty with employee attrition rates, but the data provided by this software allows them to stay competitive in the industry. This is a great example of how CHLA designed a platform to meet the diverse, unique needs of their members. Whatever industry your association operates in, talk to your members about what problems they need to solve, and figure out how you can help. A simple question to ask, "what keeps you up at night?"

Design is a huge part of our world, more than many people realize. Tech companies today test the user experience of everything they produce, and for good reason. If things aren't designed with the right users or demographic in mind, no one will use your product/service/item.

If you are creating an application for your members to use, ask them what problems they are currently experiencing. For example, maybe they want an easier way to pay member dues, find other association members in their area, or connect with colleagues at a conference. Figure out what their most presisng needs are, and develop a solution to fix those problems. Once you have your idea, test it on them.

If you include your members in the process the whole time, then you don't have to wait until a final product is produced to get negative feedback. If you wait to get input until your end result is finished, any changes you need to make will cost significantly more time and money than if you had addressed them in your product's earlier stages.

By talking to your members and testing your product on them, you can incorporate their input to better adapt to meet your members' needs. These are your target users, and you don't want to alienate them. Ultimately, if your association isn't providing value to them, your members won't join.

One way to make sure your members' digital experience is flawless is to leverage a design-first approach. Check out our eBook that outlines the benefit of this development methodology.



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