Time for Change
The NGAUS vision is to maintain the freedom and security of this nation by guaranteeing a strong national defense through the provision of a vital and dynamic National Guard as part of the Total Force. Therefore, the association strives to educate the public, Congress, the Department of Defense, the departments of the Army and Air Force, the National Guard Bureau, and other agencies.
The associations' website plays a critical role in facilitating efficient and effective communication with Congress and other stakeholders on behalf of more than 45,000 current and former National Guard officers. However, when Unleashed met NGAUS, their website had an outdated design, was cluttered, and very-text heavy. Historically, there had not been a defined web governance structure and there were designers or developers devoted to the website.
NGAUS knew they needed a new site that would better align with the goals of their organization, encourage people to write to Congress, and allows visitors to apply for or renew NGAUS membership, all while being interactive and easy to navigate.
Procuring the Right Technology
One the first things we did was complete a thorough Discovery to define metrics and goals, and to make a recommendation about which platform would be appropriate for this initiative. This process included stakeholder meeting to better understand how to bring success to the initiative, the creation of five user personas, and the development user journeys to better inform our decisions. Ultimately, we concluded that Drupal was the best fit for NGAUS and their goals.
Drupal was configured with supportive contributed modules that aided the remaining build process. Data structures like Drupal content types, taxonomy vocabularies, and other entities were created with appropriate fields, as dictated by the information architecture.
Key Performance Indicators
We also worked with NGAUS to establish the following Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to ensure the new website would align with the organizations' goals following launch:
Increase all CTA clicks
Improve conversion rate for renewals
Increase email subscriptions
Improve conversion rate for new membership applications
Increase pages per session
Ready for Anything
NGAUS unveiled their new site at the 140th General Conference & Exhibition in New Orleans and received tremendous feedback from members. The new NGAUS digital experience provided:
A clean, smart, responsive, accessible, and user-centered site design
Integration and a seamless user experience with the organizations back-end membership management software – netFORUM Enterprise.
The membership-only login area (SSO) fully integrates through netFORUM eWeb, allowing the NGAUS members to join, renew, set up installment payments, update their contact information, register for events, make donations, control subscription preferences and sign up for magazine subscriptions
The front-end integrates 3rd party systems (CQ, Real Magnet and PayPal) in order to maintain the same look and feel throughout the site.
Drupal Search API is utilized along with Apache Solr to index content not marked as “archived”. Applicable content fields are indexed with each page and given a priority in the search index that matches the helpfulness of a given field to the search results.
In addition to the increased features and functionality, NGAUS is in regular communication with Unleashed as both parties assess the website performance and determine how it is supporting the associations' goals.
Their lead designer was fantastic and clearly spelled out best practice. He gave us several resources to show what comparable websites were doing and why. The team understood how much the design could influence the UX. We had a great overall experience.
Director of Membership and Marketing
National Guard Association of the United States